Monday, September 19, 2011

All hail Resolute (again)

And for the second race in a row, the J122 Resolute skippered by Scott Miller muscled his way to the top of the pile, leaving poor ol' Jeroboam to feast on the scraps of second place. I would like to go on record that this is not a trend. Odds makers in Vegas take heed - I'll get him next year!

Had a delightful sail back to Marblehead last night and today on what was my last real sail of the season. Sure I'll get out there on a weekend day here and there through October but it's time to face the facts: the season is over.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

And at the wire...

Tough afternoon tacking up the bay to the finish line. The easterly shift was late, but even worse was preceded by a dying breeze and an hour of wallowing around Monroe Island waiting for the easterly. Such a classic moment in my memories of Maine racing: bobbing around aimlessly at the head of Monroe, either trying to get in or out of the bay. That must have been the 4th or 5th time that's happened to me.
 
Badger crushed me getting past Monroe but I had a good lead on Greyhawk until the wind died completely and my light air sailing weakness shined through. Tim cruised right past me in what was obviously the exact same wind conditions, Jeroboam going nowhere and Greyhawk moving nicely. Ouch. I need to work on that. Anyway, Tim crossed the finish line before me but owed me a bunch of time so I'll get him on corrected. All the while we were bobbing around there, I kept looking back to see Bluebird systematically marching up the bay, concerning me to no end. Thankfully the breeze filled in just in time and I managed to cross shortly before Gust.
 
All the boats who finished prior to the wind dying are probably going to be at the top of the heap so I don't have my hopes up for a top three finish but we shall see. I probably won't know the results until tomorrow or the next day as I'm presently sailing back to Marblehead. The race was only 112 nm but the round trip delivery is about 260 so it's been a full weekend, well long weekend anyway. But well worth it. This was the last race of the 2011 season and it occurred to me that I've only got 15 or maybe 20 more seasons of competitive racing left in me. I generally only do one big race per season plus another 3-6 weekend races so potentially that's as few as 60 more races in my lifetime. I need to pick and choose them wisely.

The final leg

I was warmly greeted with vastly better forecast this morning calling for 10 knots out of the NE shifting to the east which has much improved my spirits as well as the prospect of finishing before sundown. In fact, it the breeze holds, I would anticipate crossing the line by 3 or 4 this afternoon. I got a header as I was beating up the bay so I may need to throw some tacks in to make Monroe Island before turning West into Rockland Harbor and the finish line.
 
The Frers 33 named Badger is presently rolling me to an embarrassing degree, sailing at least 10 degrees higher and fast than Jeroboam. I'm shocked at how well that boat can point. I'm going to need a lift if I have a chance of keeping up with them.

Back to Matinicus

Jeroboam somehow managed to round Mt Desert Rock before Bluebird but has been hot on my heels for this whole leg and, I think, is gaining ground on me. Panacea was on the approach to Mt Desert Rock just and I was sailing back toward Matinicus so the pressure is on. The breeze died out a fair bit but is current holding around 5-6 knots and when the shift to the north arrived, I threw out the chute for some light air close reaching. If I can make Matinicus by 9 AM, I should get some favorable current as I work north into Penobscot Bay. The forecast is calling for very light wind all day so there's still a lot of racing ahead as we may not finish until after night fall.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

On our way to Mt Desert Rock

We had a fluky harbor start in Rockland where I set and doused my chute twice in a 10 minute period but shortly after working our way out of the harbor, the breeze filled in from the SE then shifted to the S and finally settled in the SW so it was a close reach all the way to Matinicus Rock. The boats that went too far right and too far left were the least efficient in use of the shift but there was a whole crowd of us at the rock so not much separation. Here's the line up for the single handed division:
 
Resolute, J/122, Scott Miller, PHRF rating of 33
Mainstay 5, JOD, Jim Coughlin, 90
Greyhawk, Peterson 34, Tim Allen, 123
Walkabout, Tarten 10, Doug Pope, 138
Bluebird, Morris 36, Gust Stringos, 177
Jeroboam, Beneteau 35, Jonathan Green, 177
Panacea, Freedom 32, Peter McCrea, 186
Inbox, Far Harbor 39, Bernie Blum, 192
 
At Matinicus, Scott was clearly leading the group but not completely out of sight, then there was a group of us that were all right there in the neighborhood: Mainstay, Greyhawk, Walkabout, Bluebird, Jeroboam and Panacea. Once around the rock, those with poled out symmetrical kites began working dead down the rhumbline (Mainstay, Greyhawk and Walkabout) while the rest of us with asyms footed off to the South to work our gybing angles (although Panacea may have winged and headed up the rhumbline). The bad news is the Bluebird and I were very close at the Rock but he's managed to sail much deeper than I and will very likely finish this leg in front of me, which will make it tough to battle back on leg 3 and 4. At this point I'm hoping for a shift to the West to lift me on the other gybe toward Mt Desert Rock.

Race start, one hour

Great turn out with tons of Bermuda 1-2 skippers here. After an exhilarating sail up to Rockland with 30+ knots of breeze, we had high pressure fill in last night so it'll be a light air race. I'll try to post some updates in route at each of the rocks. Jeroboam is in good shape, I just need some more coffee and I'll be ready to charge out to the starting line. These downwind starts are always interesting.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Maine Rocks Race

The last race of the season is upon me. Maine Rocks has been held each September since 2008 offering two classes, a single handed class and a double handed class. Jeroboam entered in 2008 and 2009 and did well but sat out last year. Maine has a terrific short handed sailing crowd, including many Bermuda 1-2 alumni and most of them come out for this race. As of early last week, the race organizer, Doug Pope, had 11 entries across the two classes so hopefully a few more have tumbled in since. Starting line is in Rockland Harbor so I'll depart Marblehead Thursday night arriving in Maine in time to attend the skippers meeting on Friday night then the race starts Saturday morning around 10. Gave the bottom a much needed scrub yesterday and off loaded a bunch of cruising gear so the boat's in pretty good shape. The course below is a little difficult to follow as the race starts and finishes in Rockland so from there we go south to Matinicus Rock, then northeast to Mt. Desert Rock, then back to Matinicus and up to Rockland.