There was a brisk but moderating east-northeasterly breeze for the start of WNR on 4/29. Initial forecasts were for about 10-15 knots but at start time we were clocking numbers around 10 and high single digits. During our initial pre-start analysis, the consensus seemed to be that starting on port at the pin was going to be the way to go. In fact, it appeared that it would be difficult to even lay the line on starboard because the breeze was so far left. However, due to tactical considerations (we did not want to be forced to tack by starboard tackers coming across the line after the start...) and because of a significant right shift that rolled through during the start sequence, we decided to start at the boat and see how that worked. TC started with us over there and just before the start another big lefty rolled through which forced us all to tack, and found us on the unfavored end of the line. Coming out of the harbor, we were looking for the strong righty as we wound up over by Bembe beach way out in the right corner. The big righty never came, but eventually we got about 10 degrees which was enough to convince us that we should bail out and head back left. Coming back out of the right corner we were actually looking pretty good relative to Tim and Harry who were on the far left, and Brian who was in the center-left. Unfortunately for us, though, as we came out of the right, we got a progressive left shift, which drove us down below the layline. Complicating matters was the fact that the other fleets were starting to return from their mark and inevitably they were passing us close to windward, giving us a big wind shadow with each passing boat. In hindsight, we probably should have taken a higher lane back out of the right corner, but that is why it is called hindsight, I guess.
At any rate, we decided to take a hitch back to the right and got forced back over by a catalina 27 that we couldn't quite cross. 2 bad tacks later and we were well deep behind everybody else. By the time we got back to starboard, we were just on the layline, but those boats coming downwind just couldn't resist the temptation to continue passing us close to windward and with each wind shadow the layline got closer and closer. We did eventually make it and very nearly managed to pass the mark without hitting it. However, it was not to be and as we went by we just kissed the mark. After completing the rounding, we did our full 360 degree penalty, including a gybe and a tack, even though we were deep in last place. From then on, our race was not very interesting as we had to complete it by looking at everybody else's transom. Tim won the race, followed by Brian Palmer, TC, Harry, and finally us. Series results are available at:
On the positive side, it was a nice evening on the water, the forecast rain did not materialize, and we all had an enjoyable time. This week is a bye because of the J24 worlds. Next week we will be back at it. Look forward to seeing you then!
Coming around from Whitehall each week, we get a preview of the conditions and depending on how late we're running, we get to see the first class or two (or three...) coming up the windward leg. We liked what we saw on the boats that went left and decided to head that way ourselves at the start. There were a couple of moments when we saw some shifts right that made us nervous, but the pressure around Greenbury created a left shift, I think, and overall it worked out.
Once around the windward mark, we were keeping a close eye on big boats coming back and potentially covering us. The trip back in always becomes more of a nail-biter, since the wind decreases the further you get into the harbor. We rounded the red nun and kept quite high to (hopefully) ensure clear air into the creek.
In the WNR, it's never over until you cross the finish line. We saw a couple of boats (in other classes) get their wind sucked away by the Chart House "wind tractor beam" and worried it could happen to us. Argo and L'Esprit were getting closer...
In the end we maintained our lead and took the gun.
We enjoyed seeing Brian and the crew of L'Esprit sneak over T.C. and Argo right at the line. (Brian is former LinGin crew so we're alway proud when he's successful--just not too successful!)
Great fun. We're bummed about having a week off. Let's see everyone that's registered out there on the line next race!