2016 John Mclaughlin Cat Memorial Race Wrap Up
Saturdays race was WRCRA start line to Thomas Point (leave to starboard), continue to R88 (easter shore, south of the bay bridge a few miles), back to Thomas Point, back to R88, then to home. Erin’s gps logged 43miles sailed on this course. The start was delayed by an hour and a half to let a heavy rain band blow through, though in hindsight this may not have been the exact right call, at least for us it wasn’t as we found a big wind hole on the final run back to west river which dropped us from 2nd over the line to 3rd over the line. Jahn and Steve lit it up coming off the line and made a mad dash for Thomas Point, we were giving good chase considering it was Erins first distance race, really first time grinding main from the wire, and I made some bad boat setup changes from Nationals (dropping mast back anticipating more wind than there was). A giant rain squall came in at one point before we got to Thomas Point, it almost disappeared in the near white out conditions. Fortunately it got more pleasant after that, the sea state was relatively flat though the occasional roller would come through and I was glad we had the long boards as I watched the boats behind us just park. We managed a solid run up to R88, then a kite up, both sitting on the hulls to Thomas point. I was grinding main hard downwind to keep the hull flying and working it deeper with same speed as everyone else (except Steve and Jahn who were still launched, barely visible on the horizon). Erin was pretty pooped, it may have been faster wire running but with her arms already extended 6″ I didn’t want to risk it, and really only in the puffs was it worth it. Second upwind leg we left Thomas Point, went out into the bay, then basically nailed the layline, had to work up in the puffs. It was single wire trap conditions at this point, with both of us on the hull in the lulls. Erin was happy for the break and me to take the main at this point (and I was happy it was on a 10:1 purchase!!). We had a very good second downwind run, even more main grinding and hull flying, catching Jahn and Steve, until my going deeper method sailed us right into a hole at Thomas Point, then I made a decent call to Gybe in but should have gybed right back out once we hit the pressure. Instead we kept going to basically the mouth of the south river, sailing into the fog, only 1 GPS working and telling me to go further south (should have listened!). We were drifting a bit in light air and my headache from earlier in the day was coming back as I tried hard to keep the boat moving in light air and cold, fog filled rain. Erin was starting to shiver so I knew we had to sail fast and get home! Fortunately we hooked into some pressure and managed to work south into the west river, but unfortunately our drifting let Geiger squeak by us on the way to the finish and the time delta to Tihansky increased above any hope of correcting over. Maybe this is the last time I’ll make the mistake of sailing next to the south river when the pressure is in the bay; always, always always go for the gybe line on the West River South Shore unless the air is light and sailing a shorter distance pays.Sunday was some short course buoy racing, W2’s. We got three races in in very light air. The first race the current got us by surprise, and we gave up our commanding lead by basically doing a 360 below the first mark. Fortunately managed to get around in 2nd and not pinch around the upwind offset mark, then pass Baker (Team Bovine) about 30 seconds before the finish downwind. The other races were less stressful, good clean starts and putting the longboards to work to outclimb the fleet to the top mark, then just hold to the finish. The typical go to shore, bang the corner West River strategy also wasn’t paying, which helped us a ton, having just played the buoy racing game for a week in light air at Nationals and learning from one of the best. Races were about 30 minutes each. We called it quits while their was wind to sail back to the club, which of course built a bit to almost hull flying conditions downwind. Looking out at it after though, it wasn’t worth going back in as the most wind was right in front of the club, race course was still dead, and the course would have gone across the channel. Still, the light air was a bit of a welcome relief for Saturdays crews, who were wiped after the long upwind slogs we had!!