7/5/05 Race 6

Faithful Crew of Strategery, 

Well, we didn’t save any swimmers Tuesday night, but we had a great race. 

With Chris on a well deserved and much needed vacation, Scott Moffat covered jib while Dewey switched to the mainsheet position. We were pleased to have our new sails up in the fluky, junky conditions. 

The committee set a short line at the start, with a straightforward course to the X mark and back. The mark was set upwind 2 miles through the chop and breeze that alternated between bouts of gusting and holes devoid of breeze. 

Knowing that Marlen was the one to beat, we started chasing them at the 5 minute count. We noticed that they were sailing with 7 people vs. the limit 6, but didn’t protest. Jeremy later assured me that this is a standard practice of the locals in the 105 fleet.  Mike, sorry we turned you away at the dock, you could have come with! On the flip side, Jabberwocky was sailing with only 4 crew…iron man sailing at its best. 

The initial start was postponed due to a dragging anchor on the committee boat, so we had to reposition. With 2:30 left to go, we tacked away into clear air and sailed deep beneath the stern of Ubuntu and in front of Uproar. All the 105’s were out again, and with a short line it was going to be tight starting. With Uproar coming up on us (with rights), we came up on Ubuntu. They sort of tried to get out of our way, but we had to alter course to avoid hitting them. Well, we always are gentlemen/ladies, so we chalked that one up to an IOU. Still we were able to shut them out at the committee boat, and they sailed above the line. We luffed up to protect our lane from Uproar (now above us without rights) and then sailed down to keep Ubuntu from doing a dip start. 

A dip start, for those who don’t know, is when a boat sailing above the starting line sails down at the last second below the line for the start. It is a fairly aggressive move when the line is crowded, and Tuesday was certainly one of those nights.  Ubuntu came down, we headed up, they should have come up more but they didn’t, so we had to alter course. That’s 2 Christmas presents we gave them! 

We hit the line at the gun to windward of Marlen, controlling their breeze. Ubuntu was below us, but even and Uproar was above and in good position. Sailing out, Marlen tacked away and we chose not to cover. It was a good move on their part, as they got into clear air. Sailing up for another minute, we tacked over to loosely cover them. We crossed Uproar (we had made good ground up on them) and followed Marlen to the right…right into a hole. A hole is exactly what it sounds like…an area devoid of wind. Marlen was in the same situation. We carefully tacked over and slowly sailed away from them. This was where the new sails and our experience sailing the Melges in chop paid off. We kept the pounding to a minimum, sailed very deep to keep boat speed up and were the first to catch new breeze.  Jabberwocky, off to our Port side did the same thing and found themselves in good position.  

Tacking over onto port to sail to the starboard layline, we had a close encounter with Trinity, the ever speedy and beautiful Concordia 47 in the A fleet. She was on the layline barreling towards the upwind mark. While we may have crossed her, I chose to duck, and we missed her stern by a few feet…got to see their brightwork up close and personal. 

At the upwind mark we had a wrapped chute that took us outside the layline to the finish. Marlen gibed inside and sailed fast and deep. By the time we got the wrap out of the chute and the lazy spinnaker sheet out of the water and rigged back up and gibed to the mark, we were neck and neck with Marlen.  

I have to give them the credit they are due. At this point they took the race away from us. They sailed a great downwind leg in quasi surfing conditions. Jeremy pumped the main on each wave with good technique and they had a great angle to the finish line. I tried getting to them as the leeward boat, but they were able to break overlap and from that point on we were unable to catch them. As we neared the mark, the wind shifted (where the hole had been earlier) and we had to dump the chute and finish with only the jib up on a close reach. 

SO…we finished second to Marlen by 30 some odd seconds…another good performance by our team. I figure we are emerging as the good Samaritans of the fleet, with the presents this week going to Ubuntu and Marlen.  Next week, I’m hoping we get some presents instead. We looked for Henry, our honorary crewmwber and refugee from last weeks race on Veladare, but he took the week off.  So, as we head into next week in a tie for first with a redress hearing pending, it should be interesting. Stay tuned for our next race where we are going to be joined on the bow by our secret weapon - Mike H.