Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Season Finale

Going into today I was very optimistic that we would have a very good race considering our last two efforts were stellar. From the stand point of crew and working together, it was stellar. From a technical standpoint it was far from our best race. While sailing out to the line with the main up I felt I was fighting the boat. The winds were projected at 15 knots, I played conservative and had the crew tune for 6-9 knots. I just checked the actual numbers and the average wind speed over the course of the race was about 4.9 knots. This confirms my suspicion that we were overtuned. When I got to the dock this morning the winds were just picking up and a big cell was moving in. I thought the forecast was spot on for what I was seeing.

From a tactic point of view there were a few situations we should have played better today and cost us quite a bit of time. Unfortunately it was one of those situations that once we realized the problem it was too late and very hard to get out of it. We had a boat leebow us at one point on the upwind leg and our immediate response should have been tack away. I footed off to gain speed and avoid shadow but the boat stuck with us as the wind changed. By the time it was critical for us to tack away we could not, so we had to ride it out. At the mark rounding we clearly had overlap at the two boat circle but the boat to leeward did not agree and it took quite a bit of shouting for bouy room to convince the boat ahead to give us room. We finally squeezed in around the pin just shy of having to tack to avoid hitting the pin.

On the downwind we were caught in a bit of a hole until the weather decided to settle. Once it did we again were caught in shadow from other boats. I made the decision to gybe away for clean air and we broke free. We managed to get to the leeward mark roughly at the same point as the boat that failed to give us bouy room. They were slightly ahead of us and putting their jib up in preparation for the gybe around the mark. We raised our jib but did not drop the spinnaker yet. We gambled and it payed off. We managed to squeak around the mark quicker then they did and with clean air made a break for the finish line.

Overall we did not place high in the finishing order but it was a good race. The crew worked very good together. It is very apparent that they are really finding their groove!

My sincerest thanks this year to the crew of Gray Jay. It has been a pleasure sailing this season with you all and I am looking very forward to the next season. Next year is our year as a crew and boat.

Thank you.

The Skip.

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