We had fantastic sailing for Spring Series #7. PRO Chris Kozel and his crew set a nice windward-leeward course in a somewhat shifty S/SW breeze and did a good job getting us four races for the day. The turnout was also impressive, with 11 Lightnings on the line! The competition was tight, as Frank was back on the water after having spent some time in Florida, Nabeel (sailing with Scott & Tom) was in the mix, Rick (sailing with Lisbet and Aaron) were competitive as always, Bobby (sailing with Piercarlo and Jonathan on the woody) were also contenders, and Kirsten, Brian and Christie (on Bobby’s fiberglass boat) made a very strong showing. It was also great to see Bob G (sailing with Lisa-Marie and new sailor Boo Fullwood), Will (sailing with Lydia), Lindsay (sailing with Todd), Jim Van Voorhis (sailing with new sailor Jim Fullwood), Peter Lallas (sailing with Kevin), Jim Lane (with Katherine and John) on the water as well. We even saw Joe Warren come out for a bit, which was fantastic!
Scores will be posted soon. Keep reading for some of the details on what I observed from Sinistra, and feel free to add in your own comments!
The S/SW breeze that we had was light and shifty as we sailed up to the course and waited for the first warning signal. After a brief postponement to allow the RC to reset the course, we were off on our first W2. Both Sinistra and Shadowfax were OCS at the start. We were able to dip back relatively quickly, clear ourselves, and then find some clear air by taking a hitch to the right. We generally thought that the left would be favored, but that you didn’t want to sail straight to to the port layline since there was some pressure partway to the airport shore. We had also seen some dead spots in there in our pre-race sailing, so we knew we didn’t want to to all the way to the right side of the course. Our strategy paid off, and we were 2nd or third at the windward mark despite the restart. After a tight downwind leg we rounded with ahead of Bobby and just behind Frank. We split left and watched a pack of boats head right, towards the airport shore. Sure enough, they had much less pressure than we had in the river, and the pack that went left was well ahead at the windward mark. We trailed Frank around and defended against Bobby to take a well-earned 2nd in the race.
Before the start of the 2nd race we noticed that the RC boats had swung on their anchor, telling us that the tide had switched over and that everything was now flowing downriver. This made going left (upwind) even more advantageous, as one gained a bit from the current as well as from better pressure and what seemed to be a lift as you headed towards the windward mark. We were OCS once again at the start, but once again we were able to make a very quick dip back, tack out, and find clear air. We traded places with Frank, Bobby, and a few other boats on the upwind leg, and again made it to the windward mark in good shape despite the restart. In the first race and again here it paid to jibe inshore early to get out of the current and to take advantage of the pressure that could be found somewhat near the shore on the upper part of the course. We did this, and managed to reel in everybody but Bobby for a nice 2nd place finish.
We ended up a bit farther down the line on the third start, so we were pinned by the fleet and ended up sailing one long starboard tack to the port layline. The boat end of the line was favored for most of the day, so those boats that had a good spot (including Nabeel and Frank) rounded ahead of us at the top mark. Nabeel maintained his lead for the race, and we weren’t able to catch Frank, so we finished with a third in this one.
Rick nailed the start in the fourth race, carefully driving in behind a pack that was just a bit early for the boat end, accelerating up to the line, and hitting the line right at the boat just as the gun went. We used our position to push all of our competition out to the left corner, and we then tacked on the port layline when we were ready. Everybody close was forced to follow us in and around (and once again the left paid handsomely as the boats that went right off of the start were all well behind). We were able to hold the lead that we had built on the first leg and finish the day off with bullet, which always feels good!