Race Committee set up a windward leeward course (I believe all 2 lap races) and ran a total of 6 races. Although we had a total of 18 competitors for the day, we had as few as 7 and as many 17 scored competitors in any given race. I’ve perceived the wind strength to be fairly steady in the 8 to 11 knots range, primarily southish. Low tide was at 11:20 am and (in my view) was influential in the early races. With high tide scheduled for 5:40 pm, I observed substantial current flowing north (upriver) for the first 3 or 4 races.
My first several starts I was too far from the line and had to work my way up the fleet during the first windward leg. For the first race most of the fleet went left/east and I was able to consolidate by going right/west. I think I experienced far less current by being further away from the channel along the eastern shore. Upwind I focused on boat speed by continuously easing/sheeting my mainsheet to determine what my pointing angle would be. I took boat speed over pointing and was able to steadily progress out of my mediocre starts, particularly on the full upwind leg (after the first leeward rounding). This ranged from 2-block to probably 4 to 6 inches of ease between the blocks. I didn’t feel the need for vang and primarily only used it if I was having trouble keeping the boom on the corner of the boat. Cunningham was typically tightened to help reduced any significant wrinkles and I eased the outhaul if I felt sluggish in any chop/waves. If I was ever directly behind someone I either tacked for clear air and headed to a side of the coarse with less boats or if a shift dictated that I should continue sailing with a pack I performed two quick tacks just to get out from underneath someone (most often shortly after rounding the leeward mark). Due to the current flowing north, I think more and more sailors chose to go right/east as the day went on. However, current began to die down the last race or two and the wind had several significant shifts to the right/southwest. I think many people got caught going too far right, especially after the first leeward rounding and ending up overstanding the windward mark and sailing a longer distance.
I tended to sail fairly straight to the leeward mark, but definitely attempted to fend off boats astern of me by sailing by the lee hoping I could avoid providing mark room to inside overlapped boats. I saw Len sail both extremely by the lee, carving hard to the west to secure the inside lane and rounding rights, as well as passing folks on the outside. Tyler also had a great leeward run by sailing by the lee and getting an inside lane. Since current was substantially flowing north I would have thought the outside lane / east would have paid. As soon as I rounded the windward mark, in addition to pulling the board up, I eased cunningham and outhaul. And I mean make sure the cunningham is all the way off (after uncleating the line, I would physically pull any tension out of the purchase and slide the sail up the mast). My experience is that there should be zero cunningham for any reaching or downwind sailing using the Mk 2 sails. I suppose you could use some if you are hanging on for dear life. I would also tweak the vang so that the top batten was roughly parallel to the boom.
One of my worst races I fouled Nabeel at the windward mark. My last race, I felt like I finally got a descent start with clear air (especially after Len graciously took a detour), and I got a second. So yeah, do good not evil.