We had 11 (!) Lightnings on the river this past Sunday for Spring Series #3! That is a fantastic turnout! The weather was a bit less cooperative, providing us summer drifting conditions. A determined RC eventually got us off on a W2 race in a very light and patchy southerly.
A huge “congratulations!” to Lisa-Marie for earning her first bullet in some very tricky conditions on Sunday. Sailing with Jim Lane and Chris Kozel, Lisa-Mare and crew demonstrated great patience and focus in very light breeze (nonexistent breeze at times) and a hefty current. Team As You Wish got off the starting line well as far as I could tell, and then did a great job of seeking out clear air and the patches of breeze that were to be found on the river this past Sunday. Once they worked their way out to the front they stayed there, maintaining focus and not making any mistakes to win a very challenging (and long) W2 race.
Congratulations are also due to Kristin Burke (sailing with Brian Burke and Bob Astrove on Progressive Plastics) for a 2nd place finish. Determination and patience brought team Progressive Plastics up from mid-fleet to eventually catch everybody but Lisa-Marie in another demonstration of some great light air sailing. As Bob Astrove pointed out, this is perhaps the first time in Fleet 50 history that the top two places went to female skippers! That’s awesome!
Aboard #14592 (sailing with Piercarlo and new crew Claudio Purificato) we also worked hard on being patient, observing the current, and finding wind. We were too bunched up with other boats on the start line so ended up with little speed at the gun (and then less speed after we tacked away from the group). That is a cardinal error in light breeze. Groups of boats go slow together in light air, and there we were, instantly in the middle of the pack. We worked up the right side of the course on the first beat and headed into the windward mark 7th or 8th. The boats out in the river seemed to make out better, even if they were fighting a bit more current. A group of boats hit the mark due to heavy current (another cardinal error in light wind) and effectively took themselves out of the race given the time it took to recover, clear, and do turns. We were lucky enough to catch an easterly puff for the 1st “downwind leg” (a jib reach) and passed a few more boats in the process. We did OK in holding our spot upwind save for 1 extra tack — and that extra tack allowed Kristen to get by and also allowed Will to get back by us after we had reeled them in on the 2nd beat. We were able to hold our place in 4th though for a decent finish — and some tough reminders of the things to watch for in light air racing.
Scores will be posted soon, so check back in a bit! And feel free to add comments & observations of your own here or via the Fleet 50 email listserv.