Racing-Best Ever 09/02/12
Best race ever. Seven boats, perfect conditions, this is why we do this.
Well, at least there were seven boats.
The Vulcan Mermaid got out in front early, about five minutes early in fact. Sailing instructions can be your best friend or your worst enemy. The 29erXX complete with curb finders and the hitherto unseen red Bucanneer started early also but early within the designated time slot. DJ’s and Byrons’s Kraken were in that mix for a good bit of the first leg. Bill Holstein’s Day Sailor, Amanda Morgan, and Ron Semans Hunter 23.5, Reflections, got across the line well ahead of Bob Jackson and myself on the Catalina 25, and Lance Squires’ Grounds for Divorce. The wind was barely more than vapors rising in the Florida sun. The first tiny breeze hit shortly after we manage to creep onto the course side of the line. It lasted for maybe a minute, two at the most. Based on that wind it was a close reach to the first mark, approximately North. After a five to ten minute delay there was another tiny little breeze, this provided a beam reach for thirty seconds, then it went to the nose for ten seconds. Then it quit for another five minutes. On the next puff, everybody we could see, tacked. Tacking a Catalina 25 in less than eight knots is generally not productive so we fell off every header and climbed every lift. Lance’s MacGregor was right with us to the first turn. We rounded the mark with Lance a length behind and inside. We headed up but he got over us, so we went up and got over him. The wind pattern stayed the same for the rest of the afternoon. The 29erXX’s dark Blue spinnaker was barely visible at the next mark over two miles away, at least they were showig us the way. Tiny puffs from any and every direction interrupted by large intervals of nothing was the only consistency of the day. As we got slightly closer to halfway to the second turn we watched the Bucaneer and the 29erXX approaching the finish. We witnessed Kraken crossing ahead of the Vulcan Mermaid, only to sail off into a corner of nothingness. Difficult as it may seem to squeeze weeks of frustration into a three hour race, it is possible. After the second turn it did not take very long to recognize that tacking the Catalina’s genoa an infinite number of times to be instantly back winded was slow. The breeze created by cranking up the iron wind was welcome.