Well, Spring Series #3 was certainly far different than the previous week’s “puff and shift festival” (to quote Bobby Astrove). Instead of 15-25 from the east we were greeted with a light and variable wind and plenty of sunshine when we arrived at the marina. At first it looked like the forecast breeze (NE 8-10, shifting to N and then NW) would fill in as predicted. However, the breeze shut down completely as we tried to make it up to the race course, prompting PRO Nich Allen and skiff driver Stew Harris to organize tows up to the course.
After a bit of drifting the RC wisely went into sequence at the first hint of a semi-steady breeze. The W2 course was oriented with the windward mark to the ENE, off Hanes Point and just outside of the channel. The breeze was certainly spotty and shifty, though the boats that favored the left (north) side of the course seemed to catch better air and benefit from some breeze lines that came down from the North. There was no easy path, though, and on board Sinistra in the Lightning fleet we went from mid-fleet to last to first to last to mid-fleet again over the course of the first race. With the puffs filling from the North we didn’t get a true downwind, so there was lots of jib-reaching and jockeying for position to find the side of the course that had breeze.
It was certainly not an easy day to be RC, as the breeze would fill, shift, die, and then fill from another direction. Race 2 was a 1-lap windward-leeward race that started in very little breeze but then saw a NE breeze fill for a bit such that it was a really quick race. As it looked like a stronger northerly breeze would fill in and become consistent the RC quickly got us off on a third race (back to a W2 this time). In what seemed to be a perfect expression of the craziness of the day, we bumped the starting pin on Sinistra and found ourselves last after doing our turn…only to round the windward mark first after finding some breeze on the left (north) edge of the course that we were able to hook into and hang onto for a tight reach, a beat back up to the windward mark, and a reach back down. We were happy to end the day with a bullet, and the RC wisely sent us in to enjoy the rest of the afternoon by the grill as the wind died altogether and we hooked up for a tow back to the marina. All in all, though, a good day on the water!