[Public-List] FW: Raced last night...

Gordon Laco via Public-List public-list at lists.alberg30.org
Sun Jun 14 14:51:15 PDT 2015

And last Wednesday¹s heavy air race, as reported last Thursday....

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From: Gordon Laco <mainstay at csolve.net>
Date: Thu, 11 Jun 2015 11:40:36 -0400
To: Public-List <public-list-bounces at lists.alberg30.org>
Conversation: Raced last night...
Subject: Raced last night...

Hello there - 

We raced SURPRISE last night... A series of terrific thunderstorms with
their squalls swept through here in the afternoon, but the weather radar
showed no more coming so out we went.

The wind was solid 25knts gusting higher as we motored out.  I turned
SURPRISE head to wind in the lee of some trees and we snapped in a reef in
the main.  Before we left the jetty we changed headsails from our genoa to
our jib (which we¹d never used).

Once the main was up with it¹s reefs in, a process which took only seconds,
we switched off the engine and broad reached away to the east where the
start of the race was to form up.  Once we unfurled the tall narrow jib, our
boat speed shot up to 8 knots and I could tell that the single reef in the
main wasn¹t going to be enough when we tried sailing upwind.  Halfway out to
the start we rounded up and hove to, stopping the boat while we pulled down
the second reef.  Because two reefs leaves a lot of loose sail under the
boom (this is called the Œbunt¹ of the sail) we very loosely tied in two
reef points in the middle fo the bunt to hold it up close to the boom.  We
made certain that neither point was tied so tightly that it pulled at all on
the working part of the sail.  This is important so as to prevent damage...
Points are not made to take any load...they¹re just for tidying up.

We were only stopped for few minutes, once the guys were back in the cockpit
we tacked the jib, got some headway on, then tacked the boat and started
galloping toward the start again... Even with only handkerchief of main
showing, we still plowed along at maximum speed.  SURPRISE was tucked down
deep between her bow and stern waves charging along.  She had breaking
quarter waves on either side of the stern ­ the sound and look of them were
dramatic.   The steering was stiff from the power of the water sliding past
but our directional stability was very good.  We were well balanced under
the jib and double reefed main, although our sheeting on the jib was not
good, the most forward end our rail track being too far aft for the sail.
The inside tracks would have been better, but I¹d taken those sheet cars off
and remounted them on the rail tracks where they normally do duty barber
hauling the genoa sheet when reaching in light air.... Oh well.

One of the Sharks in the fleet broke its rudder and had to retire... Our
arch rival SUNDANCER came to their rescue to tow them in and that eliminated
them from the coming battle...rats.  Coping with the high speed traffic
around the committee boat required a lot of attention, particularly as one A
Fleet boat, the C&C 36 THE PERK (which because of the nature of the graphics
by which her name is applied is called by all ŒThe Pork¹) was barely under
control.      They¹d tied a very loose reef in their main resulting in a
baggy sail, and had rolled up half of their genny also resulting in a baggy
sail ­ the two together making her wilder to manage than if they hadn¹t
reefed at all.  We laughed that once the start came that would be a relief
because the traffic would be all going the same direction.

In due course A fleet started... Then we in B.   On the first beat to
windward our diminished fleet strung out in the first minutes into an order
that didn¹t change over the whole race.  SURPRISE finished second to a CS27
she¹s an annoying and perplexing boat in that she¹s either first or last but
never anything in between.  We haven¹t seen a pattern yet...

We found that while double reefed in the very heavy air,  playing the
mainsheet to keep SURPRISE on her feet in gusts had a very detrimental
effect on speed and pointing.  We found that easing the main caused her head
to fall off (the wind was over 35 in the puffs) and I was fighting to keep
her at her work.  We found it was better to feather up in the puffs thereby
maintaining sail balance without loads of helm up or down... And we actually
stole a few meters upwind every time we got clobbered.    The double reefed
main was so flat that it coped with feathering up without complaint.
Interesting, that.  As things turned out, I¹ve never seen SURPRISE maintain
such high sustained speeds to windward as she did last night.

By the end of the race we¹d shaken out both reefs and stampeded over the
finish in normal heavy air.  Nothing broke, nobody got hurt, and we had no
close calls with a MOB (man overboard) until one of my guys nearly went over
backwards while putting the cover on the mainsail about 200 meters from the
entrance to the club.

What a night.

Gord #426 Surprise
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