I don't discuss my member
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Chesapeake Bay
Thanked 33 Times in 33 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Forecast was for 15-20 out of the E. Sounded great even for a 123nm course with a heading of due south. We get to the starting line and it’s slightly less than forecasted. Like 15 knots less. Creeping out to Tolly point light we search for breeze and actually do quite well. Staying in front of Schiehallion as we rounded the point was a highlight. Breeze slowly filled in and went to the south, just as we turned south. And then it proceeded to stay there for eternity. As if that wasn’t depressing enough, thunderstorms filled in from NW and rolled us for the next 10 hours. Everything gets wet. EVERYTHING.
Pounding into wave after wave wasn’t exactly what the crew had in mind when they signed up for this race. Channel traffic was bad and we even had to crack off from our close hauled course to dodge a cargo ship. Strategy didn’t go as planned; we ended up outside of the channel when we should’ve been in it and vise a versa. We battled on through the night and I was starting to give into fatigue falling asleep on the rail. Crew told me to go below, I wisely listened. Couldn’t sleep and went topside again. The wind built to 15-20+ and we decided to change to the #3, probably a little late, and were making better time again. Couldn’t get the sail flaked on deck, so the wet mess went below decks. That proved to make sleeping a bit more difficult curled up next to a wet Fusion M.
We pounded onward, trying to dodge the big waves and stay powered up through the slop. The sun started to rise and we were passed Tangier Island. The rain had stopped, but I swear I saw a large wooden ship with two of each type of animal onboard wave at us as we passed. The wind started to lighten and the decision was made to go back to the #1. Went forward w/ the sail and hooked up the tack, taking the halyard forward we hit a funky wave, I went for the lifeline, which gave way, and I went over the side in foulies in the southern bay. That was an experience I don’t want to relive. I kicked hard to get above water and made one giant leap for the toe rail near the helm, snagged it, and got my other hand up as one of the crew grabbed my bibs and heave hoed me over the gunnels into the boat. I laughed a bit, continued with the sail change, and then peeled off the wet close. As if the boat couldn’t get anymore wet than it was. Hat sunglasses and cell phone were claimed by the bay, but no sailors on Audrey.
We did find Insolvent near the finish, the wind didn’t help us much, they were high on the mark and were able to set a chute to get them to the York buoy, after that, we stayed close, but not enough to correct in front of them. We’re close and everyone is perked up wanting the agony to end. Rounding the mark, the wind was almost on the nose, still closed hauled, no surprise there. We call on the radio after insolvents hails went un answered, the RC had left the finish line. We crossed the finished and made for HYC.
We arrived to cheering and hails of well done. Good people came down to the dock and brought beer, smiles and handshakes for the crew. Honestly, without a doubt, best part of the entire race. Unfortunately there wasn’t much left of the party, and no food. But we did hang out for a while and talked about the race. Met some nice people from SA. Next year, better tactics, less junk below decks, and hopefully the same crazy crew I had this year.
Results are at Down the bay Race.
Merit 25 # 764 "Audrey"