So we left our marina, heading to our friends’ marina in Penetanguishene. They were having their end-of-season party.
Shortly after we cleared the channel our other friends in Cormarant passed the entrance markers and hoisted their sails.
There was a regatta going on in the middle of the bay between where we were and where we wanted to go. The wind, as usual, was on our nose and when it was blowing it was swirling around.
We made the decision to sail around the race. This would give us a reasonable reach and put us further off-shore which usually means less arbitrary wind. I noticed that our friends were scooting along the western side of the race. They seemed to be heading towards a point of land that would necessitate them tacking into the race course.
I privately scoffed their decision, thinking that once I got around the committee boat I could turn up onto a nice close reach and make good way towards the outer harbour.
To my dismay I watched as my friend was able to maintain his tack, hugging the shore and skirting the race. As Cormarant was making good speed and direction, Sea Dragon was left wallowing in the middle of the Bay.
By the time the wind became favourable Cormarant was over a mile ahead and setting herself up for a tack onto a reach towards Penetanguishene.
Although it appeared as though we were way behind the eight ball, I made the decision to see what I could do to at least close the gap between the boats. Rather than follow Cormarant’s route, I set about sailing a saw-tooth pattern with long favourable tacks and shorter unfavourable ones. This made for a bit more work for my crew – but seeing as she has been explaining that this was a better strategy for years: I thought I owed it to her to try it out.
It wasn’t clear if we were making ground until Cormarant missed rounding Sucker Creek Point and had to tack away out into the Bay. We barely made the point and were able to reach out towards Whisky Island and take a decisive lead and ultimate victory – even though at no point did Cormarant and Sea Dragon claim to be racing.
I was pretty chuffed as Cormarant has a much more experienced and skilled skipper and crew, plus she has 4 or 5 feet of waterline in her favour.
We arrived at Bay Moorings and participated in their party – had a great time.
Captain 'High' Liner:
The next day, on our return trip, Cormarant gave me a lesson in light air sailing and handed me my hat.
Great fun, great friends, great weekend.