What a beautiful day for racing!
The winds were from the south between 10 and 15 mph. They oscillated between 180 and 200. Later in the day, they’d occasionally drop down below 10 but then new breeze would roll up the river.
There were 8 Lightnings on the line. Aaron and I had very close racing with us edging him out by a point at the end of the day. On this type of day with moderate & steady breeze and flat water all the boats are very similar in speed. It is very hard to pass and so the start is more important than usual.
Our strategy was to start near the boat so that we’d have the freedom to tack away. The one time we started down the line, we had a very good start but not good enough to cross the fleet on port. Will & Aaron had us pinned. We eventually tacked and swerved hard to duck Will but Aaron had already tacked and led the pack to the windward mark. Nothing we did would reel him in.
After rounding the leeward mark, if we were leading the strategy for staying in the lead was to sail on port all the way to the airport. Simple. (The airport is generally the better side to be on, maybe because of less chop or maybe because the land funnels the wind a bit there. Don’t really know why.) If we were not the lead boat, we had to fight to keep from sailing into the bad air of the lead boat and look for a small header or better breeze on the left before tacking. Then we had to be on the lookout for another header to get back toward the airport. Not so simple but we made it work once.
Downwind we worked hard to get inside rights at the mark. Usually this meant sailing as deep as possible without sailing by the lee. If the spinnaker trimmer is curling the luff, I’m by the lee if the spinnaker clew is to windward of the forestay. For speed downwind, we tried to keep our weight forward to keep the water flowing smoothly off our transom, healed slightly to windward to give the spinnaker as much air as possible, and the board almost all the way up into the trunk to give the boat some leeward helm. But none of that beats getting a good puff!
Fun close racing!
Thanks to Jeff Neurator, Heather Howard, Chris Porter, and Yates for giving us 4 great races. Heather also took some great pics from the signal boat (thanks Heather!). And thanks to Tom Hutton for getting the scores calculated not just for today but for the whole Spring Series.