Mudheads WNR 2008

Last Wednesday Night of the Year

Crew : Brian, Bob, Seth & RW
Winds: SW (250) at 3 to 6 kts
Current: flood - North Hill 1459
Start time: 1800 near max flood
Start/Finish: between GLP & Horseshoe
Course: s/f- DM (250) -s/f, *1.5, Distance: 2.3 nm
Shrouds: @ base

Arriving to the starting area with just enough time to stow the outboard & check the course prior to the five minute warning, we set up for a starboard at the pin. At two minutes to go, we led the fleet down the line from the RC. About two-thirds to the pin, Brian eased the genoa just a bit as I did the main, then accelerated with ten seconds to go for very good start in a 4 to 5 kt breeze.  At the time we tacked abeam the windward mark, we were the farthest offshore as most the fleet were working they way off.

Crew: Brian, Bob & RW
Current: ebb - North Hill 1330
Winds: SW 6 to 12 kts, backing SSW
Start/Finish: between GLP & Horseshoe
Course: s/f- V -s/f, *2, Distance: 6.15 nm
Shrouds: @ base 

Arriving at the starting area somewhat behind the 8-ball (as it was 1735 when we left the dock) we noticed a longer than usual line. Approaching the pin, we began to stow the outboard at the 5-minute gun, sailed down past the RC.  Tacking back for the start, Brian noticed the port genoa sheet was not reeved through the car, so we took another hitch out while it was corrected.   We would have had a much better start, had I continued as Bob held the sail while Brian fixed the sheet.  Crossing at the committee boat about fifteen seconds late, MiniMaxi, then Watercolors tacked to port.  We pinched up forced Sans Souci to tack, then followed suit well above their quarter.  

Crew: (Patrick), Bob & RW
Current: flood - 1540 North Hill
Wind: SW (204 avg) 6 – 13, avg 9 kts
Start/Finish: between GLP & Horseshoe
Course: s/f-North Hill-s/f
Distance: 3.4 nm
Shrouds: @base

It was just Bob & I leaving the dock Wednesday evening as Brian was on the west coast again on business and Seth & Megan were on the Jersey shore. During the pre-start, there were a number of remarks about our being short handed.  Bill Litke (Tumult) offered to help and we pulled alongside for Patrick to jump aboard.

We had a reasonably good start and went left for the current shot through the Dumplings. Shortly after the start still on starboard we noticed Watercolors had (Bill) someone on the swim ladder briefly clearing the rudder.  Approaching the Dumplings the wind picked up 10 to 12 and we were glad to have Patrick aboard.  Though on the tack for the long port through the channel we almost lost him off the leeside under the genoa; he quickly recovered though and hopped up to the windward rail.

Crew: Brian, Seth, Bob & RW
Current: ebb – 1458 North Hill
Wind: east at 8 kts (4 to 13)
Start/Finish: between GLP & Horseshoe
Course: s/f-M-V-s/f ; Distance: 5.3 nm
Shrouds: @base

The day was a dreary one, raining till mid-afternoon when I drove down to the boat to accomplish some minor maintenance prior to the race & deciding not to scrub the bottom as I had done so twice last week (Wed & Fri).  The RC set a nice course from offshore of the “X” starting area to the Mystic River C1, downwind to Vixen with windward return to the s/f.

I screwed the start!  In the pre-start, we had run the line & established a good range beyond the pin ashore.  Yet with the strong ebb, over concerned about getting to the line too early, I began our dash to the committee boat too late, got squeezed out by Watercolors and forced into a 360 and crossed nearly a minute late.

Upon clearing the line, we tacked to port and offshore for the current to push towards the Mystic River where our windward mark lay.  Though this was a good move, I underestimated the current and well overstood the mark for our second major mistake. Following our tack to starboard, we continued to bear off to a reach by the time we arrived “M”.  We had a good set, though last in class rounding the mark.

We favored the shore for current reduction and gained some; especially on San Souci and Tumult.  Watercolors took a more direct shot to GPL 22 which seemed to work well for them.  So maybe “M” (C1) is far enough ashore, especially compared to “R” (R20), that one needs not veer shoreward as much?  Jibing around GPL 22, put us on San Souci’s butt as we began the duck-in between the Groton Long Point Nuns. Hercules came up from behind freshened up and passed both of us easily to windward, then jibed back out to clear GPL 24. I tried the same but SS countered each move with feint of taking us all the way to beach, so I backed off; settling for a 1.7 mile run in his lee, past GPL 24, HR 26 (in 4 To 6 kts air), to finally creep past short of Vixen.  

A good douse and tight rounding got us to windward of SS.  Subsequently, three well executed tacks on headers took us across the line 46 seconds ahead of SS and 44 seconds behind Tumult for a 5th place. 

Link to chart

Crew: Brian, Bob & RW
Current: ebb - North Hill 1443
Winds: NNE 5 to 10 kts clocking E to SE
Start/Finish: between GLP & Horseshoe
Course: s/f- D/M -s/f, Distance: 3.0 nm
Shrouds: @ base 

The day dawned cloudy and rainy with a threat of thunderstorms. At 1430 a significant storm passed through, lasting for nearly an hour. Then another shower came through between 1630 and 1715 while  I monitored a few inquires over channel 68 on whether we would race or not The fleet turnout was certainly small due to the weather. 

Contending with a late departure compounded by a strong ebb, we arrived at the starting area in nick of time at the five minute gun with not a moment to spare to remove & stow the outboard, access course and set up for our first downwind start in the two years.  Our strategy, with a NNE wind was to start on the starboard jibe and favor the shoreline westward for current relief. 

At a minute to go, we were pinned by Dragon-Z-Balls (not yet racing) to our inside, delaying our jibe back towards the line. Finally clear of DZB, we jibed to starboard along the line and hoisted the chute just prior to the gun though not nearly as far west down the line as I had planned. Cosmic started the farthest down the line, MiniMaxi just in front of us and Watercolors to our rear.   

Watercolors overtook us halfway to Horseshoe, as we favored closer to shore and slowly gained on Cosmic directly ahead and MiniMaxi farther offshore (in more current but with less wind). A bit past Horseshoe, Brian noted that the J22/J24 class starting five minutes later were a port jibe nearly direct to the mark (meaning a clock to the east or southeast,  somewhat reminiscent of two weeks ago, Link.. )   We rode our private little wind band to its end off the airport, and were the last to jibe for offshore. First to go was MiniMaxi, followed by Watercolors and Cosmic. The wind had clocked too far forward for the chutes. Had we jibed sooner, we might have been able to carry the spinnaker, though I was worried about being swept by the current in the light air, prior to the new wind reaching us. As it was our point of sail (a beam reach) was max aft for the genoa; any father aft would have required the spinnaker.  

We hardened up around the windward mark and after a couple of minutes not comfortable splitting from the fleet, tacked to starboard. A bit past Seaflower, we tacked back to port towards a fresh band of wind to ride in to the finish on starboard. The RC shortened to one-lap due to a dying wind and building fog.  Our second 1st place of the season.

Link to chart

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