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

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

On Boldness: Well-Placed and Misplaced

13 boats showed up for today's 5.39nm twilight triangular race in 16-18 knots of wind. What I'm going to remember is the start. Again I mistimed my approach: I was actually at the pin on the starboard end with 60 seconds to go instead of zero. In these circumstances, you don't try to bluff your way down the line, hoping to find a gap between a dozen of hard-driving fiberglass hulls. There won't be anything other than crashes and/or embarrassments. Without hesitating, I told crew that we were "Going to tack and gybe!" And we peeled over on a tack to port and gybed back on to starboard in one fluid, spinning motion, with no time to adjust mainsheet. Bang! To my amazement there was only the well-sailed San Juan below us. We were in her path but she was really not under way: We had the pin end of the line to ourselves. We actually had to slow down a few seconds waiting for the signal.

We were able to tack for the beach when we wanted to and had 'Kelp Island' to ourselves. 4th or 5th around the weather mark, my guys were able to retrieve a loose spinnaker sheet dragging in the water and achieve a decent hoist. I took the stress out of my old, aching body by surrendering the helm for a few minutes to take some photos.

On the way to the reaching mark, we passed the Hunter to weather. The San Juan showed herself to be a threat to gain an overlap to leeward, so we gybed on to port for the mark. Inside the 3-boat length radius I hailed "No Overlap" and called for room, half-bluffingly. "Starboard" was the response from the San Juan. I was relieved that San Juan was applying the wrong rule for this situation, and hailed back, "No! No! Read your rule book!"

But once around the mark, I mistakenly bet that the Ranger 33, sailing without a spinnaker, would not luff us up. (In his shoes, I would have!) By the time we recovered, the San Juan was by us.

Trophy Wife and CC took turns at the wheel on the last windward leg. Das Boot finished 5th and corrected out to 3rd.


  1. We didn't have enough crew to sail but I saw your start from the bar. It was either the worse start ever, or the best.

  2. It was the best of times and the worse of times......

  3. Regarding that Rule 18 situation at the reaching mark: it would be careless of me not to acknowledge that I had been there before, a little more than three years ago.