Friday, July 18, 2014

SYSCO Summer Series Race 5, July 17, 2014

Again this was a normal summer wind pattern. The wind was from the WNW along the river. Crew was Bill O. and Doug C. Our start was typical for this series. There were lots of boats at the start. Estrella Del Mar (EDM) was coming up leeward but overtaking on starboard tack. He tried to push us up and into the starting mark. I held my course and could argue that he was the overtaking boat and had to keep clear. Then right after the crossing the line, we over took River Weasel (RW) who was coming up leeward on starboard tack. We did a port tack to get clear of the group and get clear air. We encountered traffic with a boat on starboard coming down river. We had to tack to port before I had planned. We continued on starboard passing in front of EDM. We had gained a boat length or two by that time. We tacked to port to go to the mark. Again we encountered traffic. Another boat on starboard tack while we were on port. This time I started to pass astern, but Bill suggested we could make it in front. But by the time I took a look at the boat we were too close to pass astern or ahead so we did a quick 360 turn and maintained our position. We rounded the mark and set the whisker pole to port. We headed upstream to 14 staying in the middle where we found the wind to be best earlier in the evening. There ahead of us was RW. We were back about 5 boat lengths. We started to catch them. Then they would pull ahead. We would again approach them even getting our sail shadow on their stern. Again they pulled away. About 3/4ths the way to 14 EDM caught and passed us. We were able to stay with her to the mark and was able to cut inside her and the mark and gain a couple of boat lengths in front of her. We left the mark on starboard tack. After a while it was apparent we were not going to be able to make the finish on this tack. About half way to the finish EDM tacked to port and passed behind us. When we were able to make the finish on one tack we tried to go to port tack, but the sheet was trapped by the whisker pole. Bill had secured the pole to the starboard inner shroud above the starboard jib sheet. We had to wiggle a bit and Bill went forward to free the sheet. By the time we got straightened out, EDM had crossed in front of us and finished second. RW had done a great job and finished first. We finished third. The 360 turn is visible in the track as well as the wiggle near the finish.

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