Wednesday, January 03, 2007

HYC "Hangover" Regatta

Monday was a beautiful day if not a bit on the chilly side. Mid morning north winds of 10-15 gave way to 5-10 by early afternoon and we completed a 6 leg W/L course of roughly 1m per leg. As this was a fun race the main purpose was to get around the course in one piece and also try out some of the mods that were made to the boat during the holiday break.

The "Hangover" crew of Lori, Dan, Chelsea, Ashleigh, Tim, Bob, Doug and I had a good time and kept the mood light. My champagne plan was derailed as the italian asti I brought along needed a corkscrew (which I didn't have onboard).

As we only had 30 minutes before the start and a new crew that had never worked together before we practiced a few tacks and spinnaker-less gybes and then the prep signal as sounded and the fun began.

The Good:

1. We had a good start. We hit the line on the front row with good speed, only the committee boat to windward and the J-105 Aftershock about 1/2 a boatlength to leeward. They soon tacked out and headed to the right side of the course. Unfortunately, it was soon obvious that the line was heavily biased to the pin end and we were crossed by the J-120 and J-80 that started at the pin soon after the start.

2. Upwind speed and point. While the tacks were not a crisp as the could be (although acting as a one man grind and tail machine, I thought Bob was going to collapse from exertion) the upwind boat speed and height was the best we've had since the boat was new one year ago. I think we have come close to the right rig tune and mainsail trim and the kevlar backstay makes a huge difference when the main was tacking across in the light air. In addition, we had someone hiking in front of the shrouds as recommended by the class website (tip from B. Farr) and we used the D4 genoa for the first time since it came back from the sailmaker. All in all, the upwind speed and point made the day for me. As the boathandling becomes crisper I think we will be highly competitive upwind.

3. Light-air R1 spinnaker. I thought the sail looked great and was fast.

4. Tim Long on the foredeck. For someone participating in his third race and never having done mast or bow before I thought he did a great job.

The Bad and the Ugly.

There was no bad and ugly. The race highlighted once again the value of consistency and practice in the crew work. This only comes with time and effort so we will see incremental improvement throughout the year as the crew settles in.

I think the boat is ready for a great year. If we can sail a little better each time out we will find ourselves closer to the front of the fleet pretty soon.


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