On Saturday July 7th, I sailed a 7 mile race on the Chesapeake, near Thomas Pt. Light.
Zzgta was one of the participants, tearing things up in his Merit 25.
The start was in very, very light air so the race committee selected the "short" optional course. The temps were also 100F on the water. My crew pounded 2.5 gallons of water and an unknown quantity of Gatorade in 3.5 hours. Whew.
The start was right near the light house. The water was a lumpy, confused mess due to the shallow waters and the constant wakes of passing traffic. It's a popular area to fish and cruise. People love to photograph the lighthouse. Getting the boat moving in 3kts of breeze, through a chop was pretty difficult.
After a mile or so, I observed a windline to stbd and drove towards it to get into ANY kind of breeze. We employed all the common light-air techniques, which have been reinforced by Auspicious Dave, who has recently raced with me.
From there, the breeze slowly built into something useable, but a bit shifty. My GPS track looks like Helen Keller was driving. The water grew much smoother as we put some distance from the lighthouse.
We banged around the marks as quickly as we could, and grabbed a quick sandwich before we rounded the final downwind mark. The spinnaker set went smoothly enough, but my pit man was shy of the max hoist by about 2 feet, and I didn't discover this until nearly the end of the race.
He's new, and I should have double-checked him.
Actually, I had 3 crew who are fairly new to sailing, and for the most part, they did pretty well. We managed to maintain over 5 kts on the downwind leg, in 10-12 kts of breeze.
As we grew closer to the lighthouse, and the finish line, the confused chop was really bad, and shook the hell out of the spinnaker, making trim very difficult. My new guy just didn't have the visual cues he was looking for, but he hung with it as best he could. We crossed the line and had a clean douse.
Ah well. We're still working on our light-air skills. Congratulatory beers were had, and the stereo was put on.
I'll put my GPS track up for kibitzing, later this evening if I get a chance.