Hello Frost-biters,

We had wonderful temperatures this past week, and managed to get three races off in spite of difficult current and a light and shifting breeze. Thanks to everyone for your patience, as we had to contend not only with the weather but also large commercial vessels. Course 4 was sailed in all races.

Our first race got off at 12:45, after a delay due to an unsettled breeze. When racing got underway in an east breeze of 5 knots, there was close racing throughout the fleet. Of note, Boat 13 skippered by Alex Wisch and crewed by Amanda Farnham, took the inside from boat 19 (Team Marty Gallagher) coming into the leeward gate. Both boats went to course right, extending their lead over the fleet as the wind continued to shift to the southeast.

After delaying for a large barge, race 2 got off at 1:45 following a general recall. The fair current combined with the light breeze made it difficult for boats to keep below the line. Although the course had been shorted by about 1/3 and adjusted to the new sea breeze, the strong current and faltering winds made the down winds very long indeed. It was clear that leeward mark rounds were also giving some competitors trouble, as the current pushed boats upwind into the marks and a large cluster formed on the course left gate mark. Light winds have a tendency of compressing fleets, and race 2 was no exception. The winning team of John Pratt and Bob Coyle in boat 12 was in fourth or fifth coming down to the finish, but a magic spell or a personal puff gave them the edge they needed. Riding in from the outside, boat 12 came through just before the finish, rolling the team of Bryan Lee and Anna Marije Veenland in boat 8.

After waiting for the wind to come back and shortening the course again, race 3 was set to get off at 2:45. Again, the sea breeze had come back and the race would be a Course 4. Again, the light breeze and fair current pushed a number of competitors over at the start, aided a bit by an eagerness to resume racing. After the first recall, only one boat was called over early in the next start, quickly returning to clear themselves and keep racing. Good starts, a light but even breeze, and a further shortened course, all resulted in less time for the fleet to get separation heading into the turning marks. This made for some crowded roundings. In this race particularly, most boats at the finish had to be sighted exactly from the RC flag, with only inches between them and their nearest competitors. A good example of this was at the front. The Wisch/Farnham team in Boat 13 actively attacked the team of Pat Clancy and Chris Clancy in Boat 17, maneuvering to take their wind and roll them to leeward. Clancy/Clancy defended, bring the pair on a high reach coming to the finish. Boat 17 still ahead and to leeward, gybed to finish, pushing their bow across and saving themselves the win in race 3.

Congratulations to our winners this week. My apologies if I got your name wrong in the write up, I am working off the score sheet with team names listed. And remember- I am new to this fleet! Feedback, Feedback, Feedback.

See you all next week!

Jake Denney

PRO

 

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.