This was our last race for the year.
Forecast conditions one half hour before the race were for light rain, wind speeds light and variable 10 knots or less, building 5 to 15 as a cold front moved through. Waves less than 1 foot.
The race committee set up a 4 leg long course, 6.5 nm. Run, reach, beat, reach.
In these conditions we decided to go with the main full up and the #1.
We were on a port tack while rounding the second mark, the plan was to harden up into the beat and carry the port tack a while. We were half way around the mark when that cold front hit and all hell broke loose. We got slammed by a 35 knot gust, the boat one length in front of us broached, as did we.
We were in sustained winds of 20 knots plus with gusts in excess of 30 for about 20 minutes. The winds diminished slowly through the rest of the race, by the time we got back to the marina they were under 5 knots.
Watch the video of our ride, and then I have several questions.
Relentless, LSSC - Race 12, 2011.avi - YouTube
One of the first things we should have done, I suppose, was to bring those jib cars back twisting off the jib and depowering it. Putting a reef in the main would have been a good idea, but we had a slight problem there; we didn’t have the topping lift on because it beats the crap out of the sail.
So, what do you guys do with the topping lift? Leave it on, quick on/off system, leave it off?
If during a race you find yourself in a situation where you need to reef the main, what is your sequence of events and how long does it take?
It took us a few minutes to get the boat under control, we reefed in the jib to about 100% and just came up in the gusts, but it took us a bit to get our collective poop in a group; we are a rookie crew after all.
The beat leg is our weakest point overall. We tend to point up as close as possible in an effort to straighten out the leg best we can, but I’m beginning to believe this isn’t the best approach. We can come up to between 30 and 35 degrees, but boat speeds are terrible and I’m thinking we need to fall off some for better speed.
So, on a beat, how close to the wind do you guys come; 30 degrees, 40 degrees, 50 degrees…what...and why?