Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday Night Racing - Opening Day 2010

The crew of Diamond In The Rough with Capt Jim Mumper at the helm had a great first outing for the year. Diamond is a Cal 36, a sturdy vessel well suited to the blustery conditions we encountered Wednesday evening. This year the total entries are down slightly and to even the classes out a bit we went from being the highest rated boat in PHRF 2 to the one of the lowest rated boats in PHRF 3. This means we owe time to most of our competition under the handicapping rules used for boats sailing against one another that are not identical in design. This change from last year means we're not as familiar with our competition and we may have to adjust some strategy.

For this race we had a pretty strong breeze, about 20 kts gusting to 25 or more from the north - north west. The race committee set a very short course for us. Being as it was the first race of the season for many of the competitors and we're grouped with mostly smaller boats, this was prudent. Our start would take us downwind towards the mouth of the Severn River, then turn around the mark and come back up wind to channel marker R8, hang a left and continue up wind towards the finish just before the draw bridge over Spa Creek. Here's a rough map of the course.

View WNR Fleet 3 course on 4/28/2010 in a larger map

Capt Jim Mumper called for a conservative plan. We set the number 2 or medium sized, head sail and chose not to set a spinnaker for the short downwind leg. This would cost us a little bit of speed on that leg, but give us very good control of the boat and make for an easy turn at the first mark before coming back up wind. Several boats who opted for the spinnakers had a tough time controlling them which is much slower and worse for competition than not setting them at all. However, one crew did set their spinnaker and made the most of it. Spiff, a little J-24 in our class handled their spin very well, and beat us as a result.

We rounded the first mark behind Spiff but slightly ahead of the rest of our class. Once we turned back upwind our size, and choice of a conservative sail selection paid off very well. We marched back up wind and opened a sizable lead over most of our class, except Spiff, who kept a couple of paces ahead of us the whole evening.

The last leg from R8 to the finish was uneventful. We had to make a couple of tacks to clear the Eastport Yacht club at the mouth of Spa Creek and then pointed on Starboard Tack all the way to the finish.

As we were tying up at the dock we saw the Annapolis Fire Dept helping a competitor with an obviously broken leg out of an inflatable rib boat. It wasn't clear exactly what happened and the poor fellow wasn't going to linger at the dock to tell us about it. One person mentioned pinning it between the boat and a turning mark, that would likely mean they hit a government navigation buoy, which are very heavy. The inflatable marks used by race committee for most of the course are very light and would just bounce off the hull. Regardless of the cause, he appeared to be in good hands as AFD got him splinted and ready for a ride to the hospital. Here's wishing him a speedy recovery.

Once tied up at the dock we enjoyed our usual post race happy hour aboard the boat and sampled the buffet at Annapolis Yacht Club. Finally the results were up on the bulletin board... we took 2nd! A great start to the season.

Capt Jim at the helm. Click the photo to see the entire slide show.
View Slideshow | See Individual Photos

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