It was a beautiful day to open the season! After a random drawing to decide the boat assignments this week, we will be moving to a standard rotation for the rest of the season. All 24 Rhodes 19s got out on the line, and after a slightly delayed start, 6 races were completed for the day. With the exception of the final race, our courses were “Course 4” meaning that there was a windward mark, offset, and a leeward gate, with the start and finish being the same line. In Race 6, we ran a “Course 5” which is a Course 4 with an added windward leg to the finish. The Race Committee would like to apologize for any confusion from the verbal notice of a “W5” before the start of the last race. This is exactly the same as a “Course 5” - I am a college coach and some habits are hard to break, so please bear with me as I commit the Courageous SI’s to working memory.
The forecast was spot on, with 10-14 knots of wind from the NNW becoming 10-12 knots from the WNW. The sun brought relatively enjoyable temperatures in the mid-forties. After setting the course shortly before racing began, the wind never deviated from a median heading of 320-330 degrees for more than one or two minutes before coming back to nominal.
Early in the day, the fair current contributed to a General Recall. After bringing the pin up, we were able to get races off, although this made it difficult to start for competitors who set up low on the line on starboard tack. The pin was pulled out and down throughout the day to account for the current which was running out by the afternoon.
In the 5th race, a very strong lefty shift lasted from about 1 min before the start until most competitors were largely up the beat. In this condition, the boats that managed to get off the line clean and quickly tack to port did well, holding out for the wind to oscillate back before tacking to starboard again.
The one major bit of commercial traffic we saw during racing was a barge heading out of the harbor. The tug’s pilot was helpful and generous, offering to keep to one side as to not disturb our racing. Those on course right saw our safety boats form something of a boundary between the path of the barge and the fleet. Whenever possible, this will be the procedure in order to continue racing. Unless a safety or race committee boat communicates otherwise, competitors should assume that the race is continuing. We thank all competitors for using their good judgement and keeping well out of the path of these large commercial ships.
Congratulations to Bryan Lee and Anne Marije Veenland, who proved that boat 22 can be fast! They narrowly won the day, beating the team of Ryan White and Pam Troyer (representing Steve and Pat Clancy) by just three points, followed by Mark Lindsay and Jim Watson, just one more point behind.
From the race committee’s point of view, good starts could be consistently had at the boat end of the line, since there was generally a cluster at the pin. The left shifts were stronger than the right shifts, although neither would last for more than a few minutes at the most. At times, you could see boats on opposite tacks at very similar angles thanks to different winds on different sides of the course. The left side generally produced a stronger left shift, but gains could be made in the righty that occasionally hit the right side of the course. Finishes saw clusters of boats with just inches between them. All in all, a great day of racing with lots of exciting promise for the season to come!
Many thanks go out to our volunteer judges; only one protest was heard for the day.