Initially this race was shaping up to be one of the best of the series, but as usual that turned out to be illusory.
As the start was from City Dock it was suggested that we set a course around the Marine Science Center mark, which doesn’t get a lot of use from the Committee Boat. The current was around slack water, and the RC visited the beach at Point Hudson to verify there was wind available. It appeared to be a good choice and turned out to be so.
While the RC was setting up on the dock the wind was moderate but somewhat unstable, mostly 8 – 10 kts. but with long lulls to 4 kts. and gusts to 12+. The direction oscillated rapidly between 265 & 285 degM. To gain a semblance of a windward start, mark A was set off Union Wharf.
As the distance to M and back was only ~3 nm. and the breeze appeared well established all over the bay, a trip out to the tower was added for another 3 nm. The course set was SAMFTF, which called for a crossing of the S/F line in the middle to allow for shortening course.
The first start had a General Recall as the boat most over early was beside the dock and its mainsail obscured the S/F line and the rest of the fleet.
Careful track was kept of time and wind conditions to decide if the course should be shortened. The trip out to M was quick with most of the fleet completing what was half of the total course distance in a third of the available time, and the wind still looked good, so the course was not shortened. However, as is usual, the time each boat crossed the line was recorded. About a third of the way to the tower, with little warning, the wind died and then reversed, coming back weakly from the SE. This cycle of weak reversing breezes continued for the rest of the race. Most of the fleet had great difficulty fetching and rounding the tower. Much of the fleet gave up after the tower but Sparkle, Boreas, Dorado and Thatuna managed to get in phase with the shifts and find a little pressure. Loosely bunched, they were within ¼ nm of the finish when time ran out, a valiant effort.
As the full course was a total DNF, times for the short course were used for the results.
continue reading » Summer Cat’s Paw Series 2016 – Race 5 Results