On a crisp Wednesday night, our intrepid race committee decided to mix things up and start the fleet at #18 in a 10-12 kt northerly on an outgoing tide. This eliminated the need for a drop mark to send us upwind, instead rounding #17, heading downwind-ish to the day marker #22 for A&B fleets, and #23 for C (I think), then a gybe and tight reach to #19, and a mostly fetchable beat to the finish at #18. This created a dash to the first mark, and then a need to get creative to make passes in the puffs and passing lanes as fleets A&B picked their way through boats. All three fleets had tight finishes, with the top three in each fleet within 50 seconds of their leaders.
As C fleet started, Gusty took the pin and headed towards the left and Peddocks, with Falcon in tow. Iassair came in a bit late and tacked out towards the gut and took the right side. It was interesting to watch to see if tide or wind had a significant effect. There was talk on the dock that many people didn’t feel much tide, while others did. There was no real consensus, but at the top mark Gusty rounded first.
B fleet featured little ‘ol Timmy port tacking the fleet at the pin! They got out in front of those big bully boats and showed how it’s done. Meanwhile, A fleet started with Echo, Casuarina, and Ceann Saile toward the pin and went left, while Magpie and some others got in a bit of a kerfuffle at the boat and some went right. The remainder picked their way up the inner ranks. As the top mark approached, the wind got squirly and helmsmen had to manage significant headers and lifts. It felt like the bigger and heavier your boat, likely the better your ability to coast through a header without chasing it. Ultimately, the tightness of the early moments of the race continued as boats converged, and it was bow-to stern at the mark.
Turning the mark, it became what the crew of Static called “an Asymmetrical” night as tight reaching in fresh breeze prevailed. Ceann Saile was able to harden up and really take off, while Echo and Ladylove held their hoist and got to a high line before raising the kite and rumble down. It got exciting toward the turning mark as fleets converged and started stealing each other’s wind. Impromptu blanketed Static, Static blanketed Ceann Saile, Wild Ride drew a bad hand just as they were ripping through the fleet, and the high line boats closed the gap.
As the fleet headed towards #19, a variety of strategies emerged. Some boats had gone wide around the market and leaked towards Grape, then had to claw back to windward, while Echo and Rapparee took the highest line so they could bear down approaching the mark. Most boats fought through tough puffs with closely hauled chutes, but there were no major wipeouts.
Rounding #19 and headed for home, Timmy again showed chops holding off some of the big boats for a while that were reeling her in. In the end, it was mostly a parade to the finish, with each boat trying to find a clean lane to survive on a single tack to the finish.
Falcon showed again that it’s a tough crew to beat, edging out Gusty and Iassair. The little guy Timmy beat all comers in B fleet, besting Wharf Rat and JEF, while Casuarina nosed out Ceann Saile and Black Seal, which make a great comeback after being over early and had a really cool spiked tack douse at #19.
All-in-all, another nice night on the water unspoiled by Canadian wildfire smoke. Thank you again to the race committee for a great night and to all the competitions for doing what we do best!
Sumbitted by Conrad Langenhagen of Casuarina