Saturday, October 30, 2010

Alice Cup Leg One 10/23/10

Alice Cup 10/23/2010
Race to Rockville.
The Alice Cup is comprised of two races one from Charleston to Rockville on Saturday and the return from Rockville to Charleston on Sunday. The treat for the Saturday race is it’s a pursuit start. Since we are all sailing PHRF we start based on our handicap so the first boat to cross the finish line wins. This year I sailed on board Ken Kings Quintet a Sabre 38. For our start time we had another competitor that had the same rating so our start times were the same. Here in Charleston we start off the Carolina YC dock which makes the pin end of the line favored 99% of the time. So at the start of a 34 mile coastal race Andiamo and Quintet were both right on time and headed for the pin luckily for us on Quintet we had gotten ourselves a bit too close to line with the out going tide. This was forcing us up hard on the wind to keep off the line. We were also leeward boat which aloowed us to make Andiamo spin to keep clear. Andiamo had gotten themselves just a tick or two too early and had no where else go, always have bailout strategy. We got the ten feet of space we needed to bare off and crossed the line maybe two seconds late but with Andiamo well behind.. Pretty intense start for such a long race but seconds here and there can add up. It was a beam reach for our first short leg to BP. Next leg was out the harbor with a one tack beat out around Fort Sumter. Many boats tacked too early over standing the Fort we short tacked and preceded to fetch out the rest of the channel to our turning mark and the end of the jetties. At G17 we headed downwind to 1S about ten miles away. It was a deep downwind and lumpy which made for difficult spinnaker trimming (to say the least). When we were lucky enough to the get boat in grove you were able to sail closer to the rumbline if not you ended up reaching a bit more and losing distance to the mark. Our arch rival from the start Andiamo had made some gains so we had our work cut out. We stayed patient low allowing us to reach up at the end of the leg where we once again gained on our class and had caught everyone but a J 24 that had been sailing fast in these lighter running conditions. We were able to jibe at 1S and we were now on a starboard jibe with the waves more behind us making it much easier to trim. This leg was another nine miles and the J24 was hanging tough. They were able to surf a bit in these waves and although we reeling ever so slowly. At 2NE we only a few boat lengths behind and had one more mark to round before heading into the finish. The wind had backed a bit to the east so we able to beam reach the short leg to RN6 and it was time to douse the kite and head up towards entrance to Bohicket Creek with a jib. It was a fairly quick ride down so now we were bucking a tide that was still ebbing. We worked our way to the south side of the channel for some current relief and re-set the spinnaker. Meanwhile our only competition was the J24 who had held onto their spinnaker the entire time keeping them very close. As we approached the winds lighten and we also got into the flat water. This allowed us to stretch away slowly working our through the big shifts and changes wind velocity. Not as easy as it sounds as we also had the tide right in our face. I kept waiting for the shift that would face plant us stopping up dead in the water and putting us a the mercy of the current. This would mean going backwards in case you hadn’t added that all up. So it was tense to the finish but the Fat Lady finally sang about four minutes ahead of the next group of boats that all started to compact for the finish. We had won and now it was off to the party.
Lessons learned in lumpy light conditions it pays to really work hard maintaining your speed and sailing as low as possible keeping the distances on the legs to a minimum. Know where the turning marks and have them pre loaded into a GPS or chartplotter. Sounds stupid but getting caught too high or too low can cost you big. Finally just like running to first base in baseball you need to race through the finish line not up to it.

Randy (Where’s Alex ******* )

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