For openers, there was little bit more breeze than typical and from a different direction than usual as well. Also for the first time this spring the race committee gave us a course other than course two. This meant the long course with an offset mark. As is becoming the norm for Wednesday night it was just Jeff, Cameron, and I. I keep inviting folks to come play, but nobody ever does.
We watched the first two starts, including a very interesting Columbia 5.5 start in which at least two boats were over early, but since the committee didn't call it only Kevin turned back while Adam kept going. As for our start, it was my turn to drive and boy did I stuff it up badly. We got a little too far down the line and I had to turn down to kill speed and as result kind of got us pinned up against the shore right after the gun. This resulted in a huge duck of a starboard tacker on the way back out.
Of course this allowed our main competition to get away from us. Usually we get a good start and hold these guys off for a while. Not this time though. We had an ok first beat and came into the top mark to do a rare, for the Estuary, bear away set. Unfortunately we had all kinds of problems on the set as the spin halyard jumped the shieve, and we tore the kite on the way up.
A no wake buoy is the weather mark!
So now we are sailing with a big hole in the kite and a long way back from our principle competition. It could have been worse I suppose, one of our competitors missed the wind shift, gybe-set, and then had to crash gybe right away to get away from the shore. I figured that the kite would hold up for the run, but had forgotten about the fact that we would have to head up quite a bit to clear the restricted start-finish line after the offset mark. We also had the issue of whether the kite would come down or not?
Jeff trimming the kite.
As it turns out we got one out of the two. The kite held, but the halyard didn't come down as we rounded and headed to a wingmark across the Estuary. With Jeff and I both pulling on the thing we got it down far enough to unclip the sail, but the halyard is still jammed in the shieve. I was feeling kind of bummed that the boat had not been set up right and told those guys that if they wanted to bail it was ok with me. Both of them said they were cool with carrying on as we had enough beer and good enough wind.
Cameron, beer and tiller in hand.
For the second upwind rounding we dropped the jib, untied the halyard that was on the roller furling swivel, and tied that to our back up kite. The back up kite is the original HONEYBEAR kite that came with the boat.
It's a very pridefull red, orange, yellow, and blue affair that was probably built during the last days of the Ford administration. Still it did what it was supposed to and got us around the course ok. In some ways we might sail better with the honeybear kite as we are all so busy not looking at other boats to hide our shame that we might concentrate more on our own sailing.
Two old tired sails.
After an early drop, untie of halyard, re-tie halyard to jib, hoist jib rounding we finally finished the race. Despite all of these and some other problems, such as a broken tiller extension, a slipping too small jib halyard, and some horrible rig tune issues. I don't think that Jeff, Cameron, and I ever stopped laughing the whole time. It was actually one of the more fun races I have done in a while. Mostly because of the attitudes of the two guys I was sailing with. We were just happy to be out there sailing, racing, drinking beer, and talking shit.
We ended up sixth for the race, by far our worst result of the year. It's funny to hear the guys on the Islander 36 who have been winning the races talk in the bar. They get horrible starts, their sails and boat handling are average at best, and they sail with a dirty bottom. Yet because they are by the far the biggest boat in our fleet they soon pass everyone and sail away to the win. But to hear them talk about it it is all because they are sailing better than everyone else. But, whatever, it will give us motivation to get the boat sorted out better and go out and beat them.