No shit, there we were on the committee boat at the dock and somebody said “let’s do a Le Mans start”.
The official race had been cancelled because of the gale warning that was in effect. But there were eight or nine us, representing four Thunderbirds, who still wanted to race. It was Daubie, I think, who said we should start from the dock, meaning the city dock, but Joe took that to mean from the marina. And so a plan was formed: we would say “go”, there on the committee boat, and the race would start. Everyone would do what they had to do to get ready, run to the car to get foul weather gear, take off boat covers, bend on sails, then sail out of the marina to the tower, and the first one back in their slip would be the winner; jib only, no spinnakers, no motors. And off we went.
Caveat was first out of the slip closely followed by Dorado with Boreas a little ways behind and Thatuna a little further back. The wind was fairly strong, but not gale force, probably gusting into the low 20’s. It was a very close reach to the tower requiring just two short tacks to round it to port.
Caveat rounded first with Dorado close behind. Thatuna had gradually caught up with Boreas and was just behind at the tower. The two lead boats took off to the left. Joe was skippering Dorado and Daubie was skippering Caveat and they battled it out staying way left as the other two boats took a more direct route back to the entrance to the marina. Boreas and Thatuna were neck-and-neck all the way across the bay on a beam reach going fast.
It turns out that the two lead boats had gone too far left . Boreas was first to pass the breakwater (with inches to spare) with Thatuna close behind, then Caveat and Dorado, still fighting it out. Thatuna, being cautious, dropped their main after rounding the breakwater, but found the wind had let up and so had to raise it agin to get around the fuel dock and stay ahead of Caveat.
Thatuna got into her slip first, but Boreas had further to go to get to her’s and so should be considered the winner (in spite of finding the outboard was down for most of the race). Close behind was Caveat and right behind her was Dorado.
By the time everybody was safely back the wind had died and the sun came out. Several comments where heard that it was the funnest race of the season.