Good morning Frostbiters!
Saturday, December 8 marked Day 4 of the 2012-2013 Frostbite Series. The rain and fog let up just before noon, and the breeze held up just long enough for us to get in five races. We had nearly the same course as last Saturday, with the line near the ICA and the windward between Boston Sailing Center/East Boston Pier 1. 5-8 knots steadily declined until our last race turned into a battle against the outbound current. This brought up some interesting points around finishing, drifting, fouling, etc. A sailboat has finished once any part of the boat has crossed the line... however, a sailboat is still racing until they have cleared the line. If a finishing boat hits the mark or fouls other racing boats, then said boat must exonerate themselves with the appropriate spins and then re-finish. The score of this boat will be in the place finished after exoneration is complete.
The novelty of an upwind finish was appreciated by both RC and the fleet, but I do feel that the downwind finish requires a lot of strategy. From the committee boat, we have gotten pretty good at figuring out who is going to get to the line first when there's a clump of boats coming down. The decision between pointing your boat directly at the line to sail the shortest distance verses sailing high for speed is what it often comes down to, and those who manage when to switch from one mode to another strategically are the boats that get the 5'th place instead of the 9'th out of a close finish. Especially for those new to the fleet, sometimes it can be good to stop comparing your speed to others when coming down on the line, and instead think about your position vs. other boats position with relation to the line. Are you making a perpendicular to the line while that other boat is pointed towards the pin end? Are they chasing a small puff, or are they even paying attention to their angle? Can you maintain your velocity, and will the shorter distance pay out over the other boats slightly greater velocity?
I can't tell you that the answer will always be yes, because it won't, but it is important to build up a set of simple questions that cycle through your head for certain parts of the race, questions that bring you from inside your boat out to the bigger picture - the fleet, the wind, the course, the current - and then back into your sail trim, your boat-handling, your seated position, etc. I have a set of these mental flashcards that are particular to each part of the race - the thirty seconds after the start, the beat, the 30 seconds immediately after a windward mark rounding, the slog downwind on a light air day. When I feel slow, totally uncreative, or just completely out of sync with the race, running through these preset questions bring me back into it mentally.
Chris Palmieri and Gretchen Curtis took the day with palindromic placing - 1, 4, 2, 4, 1.. followed by Mark Lindsey/George Persiantsev with 16 points, Gordy Baird/Ed Mayo with 22 points and Stan Kostka/Steve Dutcher close behind with 23 points. Complete Scores can be found here.
The general consensus seems to be that chili in the boathouse after racing worked out well, so lets continue with it! We were happy to kick things off with supplies(chili, cheese, chips, bowls, spoons, etc.), and thanks to everyone who chipped in - we made back nearly half of what we spent (we got more chili than needed..). Mark Deshong brought a boatload of delicious rolls from the North End as well! Now that we have a better idea of amounts needed, it seems that about 40 rolls and 4 gallons of chili might be the right amount, but the two bags of grated cheese were not enough. It seems that quite a few racers are interested in making chili and bringing it in.. which would be awesome. If anybody wants to follow through on making a vat of chili, please let me know and I'll start a signup list!
This weekend will be our combined Holiday Party/Fall Series Awards, so please stick around after racing - it will be the last time we see you all until 2013!