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post #46 of Old 08-04-2013
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Re: SMCM Governor's Cup

So...for the B-fleet, here's how it panned out:

As expected, the forecast completely underestimated the intensity of the breeze. That has been true, nearly all summer. This doesn't surprise me, because the Chesapeake is well known for its summer doldrums. This has been a pleasantly odd summer, with fresh breezes and much cooler temperatures.

The breeze started off from due south at 12-15kts true, kicking up a very un-loved chop, but we soldiered on because this is the norm.

The skipper had a thought about staying west, but changed his mind around Bloody Point Lighthouse, so we sailed back east.

We tacked away from Poplar Island, and from that point, the breeze was more SW, and we were able to sail close-hauled or close-reaching all the way down to the Potomac River. The water lay down a good bit, the motion was easy and comfortable. The moon was absent, but the stars and Milky Way were out in all their glory, being far away from light pollution. Shooting stars and luminescent jellies were pleasant companions.

From Point No Point, to Point Lookout, the breeze began to falter a bit, so we played with all kinds of gear to keep the sails powered up and keep the boat moving. We were all starting to get a bit fatigued, and slow to react by this point.

As we sailed into the Potomac, the wind clocked more WSW so any hope of the usual spinnaker finish was put to bed. We had to make a quick stitch around the St. Mary's River channel buoy, and sailed up that river.

One mile from the finish line, as the sky turned pink, the breeze shut down.
There was a large glut of boats all stalled mere yards from the finish line. Our driver managed to find a zephyr and skirted the entire group, finishing on the committee boat end of the line, ahead of nearly a dozen boats.

We finished squarely in the middle of the pack of 17 boats. Respectable, but not outstanding. All boats raced, and there were no "ghosts" on the score sheet.

The "regulars" in the crew worked hard, and all night long as usual. We had a couple of newcomers who ran out of steam and spent a long while crashed out below. Ces't la vie.

We had plenty of good food and beverages for the entire race. St. Mary's College of Maryland welcomed us with open arms. They provide a water-taxi, breakfast, a gorgeous environment to relax in afterwards. Our crew merged with another boat for a grill-up at the college townhouses after the race with delicious sausages, margaritas and dark 'n stormy's. Par-tay.

Alacrity, 1981 Tartan 33 #168
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