The wind was the big story of the night, with constantly changing (and sometimes challenging) conditions. Congrats to the brave souls who looked to the water, saw some big air, and said “looks like fun!” This was also the last race night of the “Summer Series 1” so take a look at the end of the article for a series summary. Summer Series 2 starts Aug 3, so until then you can say “Yeah, I’m tied with Steve for the top spot…”
Big winds meant boats were flying out of the gate. The start line was long enough that a few skilled sailors (Steve/Carla and Jean/Frank in Tasars, Tony/Annie in a Hobie 18, Ken/Peter in a Laser 2) could start on the favoured port without being interfered with by those doing starboard tack starts (Chunshu in a Laser, Jason in a Laser, Mark/Ellen/Yona in an Albacore). The first leg was all about keeping the boat flat in the big winds and big waves, with Carla/Steve rounding the mark first, followed by Jason (although the cat outran him on the reaching legs like he was standing still). The battle I was watching throughout the race though was Jean/Frank in a Tasar vs Ken/Peter in a Laser 2. Here were two quick boats, about the same size, designed by the same person (Frank Bethwaite) around the same time and each sailed by competent sailors. The Laser 2 had the advantage of a trapeze (with Peter hanging off it) but the trap really works best in steady winds while we were experience gusts/lulls. These two boats were playing leapfrog throughout the race, with Mark/Ellen/Yona able to insert their Albacore into the fray downwind.
Carla/Steve finished 1st, Tony/Annie 2nd, Jason 3rd, Jean/Frank 4th, the Watsons 5th, Peter/Ken 6th, and Chunshu 7th
The wind started to die down, but continued its shift. A couple more boats joined us (Matt/Cameron in an Albacore and Sara/Charlotte in a Laser). Port tack heavily favoured by this time. This race was quite processional with the first leg seeing the most movement. Tony/Devin had a decent start and were able to pass Frank/Jean, Ken/Peter, and Jason. The two new boats unfortunately didn’t have great starts, and were unable to catch up. The top 3 finishers were the same, in the same order, but Peter/Ken held on to 4th over Jean/Frank (5th), and Chunshu (6th) was able to beat the Watson Albacore (8th). Matt/Cameron scored 9th, followed by Charlotte/Sara (10th).
So here’s a question for you — in this case, a wind shift make the pin end of the start line (and port track) heavily favoured. But, the wind is fairly slow at the pin end (6 knots, maybe), and is stronger at the boat end (9 knots). Where should you start?
Boat A has the favoured end, and the favoured tack, but boat B has right-of-way over boat A. A has to either tack or bear off and duck B. B would likely try to force A to make a move (tacking or ducking) and then tack onto port in front of A, but if B does a sloppy tack and loses speed, then A (assuming A ducked) could pass her to leeward and get into clear air. C meanwhile is starting with more distance to sail upwind. If the wind continues to shift counterclockwise, C is screwed. But if the wind shift back to “head on” then C has much more wind to work with and can beat A or B. Tricky situation indeed.
Race 3 started out slow, the wind built over the course of the race, starting on the right side of the course. By the end of the race it was over 15 knots all over the course, probably closer to 20 on the Quebec side. Carla/Steve (who took the “boat A” position in the diagram) won the race, with Devin/Tony second (again). Jason had a bad start (he had planned to be boat C, but wasn’t paying attention and drifted downwind before the start) so Frank/Jean and Ken/Peter were duking it out for 3rd. Peter eventually got on the trapeze as the wind built, and the extra leverage meant they could keep their boat flatter that Jean/Frank. They took 3rd/4th respectivly. Chunshu showed solid skills as he kept his Laser ahead of the rest of the fleet. Jason was able to pass Charlotte/Sara and Matt/Cameron and was catching up with Mark/Ellen/Yona, but didn’t get to them in time. Mark & family finished 6th, Jason 7th, Cameron/Matt 8th, Sara/Charlotte 9th.
Lesson learned: once that class flag goes up, don’t start fiddling with your boat drifting downwind, make sure you’re in a good starting position.
After the race
Remember how I said the wind was building? Well, some of the braver (or stupider) sailors took advantage of the big air and went to Quebec. That was fun — planing on a reach the whole way there, hulls screaming, spray flying everywhere, bouncing the boats over whitecaps! Peter was hanging off the trapeze trying to keep the Laser 2 upright, Carla/Steve and Jean/Frank were practicing steering-for-balance, the Tony/Devin’s Hobie 18 was close to flying a hull. A couple of capsizes and some aid from kind sailors/RC (thanks Carla, Heidi, Reese!) and everyone made it home safe.
Apres-sail was fun, as always, and may thanks for coming out!
This was the last race of our “Summer Series 1” set of races, with “Summer Series 2” going from Aug 3 – Aug 31. We got 13 races in over the 5 weeks, which meant you can drop your worst 3 scores. Steve convincingly won the series, taking 1st place in all but 3 races (a 2nd, a 3rd, and a Did-Not-Start). Carla finished 2nd with a number of 1st place wins, as well as a handful of 3rd/4th places finishes. Ken S rounds out the top 3, with a win, and solid 2nd/3rd place finishes. For the rookies, we have Devin as the victor with some 1st/2nd place finishes, but the weeks he missed (Did-Not-Come-to-Starting-Area) hurt his overall placement among the veterans. Complete results here.
Season wise, Carla is still in the lead by a couple of points over Steve. Jason has fallen back to a distant 3rd. Current standings here