Saturday, April 02, 2011

RCYC Frostbite Regatta, March 26, 2011

Aventura was entered in the forth start with 9 other boats. One boat was with another fleet, so raced himself. Crew was Bill, Dave, and myself. Dave was new to the boat. We left the pier about 10 to 11. Motored out of the marina. Set sail pretty fast. We chatted for a bit, but the crew wanted to get some practice in. Besides it was cold just standing there and doing nothing. Dave started to jump up and down to stay warm. We practiced a few coming abouts. The first was alright, but obviously done by three people who had never worked together. The next tacks were better. Not until we had started the race did the we start working together with one tailing the line and the other wenching it up and me bringing the boat about slow enough for them to get the sail trimmed. I tried to make sure the tacks were slow enough to allow them to pull in the sheet, but we had not moved the spinnaker or topping lift line aft to the mast. These lines are snapped to the down haul pad eye about 18 inches in front of the mast. So the head sail would snag on them as we went through the wind.

The start was confusion. We were the 4th start, but it did not seem like the timing was right. I thought they would start in order, they did. But they seemed to be five minutes slow. None of us had a good idea of when the start was. I did not get the time we crossed the start line, but it must have been a whole 5 to 10 minutes after the actual start. The wind did some strange stuff right at the start and it seemed we could not get to the start line. We must have tacked 4 times before the start.

The port tack would take us across the river while the starboard tack would take us sort of up river, but not much more upstream than port tack. The race course was R-A-C-14-R. We started at R and headed for A. A is off the first coffer dam upstream from the 42nd Street boat ramp. Lining out the race on Google, says it was a 4 mile race. Aventura's handicap is 195. This will be important latter.

It seemed to take us forever to get to A. There were two interesting encounters. The first was with Bob, a Martin 24. We were close passing in front of them on a port tack while they were on the starboard tack. They were trying their best to make me tack, by almost luffing their sails. They yelled that they would protest, but nothing came of it. No contact. No damage. No proof. The second interesting encounter was with one of the larger boats in the flying sails fleet. They were on starboard tack, we, again on port. This time my crew noticed the boat. I could not see it, as it was behind the sails. They both said it looks like we should tack. So we did. Which was nice, because we came up 1 1/2 boat lengths lee and abreast the boat on starboard tack. This would have been a very unfortunate encounter if my crew had not spoken up.

Rounding Mark A, the windward mark, was another study in river racing. As we approached we watch another boat misjudge the current and take a short tack to get back up to the mark to round it. We took Aventura in as far as we could to get the mark well passed amidships so we would not have to take that same short take the boat ahead of us did. The closer to the mark we got the more it looked like we would not make it. The current right at mark A was strong. We inched up to the mark. The more I tried to go up river, the slower we got. The faster I approached the mark, the more downstream we went. I found the balance and rounded the mark. Dave had to watch the mark to see if we cleared. He said we cleared it with about an inch to spare. I have to believe him, as the mark did not move as we rounded it. It would have moved a bit, it did not. If we had struck it, we would have been disqualified.

We ran down to Mark C, the first downwind mark. This leg went pretty fast as it was downwind and with the current. I noticed a couple of big boats sort of in a wind hole near the marina at the mark. But I was paying too much attention to sailing and keeping the boat going. The wind was light and fluky by the mark. We rounded the mark with out too much problem. But getting upstream to the third mark, Buoy 14, seemed to be a bit of a struggle. We rounded Buoy 14 with lots of room to spare. That is one mark I don't want to tangle with.

We finished the race in 1:36:47. La Dolce Vita, the boat I use to crew on was behind us at 1:37:13 or 26 second behind us. My handicap as stated earlier is 195. La Dolce Vitas is 205. Race was 4 miles long so I had to give him 40 second. So he beat me by 13 second. He placed 3rd, we placed 4th.

Still putting a crew together for the Spring Series. Bill and Chuck and now it looks like Steve, as Dave has not answered my emails.

I did not get a track of the race. I get confused by the switches in the SeaClear Software. I need more practice with it.