What a day! The wind certainly showed up for our final day of racing. Before we went out, the forecast showed steady wind around 18mph, and the RC put up the save yourself flag (must wear your pfd) – which turned out to be very helpful for a few boats (see below for more details). After the races were complete, a few folks looked up the wind for the day and saw wind at 18mph and gusts up to 25, with one gust around 1:30pm that hit 30mph.
Nabeel had a great day all around taking first in all 4 races. Even though the wind was strong and shifty all day, Nabeel decided to throw up the chute on the downward legs. Most boats were hesitant to do so and actually didnt loose too much ground by going wing on wing. After talking to several people, playing the shifts paid off all day long. It really didnt matter whether you went to the airport or out to the channel, as long as you stayed in front of boats and covered them to the windward and leeward marks. Most boats were dumping wind rather than powering up, which led to fairly close racing all day.
But, the shifty wind did cause some problems for a few skippers. Rick Welch, with fairly new crew, decided to put up the spinnaker on the first downwind leg of the day and caught a puff and capsized the boat. They quickly righted the boat, and once they blew the spinnaker halyard and bailed out the water, continued sailing. The GMU crew were in contention for third in the second race, until their skippers hiking strap broke about 15 boat lengths from the finish line. SPLASH! They lost their skipper overboard and had to go into safety position until the skipper swam back to the boat. Frank snapped his spinnaker halyard early on in the day, but that didnt keep him from trying other options. In order to try to convince competition nothing was wrong, he continued to put up his spinnaker pole after each rounding of the windward mark. On the third race, just at the finish mark, Mark Ewing snapped the tack of his Jib and then decided to call it a day. And, in the second race, Chris Kozel lost a jib sheet track and had to sail with one sheet (the lazy jib sheet) for the final upwind leg of the race. Also, as he was trying to take his boat out of the water, the bridle lifting strab snapped and one of his crew ended up in the water. I am certainly glad everyone is OK, safe and now warm.
A very competitive and windy day, with an adrenaline rush for 4 hours led to exhaustion with 4 of the 8 boats retiring before the third race. Nabeel, Rick, Frank and Chris stayed out for the fourth and final race, where the winds died down to around 12 mph. Not as competitive for the last race, but great sailing all around. A job well done to the race committee for the placement of the marks in the shifting wind. A thank you is in order for helping the several boats that capsized (a lightning, 2 Albacores and a Buc). And, I think a big thank you from the fleet for only making the first race a ‘W 3’ – the rest ‘W-2’s’. Beers, Hamburgers and dogs were needed and shared by all after the race day.