The wind cooperated for our annual 12-Mile Island event, KSC’s longest distance race. We had a great turn our with 6 boats (3 cats, 3 monohulls) doing the full run, and 2 more opting to do a half-race to Pinhey’s Point and back (one cat, one Byte). Many thanks to RC Reese for driving the power boat all the way to Pinhey’s to drop the mark. I didn’t see what happened during the Half race, so the following account mostly covers the full run.
We did things a bit differently this year, with boats setting off “whenever” and timing their run around the island. After getting back, we adjusted their times against a handicapping factor.
Ellen/Mark and their family were first to set off in a Hobie 18, followed by Denise/Ken S (Laser 2). We then had 3 boats take off in close proximity — Tony/Devin (Hobie 18), Ken E/Norm (Albacore), and Jason (Laser). A while later Frank/Jean took a Hobie 16. Doing the half trip, and leaving significantly later, were Annie/Greg (Hobie 16), Carla (Byte) and a non-racing MG14.
The leg from KSC to Pinhey’s was largely upwind, with a slight starboard tack favour. Three basic strategies were used:
- long tacks from one side of the river to the other (favoured by the cats, and Ken S/Denise)
- sail on the Quebec side where there were fewer waves and more predictable wind (favoured by Norm/Ken E)
- sail in the middle of the river, tacking on headers as they hit (favoured by Jason)
During that beat, Ken E/Norm were able to constantly extend their lead over Jason. Both managed to eventually catch up with Ken S/Denise, who happened to be on the Ontario side on port tack when a wind shift caught them and wouldn’t give them a break. Tony/Devin’s Hobie 18 got caught in the same shift and Jason passed them around the middle of the river just before Pinhey’s. There may or may not have been some trash talk exchanged, including referring to the cat as “a boat with training wheels”. Norm/Ken E was by this point well ahead of both and near the Quebec shore, and the shift which penalized the cat and Laser 2 was a lift for the Albacore, which was pointed straight up river.
Past Pinhey’s the wind steadied out a bit, with starboard tack now heavily favoured. Tony/Devin blasted by Jason (exchanging a few more light-hearted words) and ripped along. Between Pinhey’s and the island, Jean/Frank’s Hobie 16 also passed Ken S/Denise. Jason and the H16 rounded 12-Mile Island together, and the cat outpaced the Laser on the downwind.
The downwind leg was a straight run from Port-of-Call to KSC, and the boats had a choice whether to run it, or to make multiple reaches. The cats and Norm/Ken E reached, while Jason largely ran (focused on surfing the waves, although he would alter course to try to catch wind gusts) and Ken S/Denise got their nice shiny spinnaker flying.
Tony/Devin claimed honours as first back to the club.
The elapsed time (ET) of each boat was recorded, and adjusted according to the Portsmouth Number (PN) handicap for each boat. The adjusted time (AT) is:
AT = ET * (1000/PN)
Larger Portsmouth numbers mean a boat is usually slower. For instance, a Hobie 16 has a larger number (809) than a Hobie 18 (740). This means what a Hobie 16 does in an hour, a Hobie 18 should be able to do in 54 minutes 53 seconds. If a PN is greater than 1000 then the AT will be smaller than ET. If PN is less than 1000, then AT will be greater than ET.
So without further ado, here is what we have:
|Denise/Ken S||Laser 2||1065||4:26:00||4:09:46|
(Note — please double-check my math on the conversions)
The winner, is Jason, in a Laser! Despite finishing 4th over all in elapsed time, the Laser’s high handicapping mean he just won over Ken E/Norm. Look at those adjusted times — there’s less than 3 minutes between them over almost 4 hours. That’s 1.3% difference. Here’s the other thing… Jason’s Laser was in good shape. The foils were shiny, the hull was solid, etc. The Albacore Ken E and Norm were in has probably seen better days, and had scratches, dings, repairs, probably a leak or two. I’m sure if the Albacore was in as good a shape as the Laser then it would’ve been no contest.
The cats faired poorly overall on the day. The wind was to blame for that. Cats LOVE to sail on a reach, and beating into the wind really takes their speed advantage away over monohulls. The handicapping formula unfortunately considers reaching performance as well as upwind/downwind performance, so the cats were being scored on a scale which assumed they’d be able to use their quick reaches, and conditions were not cooperating. If the wind was coming directly across river the whole time, there would be no catching the cats.
Similar results were seen on the half-run.
Carla was able to round the mark in about 20 minutes less time than the Hobie 16 in a Byte (which is supposed to be slower). The adjusted time was 50 minutes apart. Again, this was largely due to the leg being “beating upwind, dead run downwind”, where Carla’s Byte could tack on to take advantage of any momentary wind shift, while the cat was going back and forth across the river.
Congrats, Jason and Carla! You’ve got bragging rights for the year!
I hope everyone had fun, and don’t forget to email Ken Eaves with your “I’ve done a 12-Mile rounding!” story. For those who don’t know, Ken and Harry founded the “12-Mile Challenge” and there are trophies for those who round the island the most times in the year in a cat, in a single-handed monohull, and a double-handed monohull.