Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Thursday Night Racing to the End of Summer

Chris at the Helm, Eric looking up trimming the jib, Brian standing by.

Running to the finish line

This time of the summer winds are light near sundown.

Recapping  successfull racing with a 1st and a second for the evening, 3rd race cancelled due to no wind.

Shelter Island Runabout, Great committee Boat for a different set of racers here is one on yachtword: http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1998/Shelter-Island-Runabout-2705631/NY/United-States#.VBXZMPldWSo

On this race night we had a first place then the winds died on the second race but we were in front when they did.

Racing is fun even in light winds especially if your ahead.

Chris is currently in first place for points so he is a Happy camper tonight.

My last race is with Steve and Judith, they are consistently in the top two finishers so I was glad to finally get to race with them and learn their tricks.

We eeeked aout a second place on the first race coming from behind the fleet. Then again the winds died on the second race.

Steve kept saying I think we are going backwards, I was sure we were making forward way by taking a bearing on land, but turns out he was right, we were moving at 0.9 kts backwards, our finish line was at 185! That shows you the influence of the Ebb tide!

Not so bad going backwards.

Thursday Night Racing to the End of Summer

Well I'll have to say I had a great time participating in the Thursday night series races hosted by Windworks. The series is primarily a educational and marketing tool for Windworks members and prospective members. The racing is low key but all who show up want to win. You never know who you will crew with and you only know you will be racing a Capri 22. they have seven in their fleet and usually just 4 make the races. A couple of nights we had enough sailors for 5 boats. Usually 3 are assigned to each boat . We were often able to get in 3 races before dark but as the summer progressed and daylight shorter just two races.
The winds were great through most of the series but near the end you always had enough for the 1st race and dying winds the second. Tide is a huge factor especially when the winds are light. Flood tide runs South and Ebb runs North, the tide is weaker near shore, and depending on the size of the tide change and timing of the tide the difference can be anywhere from 0 - 2 (or more) + or - Kts. in overall speed.
Just as in any group there are the regulars and then the people who just show up once or a few times. You remember the regulars since they are there for the fun, camaraderie, and competition. Several have been racing here for several years. This is a great venue for someone new to the area since you get to meet and crew with so many different sailors. It is also a great learning environment since the whole program is designed for that purpose and what you learn racing you can always use when cruising. 
Even though all the vessels are Capri 22's they are not all alike in the way they are configured or design as some have deeper keels, some shoal draft, some are roller furling jibs some not, some have 100% jibs some 130% or lager. Some are tall rigs, some standard. I learned after just a few races you do Not want the dreaded "Munchkin" with a standard rig, shoal keel and just a 100% jib. No One wins on  Munchkin! Yes I sailed once on Munchkin with Chris and another Chris and we lost all three races. 
The best part of racing is the learning curve. Since every second counts you look to gain an advantage in  way possible. This means using the available wind, tides, favorable tacks, and whatever sailing gear you ave on board to your advantage. Fortunately I was assigned to sail mostly with the leaders in the point system Chris and Brian as well as Eric who leads the Thursday night series. When you are on board with Eric you benefit greatly since he never stops teaching. There two other top sailors in the regular group, Mike and Steve. I finally got to sail with Steve and his wife Judith on my last race. He looks at it all a bit differently but often finishes well. He tends to pinch sailing closer to the wind than most when headed to the weather mark. Also his timing to tack is different, he seems to be pretty good at evaluating just where the best combination of wind and currents will provide an advantage. Each crew gets a equal chance as helmsman but when Steve asked me if I wanted to  take the helm I declined since I just wanted to learn exactly what this man was thinking. We finished 2nd on a come from behind run to the line. We got into a bit of a duel as the lead boat to the weather mark with two other boats and when we all tacked to make the mark we lost the lead and fell to 4th, we managed to catch and pass two making our second place finish. Still plenty of wind for the second race. In this race Mike was well out front and we managed to get to the weather mark just behind the other two Capri's. The wind suddenly died to just a whisper but I was sure we continued to make forward way as I took a bearing on shore and it appeared we were making maybe 1/2 knot we had certainly closed on the two vessels ahead. Steve said he thought we were going backwards, due to the Ebb tide of course. I was not convinced, I studied my bearing and I pretty much confirmed we were just dead in the water and not moving. A glance back though at the mark we had rounded a while back confirmed that Steve was right and we were indeed sailing backwards, I took the above pic of the Garmin and we were actually making 0.9 knots on a course of 353 but our bow was pointed at a course of about 170 degrees!
I was lucky to sail with a couple of the top finishers. Chris placed first, Mike second and Steve Prince third. I think Chris is the only one who sailed in every race so participation as well as finishing well helps to get you to the top of the group in terms of points earned. I did not get a chance to sail with Mike and he definitely seems to be respected as the best sailor in this program. I first met him at the Center for Wooden boats where he is also a long time sail instructor there.

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