Fall Series #6: Breezy Fun!

It was already blowing in the 10-15 range when we arrived at the marina on Sunday, and the forecast was for the wind to build towards 20 mph steady with gusts predicted up to 30.  That forecast may have kept some teams away, but 4 Lightnings (John V., doublehanding with his daughter Rachel; Rick, Piercarlo & Aaron; Chris, Jen, & Nicole; Alex, Laura, & Will), a Buc, and a Laser did splash their boats and the Hobie Cat RC crew led by Yates agreed to set up shorter courses (they had little choice with a WNW wind) and keep a close eye on everybody.

The wind did continue to build as we sailed up to the race course, and we definitely saw some gusts in the 20s in the first race according to the handheld wind readings taken aboard the signal boat. The College Kids decied not to race (they may have broke something, I’m not sure), which left 3 of us for the first race.  John was doublehanding and definitely light, so he (wisely) decided to sail under main alone for the first race and then he headed home.  That left us on Sinistra to duke it out vs. String Theory for the day.  Chris got better starts in both races, winning the boat end both times with us farther down the line than we would have liked to be.  However, we were able to hold the boat down a bit more (we definitely had more crew weight) and point better, so we were able to take the lead on the first leg in each race and hold onto it for two bullets.

Although the races were short, we did work hard on Sinistra to put the lessons that we learned at the Frigid Digit into practice: traveler down, jib cars back, and make sure to ease the jib together with the main in big puffs (this was the major lesson overall).  I was up front, but I handed the jib sheet to Piercarlo in the middle after trimming the sail out of each tack as his angle made it easier to uncleat and cleat the jib while we were all fully hiked.  Easing the jib to make sure that the main never backwinded when eased made a huge difference — we were flat, fast, and we never really felt like we had to struggle to keep the boat down.  The flat water also made a huge difference, though, as all of this is much tougher in the Annapolis chop.

With very short courses and shifty, gusty breeze nobody flew the spinnaker.  After our two races both boats called it a day, agreeing to sail home rather than keep match racing and possibly breaking something.  We saw some even bigger gusts and some fantastic rides on a full plane on the sail back to the marina and everybody enjoyed some hot dogs and drinks after we dried out our boats (and selves).

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