Cool gray

Friday was a cool gray day for mid-July but the rain was passing south of us so it was fine TGIF sailing weather.  Stacy was eager to start the weekend early and I think we were at the dock before 5.  Friday of course also has informal racing and Stacy was intrigued enough to agree to some racing.  The RC, exasperated with the cat herding exercise of rounding up boats just started a sequence with potential racers scattered across the basin.  I actually managed to get us across the line first, within maybe 30 seconds of the starting signal.  RC cheered at the first participation.  My lead didn’t last long.  I wasn’t paying attention to wind direction and managed to let everyone by me before the first mark.  I recovered a couple of the positions before the finish.

It was fun.  Surely my first Friday informal race in a long time, maybe close to a year.  I was busily trying to explain things to Stacy and coach her on things like keeping the jib sheet from snagging on the spinnaker halyard cleat.  “You have to float it across” I kept saying.  Stacy was struggling at these obscure mystical concepts.  I was pointing out how another boat was maneuvering to pass us on the downwind.  She was still stuck on what “downwind” was.

In the second race I managed to foul another boat.  The situation starts similar to that of case 11 in the World Sailing Case Book.  I was PW in this diagram.

c11

Case 11 discusses my right to hail for room pass S as an obstruction but I didn’t hail.  Racing involves lots of judgement, judging time and distance.  I was first thinking that PL and I would both be able to duck S.  I failed to properly judge that PL was able to sail high enough to just clear S’s stern and that there would be no room for me.  When I realized I was in trouble I decided to tack.  Unfortunately it was already too late.  I was tacking too close to S and he had to luff up to avoid me.

I had options for other things I could have done, if I had started earlier.  I could have hailed PL, I could have just slowed slightly to pass S after PL, or I could have tacked sooner to stay clear of S.

Anyway, that was enough racing fun for the day.  Stacy and I sailed away down to the Mass Ave bridge and back.  We heeled the boat for fun, to sit on the low side and put fingers in the water.  It turns out that’s work in a keel Merc on a green flag day.  I’m tired now.

Wind was light.  I was calling it light green flag, maybe “mint,” from the East and somewhat shifty, especially as it came over the trees from the Boston side.  It was my failure to pay attention to these wind shifts that set me back spectacularly in some of the racing.  The difference in wind speed recorded at the CBI dock and at the MIT dock is also telling.  With wind from the East, CBI was recording 0kts with gusts to 2 or 3, while MIT was recording 10mph with gusts to 15.  I think on the race course it was somewhere in between.

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