This week Tom got 3rd place. But since he volunteered to head in early and get the 19 to tow in the 17 (due to engine issues), I decided that I would do a 1st place write up to mix it up.
So we had a forecast on sunday of 5-10 from the NW shifting to SW sometime after noon. What with the lay of the land and the obnoxiousness of the front, we pretty much had both at the same time. It never filled in fully from the SW, but we had consistent oscillations to the west all day, and that was also where the pressure was better. So staying west generally paid off.
For most of the starts the line was square at some point in the sequence, but we got a lot of last minute westerly shifts which favored the port end. So I managed to get a couple really nice port tack starts. The current was around, but it never seemed to be a big deal this weekend.
At the start and on the first beat, when I had clear air I did well, and when I did not, it was awful. In the light conditions I found that disturbed air from boats to weather extend 6 or 8 boat lengths downwind. I think I paid more attention to clear air than even to the shifts. On the other hand, the shifts were big enough, and the course short enough, that tacking right away on the 10+ degree shifts made a big difference.
Finally, this was my best performance of the season, and I still placed third! I am still figuring out the leeward legs and the last mark rounding clearly has it in for me.
Hangover Regatta this year was a little wet and cold but still 11 boats persevered!
I was afraid going into the last race yesterday that this might be my fate.
Well actually I was pretty pleased.
Arriving at the dock at 11, it looked the westerly breeze had nearly died. As we got out to the race course, the northerly shift arrived and started filling in. In the first 2 1/2 races, the right side was strongly favored. In the first three races I got out to the right early, and was at or near the front at the first mark each race. The wind started shifting left in the middle of the third race and several boats who took the chance did well.
The wind shifted fairly strongly to the left at the end of the race, leaving the starting pin strongly favored. So I worked hard to get port tack starts for the last three races. In races 4 and 6 I missed the front hole, and had to cross some sterns. I was actually over early in race 4, and went around the pin, but was able to find a nice lane and clear air. In race 5, I was right on the line, and only “let” Tom pass me at the last leward mark. I still haven’t figured out how to do everything one needs to do down there.
Best thing on the day for me was being able to see where the wind was and get there. Worst thing is still that leward mark rounding.
Thanks to Farley for doing RC solo.
John Van Voorhis
Photo Credit to Kaitlyn Lucey
Thanks to Jim Klein for providing a seamless solo RC experience.
Third Place Write Up (Jim Klein) 11/22/2020
Thank you Tom Hutton doing the RC for us on this first week of our frostbite series. Despite being alone in the RC boat you managed to give us Olympic, WL and Triangle races to keep things interesting, as well as maintaining a square start line.
My boat was set up the following way:
Vang: On fairly tight upwind, but not so tight that I had to worry about hitting my head on the boom during tacks. Offwind pretty far off, but always cleated down. You don’t want to have the vang completely loose or else the whole sail structure is loose, moves around too much, and generally sucks up energy of the boat rocking back and forth. Rather, you want that rocking energy to be translated to forward motion. Think rigidity in the whole boat/mast/sail structure.
Outhaul: About 4” off the boom at mid point.
Cunningham: Off and completely loose.
Mainsheet: Two blocked upwind during the windier times, else about 5” between the aft blocks.
Starts: No one side was favored enough to attempt starting on that particular side. I felt it was more important just to have good speed at the gun. I would often try to start on port and in the last 20 seconds or so, look for a hole in the fleet so I could tack and be on starboard tack at the gun. But this did not always work out so well; in one race, I could not find any hole and had to let the entire fleet cross the line before I squeezed in finally at the boat end. Interestingly, that was the one race where I went out way to the right (on port tack) and somehow got some favorable wind so that I could pass just about the whole fleet by the windward mark. That was more luck than planning. The first 15 seconds after the gun are critical for you to get out in front as much as you can. This is no time to be playing with sail controls, but rather to be focused completely on getting ahead of those around you.
Upwind: In the first several races I had a helmet on (and covid mask), and it was preventing me from feeling the wind shifts. Then I took all those off and did better because I could feel the wind better with my head and face. I would tack pretty often when I detected a wind shift. I tried to be careful never to let the mast come beyond 90 degrees to the water. That meant moving around a lot on the boat.
Downwind: I tried to keep air flowing over my sail, even if that meant sailing in more of an “S” shape path rather than a straight line to the mark. That means, when the wind dies off, try to head up a bit from a run to a broad reach, and focus on keeping the air attached to your sail and telltales flying back. Then if the wind would come back in strength, I would again go back to a dead run. In some cases, it was very advantageous to sail by the lee. I also tried as much as possible to get my weight all the way forward and to heel the boat so the sail sticks up in the air as much as possible.