Sunday, September 25, 2005

Surprise, Surprise.

Forecast can often be wrong. Today was a perfect example...again. Winds were forecasted 15-20 knots. When I took my first outside weather check before heading down to the boat there were very light winds and haze or fog; A definite indication of no wind movement.

I had undertuned the rig in the last race and was determined not to undertune this time. So given the indicated 20 kt winds I maxed out the tension. What I thought would be building winds over the course of the day turned out to be dying winds. Halfway through the first downwind leg the wind dropped off completely.

The overall race was good, except for a few surprises along the way. The first surprise was the wind, the second came at the start. The fleet was unusually thin today and the Race Committee condensed the 3rd and 4th divisions together. I am not sure how the RC communicated to the fleet that the divisions were condensed. It could have been the VHF but we did not have any relevant chatter on the radio prior to the race. I have some emails out to confirm the process and see it does not catch us by surprise again.

The other surprise was the finish. Usually a shortened race ends at the next pin. The committee boat, during the bobbing show that was taking place, pulled anchor and dropped anchor at what appeared to be mark number 1 which was the next upwind mark. Turns out it was halfway up the leg and another boat (from the fleet) was the pin. It created quite a bit of confusion. I recall hearing loud shouting mixed with horns from the boats ahead but I was not ready for the configuration of the line. On the final approach I took the opportunity to pass 2 boats to the windward assuming the committee boat I was heading for was the mark with the pin just beside it. The leeward boats squeezed me up to high and I was forced to duck and foot to keep speed and pass to leeward. I then had to make a correcting tack to get me high enough to cross the line when I realized the pin was the other boat.

All in all a good race but would have liked a bit more wind.(see race notes).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a farce the weather forecast was. Not only was there a small craft warning posted ie winds 20 knots plus but also a small craft thunderstorm warning!!! Might well have contributed to a low turnout.

And talking of farce..what's with that coommittee boat for heavens sake???

10:56 AM  
Blogger the skip said...

Thanks anonymous for the first posted comment to the site. Appreciate the feedback.

I had done only a quick weather check on Sunday Morning...not my usual 3-4 day tracking. I also had assumed the winds were going to be stronger based on Saturday's performance and the tail end of Rita coming in. Go figure.

Not sure of the committee boat performance. The wind was picking up and they could have extended the race to the next bouy. I am not ruling out my carelessness to monitor the VHF more closely. It will be a priority in the future to ensure it is on and tuned to the right station. The problem is that the Comittee boat never broadcasts on the radio! Visual flags are the best we get...aparently a problem with overlap from port credit club signal??

They were within their right to shorten the course but think they went a little to far with the boat instead of a bright orange inflatable bouy that should have served as a marker.

11:23 AM  

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