Saturday, May 08, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010, SYSCO Spring Series

This was the longest non-race I have every been in. There was a first in this race for our boat and probably for the fleet. We anchored. The winds were light and variable, but mostly from the north west. Our race was C-2-B-C. This was a change from the straight down river to the windward mark and back to the finish. We actually had a triangle course.

We were about ten seconds early on the start and went over, but all we had to do was tuck back behind the start line and continue on. The track shows the dip. We stayed mainly in the deep center of the river on the windward leg. By dipping back behind the line, the pack caught up to us and we essentially started in the middle of the pack. The winds faded near the windward mark. The "fast" fleet ahead of us were slowly drifting downstream while valiantly trying to sail upstream. This sort of gave us a clue that the wind was very weak. We essentially drifted round the mark, but at least in first position.

We anchored when we realized we were not going upstream to hold our position as best we could. We sat there only about 5-10 minutes, then the breeze came back. We headed over to the Oregon side to take advantage of the shallow water current and to get away from the pack.

The downwind leg was sailed essentially wing on wing, but instead of setting the spinnaker pole the crew chose to use the boat hook to hold out the sail. This allowed us to go to a broad reach when the shifts of the wind direction allowed us. We played with Bill Sanborn's Upstart for a while. But along toward the committee boat the wind died. At the end we were being over taken by Vim our "arch rival". The closer we got to the finish line the lighter the wind became. Until we were within 3 boat lengths of the line and the wind died entirely. The sun was almost down. It was the time of dusk when wind dies and the world holds its breath. We anchored for the second time in this "race". We sat. There was a breath of air after about 15 minutes and we tried to sail only to loose ground. We anchored again. About 9:25 or 2 1/2 hours after the start of the race, the race committee called the race. If either Vim or Aventura had finished the race we would have been the only finishers and the race would count. But since no one finished in our fleet, the race does not count.

I am still conflicted about using the boat hook as a whisker pole. It is good because it allows quick changes of the head sail down wind. The spinnaker pole is just too unwieldy for quick changes. It is good in a blow, but takes two to set it with any speed. Next item for the boat is a whisker pole.

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