I was happy to participate in Tiller Club today and especially happy to be on the race control boat rather than on one of the Mercs. Wind was dark red flag and the CBI anemometer seems to have been blown offline. MIT was recording gusts over 30 mph and I tell ya the wind was mostly gusts. I helped Robin with RC. We had five boats racing. There were a couple of capsizes and a run-aground during the day, but wow I admire those sailors that raced today. They were amazing.
I was obsessed with figuring out the wind. I’m impressed with some of the sailing commentators I listen to on the internet, how well some of them understand the wind and can explain and anticipate it, and I’d love to be able to do as well. From the simple hourly forecast chart of the National Weather Service, I expected these strong winds to start WSW and veer W over the day. It turned out more complex. The wind started more strongly SW and ended up WNW, thus veering more than I expected. It was also oscillating a bit. Not a lot, but noticeably, and definitely enough for some racers to make gains and losses on the shifts. From the committee boat sometimes we could see racers making the mistake. “Oh, they’re going too far to that side” Robin or I would say.
It’s so much harder when you’re actually sailing, racing, though. I know I’m always so busy with everything and don’t have the luxury to just sit and watch the wind. It’s also much harder when you’re on a boat that is sailing all over the place as opposed to sitting at anchor at one spot and pointing mostly in the same direction.
Also by the forecast I expected the sun to come out and the strong gusts to moderate a bit in the afternoon after racing. I hoped it would be nice for a little pleasure sail. That didn’t happen. It stayed overcast and the wind held the whitecaps across the river. So what did I do? Sail anyway of course! I was prepared to go out by myself on a reefed Merc but Trina showed up on the dock and was interested in a sail. I switched plans to grab us a Rhodes 19 that someone was just bringing in. I thought it would surely be easier and drier than a Mercury. Well, it was still a handful, even reefed, and still cold wet sailing. But Trina and I sailed a lap up to the Mass Ave bridge and back so we could say we sailed today. I was glad we did. It’s good to sail, good to challenge the strong wind and cold spray.