Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Bermuda Race Wrap Up

Russ and I had a blast racing to Bermuda. I love being offshore and find so little time to do it these days.

On the Wed/Thu before the start, there were some dire warnings from various weather routing services with the prospect of 20-30 knot NE winds pushing against the gulf stream creating tall, short period waves. By Friday afternoon, 52 boats dropped out and another 10 boats retired after starting representing about a third of the fleet that didn't make it to the finish line. We tracked the weather very closely leading up the start and for the 30 hours of so before we hit the gulf stream. By Friday evening, the forecast had moderated sufficiently that we didn't have any hesitations about continuing onward, despite some misinformation disseminated by the RC about conditions further south of us.

Shortly after the start

Yankee Girl, the boat that eventually won the double handed division, was in the neighborhood pretty much the entire race but the gains they made in the light air on Saturday were difficult to claw back from. About the time we hit the gulf stream, we'd gained back a little ground but their track further east of us proved the right call and we were left clawing back from another deficit. Eventually we were able to overtake them but it was too little too late and they sailed a fantastic final 24 hours to close the distance sufficiently to earn the win. Huge congratulations to Zach & Gust for a great race!

For having the smallest boat in the fleet this year, we were pleased to compare well against some other, very fast designs including a J/111 that rounded Kitchen Shoal right behind us, but this was a result of strategy, not sailing ability as those boats that strayed too far west didn't see the gains others made to the east with greater wind speeds on the north side of the front line. Clearly second place is not good enough for Russ and I but I suppose if we're going to loose, that's the way to do it.

The solo sail back was a fun adventure and I got lucky with some wind that was not forecasted so was able to get back in time for the many scheduled calls on the 27th. I have a pretty light racing schedule for the balance of the summer: Beringer Bowl July 22-23 and Maine Rocks Race Sept 17-18. If Marblehead's One Regatta lays out some decent courses for the shorthanded division, I'll do that one too but I've not yet heard what the deal is.