The journal of a Melges 24 and her racing crew...
The Boat
Faithful friends and crew of Strategery,

I hope this finds you well. Apologies on the time since our last log, but one race was cancelled, and the other we finished so far back, I couldn't even tell you who the winner was. That said, we find ourselves in the great spot of #2 for the season.

Last night, eager to spend some quality time, Kim and I raced Strategery alone. It has been a long time since we've done this (I think the last was on Kimberley Sue), and fairly challenging due to the technical nature of the boat. However, there was a very light breeze forecast, and we had no additional crew available on short notice, so off we went.

The tide was coming in, and there was little breeze (less than 5 knots) in patches. After a delayed start, the committee set up a windward leeward course near shore. With Kim on the jib and my efforts at the helm, we got to the line a bit early and had to work our way down. Given the short line and current, we were forced to the pin, and had to tack away at the gun.

Almost immediately we were caught by Marlen on starboard tack. We quickly went over and lee bowed them, starting our upwind leg. They tacked over and we went with them, crossing the fleet.

In the light breeze, Strategery showed her stuff, sailing flat and fast, putting distance between us and the others in the fleet. It was great fun, and having only 2 on board worked to our advantage. Kim hiked hard the entire way, keeping the boat grooved and creating neutral helm.

We tacked a bit early for the mark due to the current, and once we were crossed by Marlen (who also had gone early), we tacked over to get out of their air.

At this point we switched positions, with Kim taking over Helm and Main, while I got ready for the set and mark rounding.

This was a tricky job, and all the things you do for a set were running through my head:
pre-feed the tack line

After a bit of physical calculus we got the chute up and were off.

Kim drove the boat as deep as possible on Starboard tack, while I kept the chute full and fast. We were sailing well, slowly gaining ground on Marlen, when we realized we would have to jibe.

Unbeknownst to me at the time was that the guy had been fouled on some sprit fastenings during the set. When Kim steered through the jibe, the guy was trapped and the sail fouled. Keeping her cool, Kim steered back to Starboard tack and we were off again. Building up some speed, she went back through a jibe hoping that the guy would free itself. It didn't.

At this point we were at the finish line, but 10 boat lengths to leeward. Calling for a Mexican takedown, we dropped the chute and hardened up to a reach. While we were struggling, Ladyhawke caught up to us and crossed the finish in front of us. We rounded the finish in 3rd on uncorrected (Phoenix had won the race uncorrected, but they also rate -30) and 4th overall.

It was a great race - exhilarating, challenging and fun...damn fun.

So, overall, we are now in second place on points. Breakaway is in first, and unlikely to be displaced, though we will give it a try. Stay tuned. It is starting to get interesting...

Till next week.

7/27/04 Tuesday Night