The first race of the Summer series went off despite calls for thunder and lightning in the forecast. It felt every 30 minutes refreshing the prediction either showed clear skies or thunderstorms. Thankfully the weather turned and we were able to get in what was one of our longer races yet this season
I’m the owner of LittleWing, a sport boat in the B fleet. This Wednesday we had four souls on board. In addition to myself we had Scott Millar, Robbie Briggs, and Kevin Horrigan. We prepared for a dying breeze as was predicted so of course this means the breeze rarely went below 13 and was building during the evening. After 5 seasons of skippering you’d think I’d learn to do the opposite of the wind prediction but that’s a lesson to be learned for another night. Our course in the B Fleet took us deep into the Fore River Channel to mark “29” also known as the “mark that is so far away we wait for other boats to round so we know which one it is” mark. Up to “19” outside Bumpkin Island. Back to the start at “HB” then to “23” on the opposite side of Sheep Island and back downwind to finish. A Fleet had the same course whereas C Fleet had a shortened version with “22”, “19”, “HB”, “24”, and finish back at “HB”.
The current was coming in all night so this presented a choice for the racers after the start: do you fight the current for a bit going high into West Gut or do you keep it tight to Sheep Island and hit a rock. I opted for the latter and found that rock. Not everyone knows this but I’ve been conducting a five year survey of the Bay with my keel and nearly have every single rock located. Thankfully I have a swing keel and the damage is likely minimal. In any event we only lost half a knot for about 3 seconds. The plan didn’t work out though as those that went into the gut definitely found more wind and ended up pulling away. Wharf Rat, Satic, and JEF were leading the B fleet to the weather mark. By the time I had rounded A fleet had caught up and all hope was lost.
Insights from the first place finishers in each fleet
Tom Curtis - Magpie
We went right on the first beat and got lifted the whole way - breeze & West Gut current. We were just high enough to keep going past Pig Rock and didn’t tack until the low water stick at Quincy. That was huge for us. Also the ability to hold the kite on the reach from “19” to “HB”.
Lew Marten - Impromptu
We would favor the right hand side of the course on both upwind legs. And we paid particular attention to any of the shoals on the course.
Eddie Quirk - Falcon
After a port tack start we went over to the channel to ride the current all the way to Pig Rock then took the channel down to “22”. Gusty beat us to “22” but we overtook Gust on the downwind leg to “19” by a slim margin. After we rounded “19” it was a very competitive race with Gusty but we pulled it off in the end.