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BubbleheadMd 07-21-2013 03:37 PM

EYC's Solomons Invitational Race
I'm just putting it up here:

This is a Chesapeake Bay overnight race that simply doesn't get enough good exposure. It's the "feeder race" for the better-known Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge regatta in Solomon's Maryland.

The race starts just off of the Eastport Yacht Club at around 7pm, and finishes in Solomons, Md. (obvious enough, I guess)

The after-party is decent, Solomons is scenic and fun. The race isn't terribly long at 45 miles on the rhumb line. The entry fee is affordable. It's a good, intermediate race for people who are learning, or can't commit to longer slogs like Down the Bay, or even Governor's Cup. There's usually around 100 boats or more, that participate. Even if you're not a die-hard racer, the non-spin class is pretty lively.

This was my 3rd year doing it, and I'll be back. I'll bump this thread in a year to try to generate some interest.

Michael K 07-21-2013 04:23 PM

Re: EYC's Solomons Invitational Race
I heard from another participant you had really good wind for much of the race. I imagine that wasn't necessarily the case once you turned into the river. Why not give a brief description of your own experience?

BubbleheadMd 07-23-2013 12:47 PM

Re: EYC's Solomons Invitational Race
We hit the starting line with a decent start in light air that built steadily through the night as we drove south.

Somewhere down by the Choptank River, I determined that I was overpowered with a full main and 155% genoa, so I called for a reef. My boat responds better to a reef first, then stepping down a headsail size.

We continued the rest of the race, borderline overpowered as the wind varied between 15 and 20 knots. Apparently one competitor reported gusts to 25kts, but I don't have wind instruments.

At 10pm, the current was foul, so we took to the shallows of the Eastern Shore to minimize the effect.

With wind from the SW, We only tacked twice the whole way down the bay.
When we rounded R76 off of the Patuxent River, we were sailing directly upwind, and made several tacks to get to the finish line.

We dodged a tugboat with tow on our approach to the Pax River. The current into the river was foul, so we lost some speed, but our tacking angles were very good.

We crossed the finish line over 5 hours faster than last year's race, so we finished in the dark. The wind never slackened until well after sunrise.

The Bay chop was atrocious. After the moon set around 3 or 4am, we were in near total darkness, so I had difficulty steering around the worst of the troughs and we took quite a beating.

Cap'n Russ 07-26-2013 04:40 PM

Re: EYC's Solomons Invitational Race
At least you had wind. I crewed in last year's race and we were begging for more wind the entire way down and then lost all wind within sight of the finish line and had to retire.

BubbleheadMd 07-27-2013 10:33 AM

Re: EYC's Solomons Invitational Race

Originally Posted by Cap'n Russ (Post 1065145)
At least you had wind. I crewed in last year's race and we were begging for more wind the entire way down and then lost all wind within sight of the finish line and had to retire.

I remember last year's race very well. Like you, the door tried to slam in our face one mile from the finish line. We drifted and tweaked the sails, trying every super-light-air-trick I know of.

At about 1/2 mile from the line, a light breeze filled in from behind. We popped the spinnaker and crossed the line at 6 knots before it died. We finished 8th of 12 last year.

...and it was hot that morning. This year was much better.

Cap'n Russ 07-28-2013 06:11 PM

Re: EYC's Solomons Invitational Race
Yep, last year was not much fun. We ended up hugging the Eastern Shore which led to a 2 2 am tangle with a fish trap whilst I was on helm watch. Thankfully, I was able to squeeze the boat between two of the poles and we didn't catch anything with our keel. A slightly bent bimini rail was the only casualty. The wind died as we just reached the mouth of the river. We tried every trick but all we did was drift. About an hour later, and after drifting in a complete 360 we had had enough fun and through in the towel.

Glad you guys had a good run this year. Hope we have equally good weather for the Governor's Cup!

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