The Race

Last Friday I had to enter the local yacht race (the friendly harbor race). I had plenty of crew on board, since I had said that anyone wanting to come was welcome. Getting the boat ready for the race was actually a lot more work than I had thought. Started 10 in the morning to get things organized. Main thing to do was change the small yankee head sail (on the roller furling) for the bigger genoa. Then I took the boat for a little sail in the harbor, I have had some breakage on my rope clutches, which seem to be impossible to fix. After some rearrangment of some halyards, I think I had a workable solution, but I wanted to be sure that was the case.

The race starts at 4 with the skippers meeting, which is not much more than writing your boat name on a piece of paper and receiving the course map. Course was the same as last week, having raced it once made life a little easier. I had arranged a temporary mooring from a kedge anchor, so we were able to tie the dinghies onto that.

The following people crewed:
– Alan and Marilyn from Rush, Australia;
– Pete, Sue and Ole from Nightcap, New Zealand;
– Nigel from Strummer, England;
– Ben from Veleda, Brooklyn;
– Adrian and Ian from Lochiel, USA, boat from British Virgin Islands.

Tacktics were being discussed with whoever was in the cockpit, and as we were sailing everyone found out whatever he was going to do: genoa sheet, main sheet, stay sail sheet, drinking beer, getting beer. The start line was on a half wind leg, actually most of the course was about half wind, on a port tack. Normally you attempt to start on the starboard tack (which should give you right of way over racers on the port tack), but that wasn’t possible. At the five minute warning we sort of hugged parallelling the start line, and at 10 seconds to go we altered course. I am not exactly sure about the start lines position, the one marker is really low, but I do think we were off to a great start. At the first marker we rounded fifth (in a field of 10), the only small boat in the race (less than 30 ft) has a shorter course, and they were ahead of us at the last marker. Right behind us was a 43 ft Beneteau, and it looked like that they might be able to come by us (well, they should, with a lighter and bigger boat). But we adopted the same tacktic as the race winner (Blizzard [a Farr 43], who stole the race on the finish line, beating Moonduster [a Sparkmans & Stephens 47], which is the boat with the only captain that doesn’t quite understand the concept of a friendly yacht race). The last leg was up wind, and we stayed on the port tack almost passing by the finish line outside the buoys, this kept the boat away from the building on shore, and therefore ensured stonger winds. Then we tacked more or less parallelling the finish line until we got to the inner marker of the finish and there you finish with a tack! We passed the small boat and gained quite some distance on the Beneteau. It was really a lot of fun. We had a great crew, everyone was enjoying himself, and I was really excited. I was at the wheel (I guess that is the logical thing to do on your own boat), and all I needed to do is ask people to pull on a sheet, or maybe payout a little on this or that, and it would just get done. I did not even have to operate the manual windlass.

There is a price for every captain the enters the race, I won a lunch for two at the Mermaids (the home of the Vavau Yacht Club) which I am going to collect this noon with Ola, a Tongan lady.

Your captain, as you can see this is a cut throat, cutting edge attitude towards racing (Marilyn would hold my beer when we had to tack).

The foredeck crew, busy as always.

A look at the field on the race course, the close hauled boats (on the left) are those that finished ahead of us, the broad reaching vessels coming behind us (more to the right) are those racers that finished behind us.

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One Response to The Race

  1. mcole says:

    As much as I’ve enjoyed the scenery pictures you have posted, I’m glad to see the picture of you at the helm. It all looks like great fun.

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