Monday, July 29, 2013

Race Days 6&7

Today I don't have any pictures of sailboats for your viewing pleasure, but I would like to recap the last two races we've had. Saturday July 20th we had a group of three skippers and one crew take out three boats. I played the lazy card and said that I did not want to set up a full course and have to tow a sailboat out. It takes a fair deal of time, and overall does not add much to the experience. I suggested a point to point race and Troy knew of a marker to our north east that would work.
It ended up working out pretty well. With the wind coming from the northeast, it was a good upwind leg that required a few tacks with a nearly dead downwind finish. I got a chance to sail with Mike, our newest member. The wind was strong enough to sail, but light enough to keep up a good conversation. I love meeting new members and seeing them get excited about sailing during a race. After a couple races together we had Mike change boats and sail with Chris as well. It is bittersweet to report, that under Chris's tutelage Mike spanked us, securing his first win.

Skip ahead to this Sunday we had five members show up for the race, so I was feeling less lazy, but I still didn't have a burning desire to get out all the buoys. I suggested we try using the mark from the previous race, then find another piling on the Brownsville side, and I will take out one buoy as a start/finish marker. After a couple of raised eyebrows, I got the go ahead. 
With the wind generally from the south, this arrangement was okay. Our jackrabbit starts were difficult to be precisely lined up, so we would just get close enough. None of the three legs, except maybe the last required tacking to get to the mark, so there wasn't a whole lot of tactical sailing. Not to mention we never clarified where the actual finish line was (my bad!)
With the wind strong and gusty, advantages came down to reading the wind, holding tight when it gusted, and keeping the sails well tuned. With five of us, one had to go solo. I single-handed the first race and found the wind to be a bit overwhelming at times and was constantly dumping wind from the main sail. I also had a bad jibe around the first mark and very nearly capsized, hit the mark, hit Sandy and Mike head-on all in a matter of seconds. I took on a bit of water, but managed to get a hold of everything and continue to race. Needless to say, I was happy to crew for Sandy on the next race. Chris single-handed the rest of the day and was sure giving us all a run for our money.
In the end everyone (except me) gathered a first place finish, but more importantly, had a great time. Today was some of the strongest winds on a pleasant day I've seen in a long time, so we were all grateful for the chance to push each other's limits a bit.