It went by quickly, but we are done with the Fall Series! Five weeks went by in no time! Thanks to everyone for coming out and participating, and it was good to see the turnout at Pier 6 for our awards. Thanks so much to Pier 6 for hosting us and continuing to provide a wonderful (and warm) place for us to gather after sailing! We owe them for those wonderful appetizers this past week. Congratulations to our series winners! In 1st place is Mark Lindsay and Jim Watson with a guest appearance this week by Alexander Watson. In 2nd place is Chris Palmieri, Gretchen Curtis, and Amy Fater. And taking 3rd place is Matt Marston, Cheney Brand, and Dan Sexton. A link to the series’ results, as well as the day’s results, can be found below. For those who didn’t make it to Pier 6 after racing, I want to recount a special award that was added to the series.
Last year the fleet has had a single sportsmanship award, voted on by the fleet, for all three series. After discussion between the fleet captains and Courageous staff, it was decided that a sportsmanship award would be added for each series, and presented with the normal series awards. The winners of the Fall Series Sportsmanship Award are Gabrielle Boeri-Charles and Eleni Asimacopoulos. After colliding with John Minkle’s boat during racing, and feeling themselves responsible, they offered their own boat so that the other team could continue sailing. While we don’t want to encourage collisions (obviously), this type of action is to be commended.
This week was certainly our coldest, but I think the ridiculousness of the winter storm added some much needed lightness and laughter to the day. Personally, I cracked up a few times, especially near the end with the heavy snow starting to come in! I want to thank everyone for their patience in starting racing. When we got out to the course, the wind was oscillating between 0 degrees and 50 degrees, both at 9-13 knots. The oscillations were happening every 5-15 minutes; a big range and long enough to mean that the course could be a reach for most of the race if the wind shifted just after the start. We did are best to wait for the wind to settle in - the forecast was for North becoming East, so we set to the eastern range of shifts, presuming this would be the side that filled during the day. As racing went on, the wind settled a little north of east, and we chased it by adjusting the windward mark after each race. As a result, the course got better throughout the day.
On to the races! No abandonments meant a solid day of racing, with the Bochem Oslo coming through the channel at 12:50, just after finishing a Course 2. It seemed from the RC boat that big gains and losses were made by staying in phase. For those that did not sail at a “Mystical” college venue, staying in phase means staying on the lifted tack in oscillating winds. For example, if the wind is at 10 degrees and the median direction is 35 degrees, you would want to be on port tack, headed to the right side of the course. As soon as the wind shifts right again, you simply head up as you feel the header on the jib, and roll into a tack. Doing this as the new breeze comes over your sails (that moment you first feel the header) means that you have to turn the boat much less through the tack than if you were to tack after the header had filled in as the new direction. Because you were “in phase” and headed to the right side of the course in the lefty phase, now you are on the inside of the new righty phase, so heading back towards the middle of the course on starboard tack will set you up to be on the inside for the next big oscillation. This is very hard to do as you have to manage your place on the course, deal with boat traffic, and figure out what the fickle wind is actually doing.
At starts on Saturday, it was unfortunate that we often had one side of the oscillation in our pre-start, and another at “Go”. The boats that stayed clear of the crowds and got off cleanly (even a little late) had the best races, because they got off the line with speed and were able to quickly get onto the lifted tack. The current certainly didn’t help boats have easy starts.
Just a reminder- the next race day is January 4, the first day of our Winter Series! Your fleet captains, Bryan Lee and Dylan Callahan, are here to hear any concerns or questions you have, and will be hosting alternating rules talks and informal discussions before racing on Saturday mornings over the rest of the season. More on that to come!
Links to the full results are here:
Pier 4, Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, MA 02129