I am reposting this writeup from Geoff Bishop who finished in 3rd place in the Lightning class. Geoff was sailing with his daughter, Gigi, and son Quentin. This is only their 3rd time out on the Lightning.
Sit still and try to keep moving! It was a fun day on the river but once again not much wind. Sailing out to the course I was pleasantly surprised by a steady breeze but in the end the forecast for light and variable winds held true. The race committee did a phenomenal job setting the marks and a square start line despite early engine problems. Trying to recall the light air sailing lessons we learned last week, our strategy was simply to keep the boat moving. We did our best to start the day’s only race on starboard with speed and footed nicely up the left side of the course. When waves from boat traffic in the channel came by we footed even more in order to keep our boat moving through the chop. Taking those waves head on in this light air would have been deadly. Then the wind died and a breeze filled in on the right side of the course! The boats that went right were heroes! In retrospect the more dependable wind was probably coming down the Anacostia – on the right side of the course – and I made a point of staying right on the next upwind leg. The rest of the race seems a bit of a blur as we sat bobbing up and down, drifting under the blazing sun. Somewhere along the way I recalled the saying: “the first shall be last and the last shall be first.” This thought came to mind right about the time Shadowfax came scooting by us downwind with the spinnaker pulling and passing boats right and left. With patience and perseverance we coaxed our boat forward and on the last downwind leg found a little breath of wind coming off the airport side of the river that we used to generate some momentum around the pin and into the final stretch. The final leg of our race reminded me of rubber duckies floating in a bathtub. We were near a group of about four lightnings just bobbing ever closer to the finish line – and in particular the leeward pin as the current was at least as strong as any “wind.” By sheer luck we bobbed just ahead of Frank and Marianne (we had traded places back and forth with them most of the race) for a third place finish. Not exactly lightning speed, but we’ll take it. Thank you to all who participated –most of the classes had a great turnout – and thank you to the race committee who graciously let us go in early to enjoy the rest of our afternoon on shore