Thursday, May 10, 2012

2012 WNR Series 1 Race 3 [LinGin]

It was grey, high chance of rain, with likely thunderstorms. Light winds were promised for the evening, except "wind and waves higher in thunderstorms".
With Tim on work travel, crew was TimP, Garrett, and Brian. We made it to the start with enough time but not a lot of time. (We don't know how to act when we have a lot of time.) We got the new D1 course with four other Albergs: Argo, Asylum, Second-to-Nun, and Skybird.
We started comfortably on starboard at the boat end, which I fervently hoped was favored, with Asylum to leeward. Skybird got a good start, closer to the line, on port but tacked over close in front of us just after the gun. I think Argo started toward the pin. Winds were South at about 5kts.
The wind was light but steady for the beat to drop mark A. We got lifted slightly nearing the mark and did well on the fleet, including a close pass with Argo on port which forced them to duck right at the mark. I think they might have crossed cleanly but with light wind and short crew, TC opted for the safe option. We rounded in first and rolled into a bearaway set followed by a quick gybe. On the rhumbline to G5 we had clear air with Argo setting up shop slightly higher and 6-8 lengths back. After rounding G5 we found a boat slower than the Albergs. Unfortunately they were too far away, and the leg too short, to get above them but close enough to spoil our air and hold us back. Argo closed the gap a bit.
Rounding the red nun and dousing the spinnaker I did a poor job getting on course and we were slow. Argo rounded cleanly with good momentum and rolled over us while we trundled back up to speed. By this time the breeze had gone all shifty and I played catch-up trying to find a groove. Argo moved into a 3-4 length lead on our tack while Skybird split with us after rounding the nun. The breeze got shiftier and puffier and we gained some on Argo's double-handed crew. Halfway to the Academy seawall Argo tacked and we ducked them to continue on port. Further out Skybird was looking good, having crossed Argo and I think leading the race at that point. Getting closer to the wall we started to see big puffs swirling around, mostly coming out of the harbor, and generally increasing breeze. (This worked in our favor. Though we didn't know it then, the wind was busily changing its colors from S at 5kts to NW at 18kts.)
We tacked to starboard at the wall and soon converged with Skybird on port. They were slightly ahead before tacking back to starboard a length below us. We had just gotten back up to speed when the really big gusts came with gusto and the right shift showed itself in earnest. Within sixty seconds it shifted so far right that we were now reaching straight at the finish. With Garrett on the main and Brian, who happened to be on the jib at the moment, working hard to follow the 30 degree shifts and 15kt gusts we blasted through the harbor dodging a bit of moored traffic with Skybird close astern and Argo close to them.
We took the gun nine seconds ahead of Skybird, after only 50 minutes racing!
That's the quickest WNR I can remember. And we all finished within minutes of each other; thirty seconds separated 1st and 3rd.
Full results here.
We quickly dropped the jib and motored out of the fray. A few minutes later we also dropped the main and motored home in light rain, increasing wind and 23kt gusts.
Fun times!