First, I would like to thank Brian and his daughter, Thea, on Race Committee, as well all the other behind the scenes organizers to the fleet. It was a tough day to be RC, given the velocity and directional shifts of the day. We saw 0 to 13 knots, oscillating from S by W to South with races 5 and 6 going S by E 3 times from south in the heavier puffs. That’s about a 25-degree oscillation.
The boat end was favored for the first 4 races, races 3 and 4 very heavily boat end favored, in 5 and 6 as the breeze came up it shifted left to S by E, this made the line more square. Current was high around noon, we had a strong ebb or south flow all day, this meant extra space to leeward of the start line and not to set up with no hole at the boat since it would be closed, aka 2 nd row.
Some pre-race thoughts:
- Ebb current direction with a south breeze, I think about the adjusted apparent wind angle upwind. This will artificially make me think I am always headed since the current push is decreasing the apparent wind angle. This is on both tacks, yesterday more on the port tack.
- Given the current direction there was no “lee bow “affect downwind, just long slow fight the current runs.
- Rounding the leeward mark needs extra room not to hit it, the lighter the air the more room needed.
- Windward mark layline can be short tacked since current will assist making the layline.
- Cross the current in the puffs and stem into current in the lulls, tough to do on the run.
- In super light air never be further than 3 boat lengths past either end of the start line.
Starting approach was to get off the line clean and fast, even if that meant not at the most favored end but free of traffic and with clear air, more of a conservative approach.
On one downwind legs approaching the leeward mark I had 2 boats inside and overlapped, and 3 boats overlapped to my right outside of me. All on port jibe. I set up to carry the 2 boats inside me up to just before entering the 3-boat length circle when I jibed to break overlap and as I entered the 3-boat length circle. First, when jibing or tacking outside the circle breaks the overlap, second, I had positioned the jibe so that I was clear ahead on starboard while the 2 inside boats were on port still, this occurred as I entered the circle. I communicated to the 2 inside boats, that they no longer had room. This is a textbook maneuver to be expected, I am hopeful the 2 boats inside take away this experience to anticipate next time.
I learned a rather large lesson that cost me a 1st to 5th place finish in Race 3. In race 3 I rounded the leeward mark in first place and proceeded up the right side to the weather mark, when I heard Farley get the horn, I unwound myself to finish 5th . I had lost track of the race legs and thought it was the second beat. I was focused on the breeze between myself and the windward mark. Perfect example of sailing with my head too much in the boat.
Dave Coughlin, Sail number # 116366