Friday, July 12, 2013

First Race – We didn’t get our butts kicked, but — Friday, July 12, 2013 – Last night was our first race.  Tony crewed. We learned a lot, probably won’t learn that much again.  The wind was from the north and west, about 4 to 10 knots and frequently changed directions by 90 degrees or so.

·  The boat sails really well.  It can be fast.  Has too much weather helm—probably poor sail trimming and the forestay tension isn’t quite right—will need some tuning. Very surprised that on the beats we could keep up with the Lasers.  We could be faster if the boat didn’t have to fight its own rudder as it tries to round up.

·  We are old and the boat is small.  Our knees are killing us this morning.  The boom is low—we both got bonked once or twice. We will be getting knee pads.  After a few tacks, we got the hang of moving over and ducking—but

·  The tiller is too darn long.  Several times it got caught on my life jacket.  I am going to cut off eight inches.  And, the hiking stick is too long.  Will be ordering a telescoping model.  Getting caught on the jacket caused a major screw up in each of the two races--complete with round ups and unplanned tacks and jibes.  But we did discover the boat is very seaworthy and a little bit forgiving.  No actual water came over the rail that was touching the surface.  (I am guessing that the too-long tiller and hiking stick had to do with single handing by the owner who added the racing gear.)

·  Tony is a gamer—he trusted me that we weren’t in trouble even though the boat was in control instead of us for about a minute.

·  The boat is competitive.  Until I screwed up, we stayed right with an experienced crew in a similar size boat. We even gained on them during the downwind leg.  I did tend to sail too far away from the course to the mark.  Two times we tacked for the line and the wind shifted so we had to add a couple of extra tacks.

·  We need a spinnaker pole to wing out the jib.

·  We need lots more practice.  The hot 420 sailor who single hands with a spinnaker wasn’t out there last night—when he shows up we probably won’t feel so swell.  Our starts were fairly competitive.  (I realized why the Lasers don’t bother with a lot of starting hoo-ha—they don’t need to—their boats accelerate like sports cars.  They can just sit on the line and go for it.)

Results: 2nd of three boats in two races.  Learned a lot.  Skipped the third race—had beer—debriefed—enjoyed the whole evening thoroughly—will be interesting to see the time corrections applied  I suspect that we owe the first place finisher a few seconds of time.  We both look forward to next week.

Perfect conditions for our first race.  Sunny and light winds varying to ten knots later.  Enough wind to go fast, but not so much that we needed lots of seamanship skills.

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