May 132016

Spring Series Race #1

Wind: S 10-12
Tide: Low 5:32p

What a great night to open the season. The sun came out and it was actually warm-ish for a change! I suspect the lousy weather we’ve had has several boats behind schedule for launching. The 11 boats that made it out were treated to very nice moderate Southerly wind, which was perfect for knocking off the winter dust. Our team on Aeolus was off the mooring uncharacteristically early as it was our first sail with our new mast. There were no surprises with the new mast, it was more or less plug and play, which was nice to see. Great job by our friends at Cape Cod Shipbuilding.

We were able to sail most of the first beat before the start. The wind was quite steady, with the typical waves of pressure you get from a Southerly, but no real big shifts. There was still a bit of the ebb left, which should favor the right side in the early part of the beat, though it was slowing down. Our plan was to get a clean start and try to get going right when we could. On a normal night with a bigger fleet and longer starting line, we would have wanted to start on the boat 1/3 of the line, but since the line was shorter than normal being out of the crowd and off the line clean became the priority. In doing this, we ended up being the leeward most boat at the start. Not the best position for our first beat plan, but it guaranteed a front row start with pace.

We were off clean, but were pinned from tacking as early as we would have liked. We ended up getting in close to the harbor on the left and more in the lee of the Fort than was ideal. It wasn’t looking great for a while, but we ended up getting a couple nice left puffs after clearing the Fort that put us in the top group at the first mark. I felt we were pretty lucky to get out of the left as well as we did. We rounded bow even and to windward of 107 with 217 right behind. The run was starboard jibe favored and we got some nice pressure to move forward and down in front of 107 for the lead.

For the second beat, we liked the look of the pressure on the right and we were happy to carry on on port and see how the fleet stacked up behind us, with an eye towards protecting the right. 107 tacked off early and then back to port after a couple minutes. It looked like a gain to us after 107s clearing tack and with 217 following us, we continued heading towards the Dumplings and better pressure. As we got closer to the Dumplings the wind started to go right and we tacked to loosely cover 217. A nice lefty (nearly an autotack) as we got closer to the Newport side really stretched us out to a big lead towards the top with 217 in 2nd and 107 3rd. These positions stayed established on the port jibe favored run after the leeward mark change and the short beat to the finish.

Thanks as always to the RC for setting up a great race and to our team for the night of Scotty Innes-Jones, Nate Frizell and Kyle Martin. We’re looking forward to having Tom Hirsch back with us next week.

See you on the water,

Tim Dawson – 254 Aeolus

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