Spring Series Race #2
Wind: S/SE 8
Tide: High 6:46p
Another beautiful spring night on the water here in Newport. The boats who have yet to launch are really missing out! As our team made it to the mooring the wind was SE and the RC headed to the vicinity of the Connanicut YC for the starting area. With the start being not far from where Aeolus lives, we enjoyed some extra time on the mooring catching up with our leader, Tom Hirsch, back for the summer from Wyoming.
When we first went out, it looked like the weather mark would be near the fort, but in our pre start sailing, the wind shifted right to a more southerly direction, causing the race committee to use course 46 (Rp 3p) twice around. This is a pretty unusual course for Shields, but quite common for anyone that sails in the JYC Tuesday night series.
In our pre race planning we thought that if there were no other boats on the course, the fastest way to the weather mark would be to start at the boat, sail for about 2-3 minutes and then start working shifts on the rights side of the course out of the current. The wind looked light to the right of the committee boat, so we felt that having to do a clearing tack off the line would be expensive. We also felt that the further up the beat you got, the stronger the right side would be.
Quite similar to last week, we made a conservative start to leeward of the big group at the boat end. The current got our group in the middle of the line further away than we expected and we were fairly late. But at least we recognized as soon as we made our final tack to starboard that we were racing, so we were at full speed at the gun. Friends on a powerboat said we were 20 seconds late, but I think they were just picking on me. 253 won the start at the boat, 158 had a good start near the pin. We were soon able to peel off the group to weather of us and tack to port to execute our plan. 253 just crossed us coming out of the right, but this allowed us to get to the right of them for the second half of the beat allowing us to round with the lead.
We lost a bit of ground on the first run, mainly because we thought mark 3 was further inshore than it was. We had to play blocker for the last part of the run and rounded overlapped with 226 and 158 just behind with 253 and 33 challenging as well. Much like last week, we felt protecting the right was key, so rounding with the lead made life much easier. For the second week in a row the boat that rounded 2nd did a clearing tack which ended up costing them a boat or more. I think that is one of the toughest calls in Shields sailing, rounding behind someone who is headed the way you want to go. Do you do a clearing tack and risk losing leverage to the favored side? Or do you try to find a lane of clear-ish air following a boat just ahead? More often than not I choose the clearing tack as well, but I’ve been trying to get more disciplined about being patient and thinking that call through and not having the clearing tack be an automatic move. Often the boat in 3rd is advantaged because their lane frees up when the boat in 2nd does a clearing tack. Best to round with the lead and take away that decision!
The second beat, was really just a fight to protect the right, which favored the leaders to extend. We and 253 got to the right first and took advantage to round 1st and 2nd at the shortened mark Z. No real changes on the last run and short beat to the finish. 33 and 226 had a tight battle to the finish, so they may have switched places at some point with 33 nipping them in the end.
Another great week for our team of Tom Hirsch, Scotty, and Nate. Thanks as always to our stellar race committee for providing great racing.
Keep it rumbling,
Tim Dawson for #254 Aeolus.