Liberty is being free from the things we don't like in order to be slaves of the things we do like.--Ernest Benn

Monday, November 21, 2011

Yacht Racing Is Always a 3-Way Contest

The forecast was hopeful: rain on Saturday and clearing with 20+ knots on Sunday. Optimal conditions for us for a 12-mile race. But it turned out the storm was late and the rain came Sunday. It's my experience that it dudn't blow much while it's raining. But we have a rule: never call it off until you're on the boat.

Once I was on-board, it looked so cold & rainy Sunday I would have called it off. That's how much the fire has gone out of me. But it was my misfortune that my Laser-38 was in 1st place in the series and we just felt we had to man-up and have a go at it.

Turned out that it was a 3-12 knot breeze in a chop, not our conditions at all. Tailor-made for the Beneteau 40.7 who was carrying a better throw-out than we were. We suffered, but the team was stronger for the experience.

I made a disastrous decision of keeping up the spinnaker too long: when I saw others take theirs down I just had a strong dose of exceptionalism and believed my Laser 38 could carry hers. I wanted to save the crew from the task of dousing it and re-hoisting after we rounded the final mark. Stupid. I always forget: they are young and I am old.

We finished in 7th place and 2nd in the series. At my request, a friend checked the elapsed times and figured if we had finished in front of Merit 25 which blew past us during my aberration, we would have still corrected out behind the Beneteau. Don't ask me if he's still would have been a friend had his calculations led to a different conclusion!) So, my stubborn obstinacy was just a inconsequential gamble of a sailor in desperate circumstances.

Of course, Monday dawned the way Sunday should have.

1 comment:

  1. Did you see that excellent article on PHRF ratings in the latest Latitude 38?