2016 Spring Series #7: March Weather in May

On the one hand it is crazy that we had cold rain and temps in the 50s today.  On the other hand, it is also crazy that this might have been one of the best days we have had all spring!  The weather certainly has been crazy, and once again a group of intrepid sailors made the best of it for a day of river racing.  We had 5 Lightnings, 5 or 6 Albacores, 3 I-20s, a Buc, and a couple of Lasers out on the race course.  PRO Bob Gotthardt and his RC crew did a good job to get us 4 races in a shifty, spotty NE breeze.

I was especially pleased to have my parents out on the race course despite the dreary weather.  My Dad sailed with me on #14592 and my Mom took some great photos from the RC boat!  Scores are posted below, and you can keep reading for some details from my vantage point on Lightning #14592.

Sailing aboard #14592 I was thrilled to have my Dad aboard as well as regular crew Piercarlo.  My Dad got me into sailing and he also used to race a fair amount himself.  He had never raced a Lightning, though, and we only had a little bit of time for a practice set and jibe before the start, so we did a lot of learning by doing as we went through the day.

Sailing up to the course and in the pre-start time before the first race we noticed a lot of right phase in the wind.  We also noticed that pressure seemed to come in shafts down the race course (shafts or different lanes running N-S, not bands that ran across the course) so we figured that finding those patches of pressure would be important.  In the first race we did a good job getting to the top mark near the lead boat (Nabeel, I think) by looking for pressure and shifts all the way up the right side.  We were a bit surprised by a puff on the first reach leg of the O2 course and we lost a number of boats by the time we were able to sort things out with the spinnaker (though we were able to nip No Call No Show at the finish).

Things went much better for us in the next couple of races.  Paying close attention to where the shafts of pressure were on the course (often under/around the bands of clouds that were coming down from the north) was very important.  In race 2 we were a bit behind at the first leeward mark rounding but saw pressure bands out to the right — so we sailed out there, tacked over, and leapfrogged to the front for a bullet.  The right generally paid but there was a big left shift in the 2nd race that we saw as we rounded the leeward mark.  This time we split with the fleet, sailed left into the pressure bands we saw, and once again we leapfrogged a pack to earn another bullet.  Nabeel did a good job pushing us up and out of contention right at the finish in the final drag race (a W1 shortened to finish at the leeward mark).  Overall we were a bit cold and wet, but it was a fun day overall and I was thrilled to have my Dad aboard for some good Lightning racing!

2016 Spring Series #7 – Albacores

2016 Spring Series #7 – I20

2016 Spring Series #7 – Lasers

2016 Spring Series #7 – Lightnings