Monday, May 01, 2006

CORA Sheriffs Cup 2006

Sheriff’s Cup 2006

What a race! As most of you know the Sheriff’s Cup to Rockville is different from most races in that the starts are staggered based on the individual handicaps. In this years race we had the boat that started first and the boat that started last, finish first and second within thirty seconds of each other. Finishing first was Tim Burke with his Tartan 30 Dissipation and Steve Orchards Melges 32 Grins thirty seconds behind. Boats that started earlier might not have gotten the benefit of the ebb tide but did have their breeze from a more northerly direction allowing them to fetch out of the harbor. The boats starting later had to deal with a more easterly breeze making for several tacks before turning downwind towards IS and on into Rockville. As the breeze shifted it also came in a bit stronger, solidly in the mid twenties and puffs in the thirties. Almost the entire fleet could have sailed in the main and jib class today, only Grins the Melges 32, Emocean the J120 and Buena Vida hoisted spinnakers. Unfortunately for Emocean their spinnaker came down in pieces. With the big waves from the Northeast steering was difficult to say the least. Without the use of spinnakers keeping the distance sailed to a minimum was the key. Another factor was keeping enough sail area up to maintain your pace with the waves. It is amazing how much easier the boat will track when it’s surfing with the waves versus wallowing in the troughs. The post race comments were, tales of record boats speeds on many of the boats. The Melges 32 spent a good five minutes on their side after one spectacular wipe out but took only three hours and ten minutes to sail the 33 mile course. Emocean was sailing so fast with their small spinnaker before it exploded they had to reach back in under jib from the Bahamas. Buena Vida was coming into Edisto and was starting to get passed by the larger Tohido when they decided to set their spinnaker for the sprint to the finish. I was wishing I had a video camera as Buena Vida crashed and burned and then struggled to gain control. In the end it all worked out and Buena Vida extended to beat Tohidu across the line by thirty five seconds. When sailing with a jib underneath a spinnaker remember to ease its sheet and let the sail luff. Overtriming the jib will make it very difficult to control and trim your spinnaker effectively. Another important heavy air spinnaker trimming tip is, never overtrim you spinnaker sheet. If you are overtrimmed and the boat goes to wipe out you will have too much sheet to ease out and the sail will continue to stay full accelerating and increasing the harshness of the wipeout. Keep the sail on its edge just as if it was blowing ten knots.
It took roughly another hour for the rest the fleet to finish with the last boat finishing just around 3:15 P.M. Plenty of time to clean up the boats and have a few beverages, while getting ready for the great BBQ dinner and Texas Hold Em tourney.

With the forecast for Sunday predicting similar conditions there were already discussions of returning to Charleston via the ditch. As expected the bulk of the fleet looked at the 25 knots out of the Northeast and turned right to the ditch instead of left to the ocean. We did have six starters that included Emocean, Wings of Freedom, Hoodoo, Tohidu, Suwannee, and Buena Vida. Buena Vida quickly found that they hadn’t sufficient sea sickness medication and turned around and headed to the ditch. Hoodoo had almost gotten back to IS when their mainsail started disintegrating along the leech from all the flogging it was taking. Hoodoo returned downwind back to Bohicket. The seas were running six to eight at a nasty interval making for a very bumpy ride out of the Edisto. Eventually the breeze (as predicted) shifted more to the east lifting the remaining fleet to the jetties of Charleston. As the breeze shifted it also began to diminish allowing the two leaders Emocean and Wings of Freedom to enter the harbor with their spinnakers, then jibing at BP and reaching across the finish line. Emocean finished first at 5:02: 10 with Wings of Freedom finishing at 5:26:35. The breeze continued to diminish leaving the Stephens 50 Suwannee to finish at 6:23:24 and Tohidu at 7:28:10. A tough day, beating in 25 knots earlier in the day and finishing the day light air running and having to fight the flooding tide to cross the finish line. Sailing does reward patience.

For those who missed this great race make sure you put October 21st and 22nd on your calendar for this years dates for the Alice Cup.

Results are posted on the CORA website.

Rear Commodore.

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