The wind might have been a bit fickle, but that didn’t stop a great group of 6 Lightnings from having a ton of fun at the 2014 DC Sail Cantina Cup! As always, the DC Sail folks did a fantastic job in running races (in very, very challenging conditions no less!) and in hosting a great party. From my perspective, it was awesome to see so many new sailors and new boats on the water in the Lightning class. We were pleased to see John Hart sailing his new boat (14500) for the first time, with Nabeel and Christy Chen as crew. We were also excited to welcome John Gastright and his son, John, and daughter, Amy, on Purple People Eater (15246) to their first Lightning race on the Potomac. On board Sinistra I was happy to have Ed Lane and Jill Williamson crewing for me. We also had Lisa-Marie Lane, Jim Lane, and Bob G. out on As You Wish; David Ferhle driving 3 Little Birds with Red and Joe as crew; and Bobby Astrove, with Jonathan Karpatkin and Brian Burk as crew.
The wind was quite literally nonexistent as we all rigged and launched on Saturday morning. A few boats grabbed a tow with DISC big boats headed out, and the rest of us sailed and paddled our way out to the river where we were picked up by some DC Sail powerboats (thanks for the great assist!). We all made it to the racecourse on time and the RC did a great job of getting us into a sequence once the wind started to build.
Overall, Bobby did a great job throughout the day finding the wind and keeping his momentum up in the moments when the wind died (and there were many of those moments!). Although we led part of the first race on Sinistra, it was Bobby who passed us on the second leg for the lead and, eventually, the win. Lisa-Marie and crew on As You Wish did a fantastic job in this race as well, coming in second after fending off the rest of the pack on a grueling last downwind leg that involved drifting upriver against the current in next to no breeze.
After a period under postponement to adjust for a new easterly breeze we were off again…only to have a big southerly shift come through midway up the first beat, such that the race became a reach-reach affair. At one point we were coming back “downwind” (but close hauled given the shift) only to see 3 Little Birds flying their spinnaker on what was originally the “upwind” leg! Ah, the joys of sailing on the Potomac.
The final race was also shifty, as the wind settled in from the south, had moments when it came out of the west, shut off altogether on the first downwind leg, and then came back from the southeast for the final beat. The crew on Sinistra did a great job (Ed was very patient on the spinnaker and both Ed and Jill were great with weight placement) such that we were able to take the lead and then take it back after a great leeward mark rounding. It felt good for us to end the day with a bullet, but it was Bobby, Jonathan, and Brian who won the day and the 2014 Cantina Cup — great job!
After the racing most of us headed over to Cantina Marina for a great after party put on by the restaurant and by DC Sail. Thanks again to Nicole, Brian, and all of the folks at DC Sail for including the Lightnings in all of the fun!