Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Race

It's been a slow spring on Shields 88; even though she's been in the water since April our total sailing days have hovered right around the zero (0) mark until this weekend. We finally made it out for our first sail, which was the Memorial Day Regatta.

It was a pretty gray day, temps in the low 60's and aforecast that called for anything from 0-18kts out of... somewhere. For crew it was Niki, me, Katie, Craig C and Dave A.

On the way out we sailed past CMRC's first regatta, in which Jacob was winning me a bet by placing in the top half in their first regatta. A friend in the Etchells fleet owes me some candy, thanks J! We set a kite, which quickly drained of the several gallons of water it'd accumulated in the spring storms (it's good to sit in the back)

First race it was blowing around 12kts out of the S, and the RC adjusted the line with a bit of a postponement for the J111's. Thats right J111's! We now have what is truly a huge spread of speeds on our 1d circle, with J111's, 105's B367's, T10's as well as the usual one designs. It's a bit of an experiment, and I have to say the first experience wasn't as bad as it could be. We'll see how it goes as the season moves on.

For our start we wanted the boat, and for some reason I thought Lu Han driving 196 was going to engage us a bit, so we were pretty aggressive opening a hole between 63 and 45. The white boat ended up at the pin and we won the boat pretty handily, with 45 tucked in right behind. Our speed was _really_ good in the light stuff we usually struggle in, and I'm hoping that the latest fix to our problem child 08 main is doing the trick. As we approached the top mark the wind dropped to around 5kts, and we noticed the RC boat spinning around the offset mark. As we rounded and set it seemed like they had a mark missing flag, which we debated for a couple minutes until we noticed every other boat behind us going around the RC boat as if they were a mark. D'oh! We dropped kite and sailed back to round the RC, seeing our big lead turn into 4th place as the wind dropped out.

Our plan was to pick off Lu in 3rd, and then work on the other 2 boats. We heated up for some speed, and when they matched our angle gybed over the top of them and pulled away with their air. 63 was next, but while they matched our angle and speed I think they had eyes on us and not on the GIANT J111 kite that ended up stealing all their air. With only 45 left we played the up/down game with them, staying hot when they were low, then soaking down to them when they went up. We got over them just as another J111 took their air. It was instant death to have a j111 over you, so doing whatever it took to get away from them was the name of the game. We were pretty pleased to have recovered from such a giant mistake and clawed back into 1st for the bullet.

Next race was called off at the top mark. While its never fun to abandon a race you're winning the RC made the absolute right call as the rain came in about 2 minutes later with some giant shifts, fog and a weird inversion layer which had us smelling diesel despite not having any motor boats within a mile! Weird day weather wise.

Really pleased to be sailing again, as we've been super busy with house stuff, plus my spring rush at work.

A couple notes on tune:

new headstay this year which should allow for easier calibration. We started at ~49", then lengthened to 49.5. Both were fast. Uppers were 800 lowers 300. Main recut flies the top tell a lot easier, which pays in light air, have to see if we're too open in chop and breeze.

Played with weight a bit more in the light and choppy. Really like having leeward heel downwind in the super light and choppy, but the second theres enough breeze to sail flat I found it fast to have everyone low, amidships but spread out side to side.

Interesting note was watching 45, who managed to sail an entire beat in our bad air, but did so loosing only about 5 lengths from the start. No idea what the heck happened there but good on them for pulling it off! It was perhaps not the best tactics to do exactly what we did 10 seconds later every time, but there bad air ability is impressvie.

Hoping to sail wednesday, and get some baots out for tuning.