Thank you, Narragansett Bay, for a wonderful introduction to the 2008 Shields Wednesday Night Series. What better way to start racing than a shifty southerly, flat water and loads of tide. We counted around 15 boats for the first week, ably run by Dr. Robin Wallace, who was put to the test from the get go. That nice little lefty we all were eyeing off Goat Island before racing never really came in. And when the wind went right as the time ticked down to the first start, Dr. Wallace was forced to postpone for the first time this year. Then, on attempt No. 2 with the tide ripping out, he broke out the 1st Repeater for the fleet’s first (of many?) general recall.
When the race got underway on the third start, we on the 145 were deep in the third row. The only consolation was that Hilton’s gang on 217 was next to us. The two of us tacked to port off the line and were heading right. Only problem is we didn’t have the conviction to stay to the right with him. There was loads of tide over there and (eventually) a big right shift. Instead, we tacked away and crossed all the way over to the left side. Reminder lesson of the night: Never go from one corner of the course to the opposite. While 217 and 254 led around the windward mark we were deep, fending off the Newport Yacht Club PHRF fleet.
We played the run slightly right of rhumbline and were able to make some gains outside the majority of the boats. Although we were in adverse tide, we caught a break when some of those close to Goat Island made their way out and back into the tide. Our big gains came on the second upwind, a nice long leg from the bridge up to Fort Adams. We stayed outside to the right this time, and crawled up to 4th at the second windward mark. There we stayed until the last 1,000 yards when we got nipped by Burnham’s marauders on 107, who seemed to get a left shift while we were to the right of him. The usual suspects took win (217), place (254) and show (245). Congrats. Here’s to a successful season for all.
The 145 would also like to apologize to all in advance for any loud and obnoxious comments coming from our cockpit. We have an America’s Cup radio personality in our crew this year who is intent on keeping his vocal chords at the ready for whenever (if ever?) the Cup returns to the water.
Sean McNeill, Ted Fisher, and #145