Rum Racing 090512
|Photo taken from Millihelen -by Matt Homan|
Forecast – 10 knots out of the south with 70 percent chance of rain
Actual – little or no air clear skies and 12 boats at the start
We started this
Rum Race right at 6:20 just ahead of Kraken that was just ahead of Black Jack Pete. Andy was over early, he is always over early, and his pole is too long. Kraken and Black Jack tacked to the left toward the channel almost immediately. In wind like this, tacking seemed to be a bad idea so we avoided it. Show Me had to tack to avoid getting attacked by the dog on the houseboat, again to avoid tacking we ducked the Precision and started up the right edge of the only wind on the lake. Black Jack, the San Juan 21 with Fisk and Pete went almost to the seawall and Show Me followed. We had air, a little speed, were pointing high, and saw no reason to change. Kraken (the other San Juan 21), Wile E, the 29erXX and XLRB, the Viper, were going up the middle as a group. Kraken was overtaking XLR8 to windward and Wile E was to windward of Kraken but slightly behind. It seemed that the Viper was not enthralled with the prospect of being rolled by the slower boat, and soon the boats were very close together, I heard voices saying protest and Kraken ended up behind XLR8 and bearing away. I did not see any 720 degree turns so it must have been resolved. The huge storm cloud to the South-West had columns of showers but no lightning. The wind line from the cloud was way up by the bridge. About the time I was beginning to be concerned about Kraken camping on us, the wind line made it to their genoa and getting bad air was no longer an issue. Shortly thereafter the wind was up, a lot, and there was rain, the bubble had burst.
We had been ahead of the boats that had gone to the channel side. Of course the last time we did this we had stayed in the channel and the wind filled from the other side. I am beginning to think I may have cast an aspersion on this Karma character. As the wind built and became quite gusty, I used less and less mains’l and feathered up on the jib more and more. Greg Devries hove to on his Precision 18 to tie in a reef. Kraken was getting knocked around a good bit for having too much sail, XLR8 and Wile E were moving really well with the new wind. Black Jack, Vulcan Mermaid, and Show Me, were blasting up the rhumb line. The Hunter 23.5 forestay was beginning to have an unacceptable amount of sag. With no backstay, the vang provides the leech tension for the main and therefore forestay tension for the jib. Too bad I did not think of that while we were clawing upwind on the jib with the main flapping. In any case, the forestay was being contorted well beyond my comfort zone and the mast was shuddering most of the time. I have had things break in conditions similar to this on my boats. I am opposed to breaking other peoples boats in spite of having been heard to say, “hey, it‘s not my boat”. I suggested that we might want to withdraw and Ron did not object.
Of course the wind eased once we were headed for the marina, then it quit, then it shifted 180 degrees. XLR8 had reached 13 knots prior to the shift, then stalled, stopped, looked like they were aground about the time we made it into the marina. As we made fast to the dock, lightning struck close by and I felt justified. I drove over to the corner of the island where the finish is visible to watch the others finish if they could. The Viper had no trouble getting in. Pete and Fisk got their sails down and motored in. Kraken had no motor and had a little maneuvering to do to get a good line on the channel into the east basin. Show Me and Wile E were well off in the distance when I went to set up for scoring. I was told everyone made it in safely, although at least one of us had to tie up by the hospital and walk back to the marina. I have had to find alternate dockage and hitchhike to my vehicle due to inclement weather myself, it can be a very smart call. These days I try to avoid it.