Thursday, December 13, 2007

Racing in the Harbour - No DNF's for the Proud Crew

The race this Wednesday brought the prospect of a better result owing to the 15-20 knot winds and our very impressive handicap. "Money in the bank" is used to caution one against sailing too close to a mark given the tricky vector-addition involved with leeway and tidal currents but in our case it might refer to our handicap being so low after some light wind in previous races. In this "fresh breeze" we anticipated the boat handling better and the possibility of finishing in the mix.
There were over 100 boats lined up for the various starts. The starts are staggered by 5 minutes but still the "start box" is usually a cauldron of boats maneuvering for position. The pic above doesn't do it justice.
And we're off, a bit behind but close enough to see the competition heeling on a close haul as "puffs" brought accelerations. There was also a big jellyfish spotted by Geoff. After the penguin sighting two weeks ago the other crew members are keen to point out anything living to me (and I'm happy to hear it) but it seems to me that there were a few phantom penguins last night ;).
A motor-boat.
B. tending the sheets.
G. tending a beer. (He was "rail meat" for the night - next time I think it's my turn.) We were in close contention for 2nd to last (and hopes were high for overtaking a boat on the reaching course ahead) when we rounded a buoy and, wham, the sail ripped in half during a gybe! Note: Normally you would not be able to see J.'s upper body in the above photo ;).
We secured the boom, pulled in the torn sheet and settled in for a nice long sail in on our genoa alone. Due to the high winds we still made good time and even J. consulted the "drinks management officer" (photos on request).
We passed the finish line a good half hour before the end and even made it to the awards ceremony where the RYC Commodore (to the left above) gave out awards and prizes (boat cleaner, lots of booze, and a pile of meat, no kidding). We left prizeless, but I agree with the Hot Prospect captain and crew - avoiding a DNF is priceless.

1 comment:

roy said...

You seem to be getting quite a bit of sailing experience! If you can check yourself out with some sailing acumen tests with companies that rent sailboats in the BVIs, you can realize one of your vacation dreams. :)