Satisfied with a Poor Result

Yes I know that the title of this sounds a bit weird but while yesterday’s result was not great it was a most satisfying race. We were beaten across the line by two Etchells and a Robinson 950, these boats flew spinnakers while we did not. To understand the satisfaction of yesterday we need to look at what happened last Wednesday evening’s twilight. Both races were held in similar wind conditions, a nor’easter that was in the generally about 15 knots but had holes down under 10 knots and gusts up around the 30 knot mark.

We started both races with the number 3 jib and a reef in the main, on Wednesday evening I threw away a great start by out thinking myself with strategy, without trying to explain in detail what I did was to go chasing where I thought the best wind would build instead of going to where the wind was. Some of the angles we sailed were not the best either, G-whizz has never been great at sailing down or close to down wind without her symmetrical spinnaker, with the little jib and a reefed main she is bit of a slug square. She will also outpoint just about any boat this side of the outright racers even with a reef in, but she will not point as high as I was trying to sail her on Wednesday evening, I should have been sent to jail for pinching so much. Suffice to say we did not give much trouble to the scorers. While the conditions favored the bigger heavier boats that we race against when we did get thing right we were not that far away on boat speed, better thinking on my behalf would have given a far better result.

I have noticed that while the Number 3 makes life easier to tack and gybe for the head sail sheeters it does require a lot of strength to winch on the last few centimeters to a close hauled position. I think its has something to do with geometry and the relative angles that the sheet exit the head sail traveler cars, when and if I can work it out I’ll write something about it. The bottom line is that it can at times take a bit of time to get back up to a close hauled course after tacking. On Wednesday the Dianne and Ann did a great job working together to complete the tacks, while Chris was outstanding in the difficult conditions on the main.

Yesterday we were again four up with Rob and Ann on head sail duty and Chris again on the main. With only four and the gusty conditions we had no intention of using a spinnaker. Two of the Etchells and Blue Chip the Robinson 950 used their spinnakers to great effect on some if not all of the runs. The satisfaction comes from a couple of sources. The first was the way we sailed the boat, I thought a little more about where we were going and steered her for speed avoiding the temptation to point too high and steering for decent angles on the runs. The second was that for probably the first time Hasta la Vista  did not use one of their spinnakers, so we had a race on equal terms and we were able to beat them across the line. John and I don’t get much opportunity to race each other on equal terms so I’m sure he relished the opportunity as much as I did. There was an amusing bit of banter when we were overtaking Hasta la Vista while rounding Spectacle Island. Barbara on Hasta called out that we should stop passing them, our response was that we would stop passing them if they would stop passing us and just be content to follow us. In hind sight we may have been able to be a bit further ahead if we had shaken the reef out on the first two of the three longish runs, and put it back in on the works, this is what John did on Hasta la Vista, we also may have been able to carry a full main on the second last run to windward, but with all dinghy racing going on in the area it was nice to have a modicum control. The wind was a lot nicer on the last work while not dropping much in general speed it did lack the heavy gusts that we had been experiencing for the earlier parts of the race.

Elan 340 G-whizz

The photo  to the right arrived yesterday from Ian Sanford from the Northshore 38″Tartan” who we race  against in blue division on Wednesdays. I am not too sure where he was when he took this photo but we are in the area between Manns Point and Long Nose Point (Birchgove Point) it is narrowest part of the harbour and is also part of a favorite race area for many dinghy competitions.  There are those that may question why I am steering from the low side, to which I’ll answer that it is something I’ll do for safety when we are on a port tack and sailing through other racing fleets, especially when those fleets are made up of Lasers, Hartley 16s, Cherubs and flying 11s. It can get a bit busy in that part of Western Harbour on a Saturday afternoon. The photo also shows that we had a tad too much twist in the main, a bit more vang or dropping the traveler and pulling on more sheet could have given us a bit more power.