News at 11
Usually it's the other way around. Usually the Race Committee is unduely optimistic in the course it selects, and then the wind dies leaving crews on slower boats out of the post-race party in the bar.
Yesterday's Wednesday was pay-back.
The RC saw no wind and gave our 31-boat fleet a short 2-leg course. Pre-race conditions were so inauspicious that seven or eight boats didn't even bother to suit up. But a timely easterly did materialize. At least 5-6 knots, and it was steady. Again, there was a westerly chop left over from the 25-knot plus winds of the previous three days. This left us roughly with the same conditions as last week's but with the course half as long!
Starting conditions called for my tactic of revving up the motor and killing it off 30 seconds before the warning signal. With the resulting momentum, we were able to luff a couple of barging friends up and hit the line in 5th place. Trophy Wife, our light-wind specialist, relieved me at the helm and I was able to shoot some photos.
Although we never gained much on the first four, we stretched off ahead of the pack behind us. Lost a small yellow boat at the turning mark who sailed over us while we were sorting out the spinnaker. But we can always carry our small chute earlier and longer than anyone else. We passed the yellow hotshot to leeward and fought off other challenges, finishing 5th overall and on corrected time!
Especially in these conditions this was quite an achievement. This kind of success can only be attributed to the hard-core crew folk who regularly muscle this heavy 20-year old island performance cruiser through the most unpromising of slops. And I am so glad our mainsail trimmer has survived New Orleans' ups (Saints' celebrations!) and downs (BP's desecrations!) to rejoin us - on schedule - for the rest of 2010's Spring through October.
When you have four guys who know and read the helm's mind before the helm deigns to speak, you know you have solid gold on board.
With a Fleet dinner meeting tonight I am glad I was able to write this ahead of time, during the day: otherwise, with just a few beers in me, I'd prove insufferable...