Another exciting race on the Columbia was held May 2, 2013. Seven boats started. One started too soon, us. I had one Bill counting down time. Another Bill telling me we were too soon, and a Dave I don't quite remember what he was saying. Anyway were were about 5 seconds too soon and had to go around the committee boat to start. Our first attempt was on startboard tack about the middle of the starting line. The fastest way to get back behind the line was to go around the committee boat and start on port tack. The track is below.
Observe the loop around the committee boat. The course was B-2-C-2-C-B. The start line also served as the finish line. Notice the stalling before the start line. We knew we were a little early, but obviously we did not stall enough. This is where the skipper should have done a 360 instead of just stalling. We started in last place. We port tacked close hauled to the center of the channel, then tacked to starboard. We rounded the windward mark and went to port broad reach. Then we put up the whisker pole for wing on wing. It took us a while to pick up speed. My intent was to past the finish line on the Oregon side. Both to avoid the channel current and for better wind. Thats when the track stopped. I must figure out a better way to get our tracks.
We passed only one boat during race, the Ericson 23, Trigger. On the downwind leg we noticed at least two of the other boats in our fleet cross the finish line going down wind. The results show that they were DNF, or disqualified, for doing that. The rules state very plainly that the Finish Line is for the finish only and boats are disqualified for crossing it for any other reason. Three boats were disqualified that night for crossing the line.
The second up wind route was back to the Washington side of the channel to take advantage of the current. We turned to starboard tack and sailed to the Tomahawk Bay Marina entrance where we tacked to port to cross the river. We went as close to the Washington side as we could, but did not make the lay line to the mark when we tacked to starboard. We had to do two short tacks to make the mark. We took the same route as earlier to the leeward mark. At the leeward mark we went to port tack. I tacked after crossing astern a Crusing Fleet B boat, which turned out to be too soon. We crossed the finish line on port tack.
The winds that night were strong when we got out there. The crew reefed the main. The wind was slowly dying throughout the race. We shuck the reef out the first down wind leg. We tried to host the main but she was too stubborn to raise running downwind. After the port tack at the leeward mark. We tried to raise the main again. Again she was too stubborn to budge. After we tacked to starboard, tried the main halyard winch and she raised easily. The main sail problem really did not affect the boat speed much due to luffing the main so much to keep from healing too much. I need to rig the jiffy reefing for this season.
One untoward incident happened. We failed in our man overboard exercise. My GNU hat blew into the river as any unsecured hat would in a blow. I yelled man-over-board. The crew looked at me in a daze. They looked around and saw that everyone we left the pier with was still on board. I explained that my hat blew off and there it was in the river. Since this was well before the race, this would give us a very excellent means to test our man-over-board skills. I turned the boat around and luffed up to where I thought the hat was. No one thought to get the boat hook. So even if I was close we could not have picked up the hat. Looking back on the incident, I realize I failed to assign someone to watch the hat. I failed to assign someone to get the boat hook. I just failed to lead. As skipper, I am thouroughly shagrined.