Saturday I got to sail on a Soling for my first time in SSA’s Soling Frostbite. A Soling is a 27′ 3-person keel boat and I was sailing as the middle crew with skipper Mike Waters and bow Gretchen E. We had a bit of a slow start as we dialed in the boat and got through each of the crew mechanics the first time. We learned, we got better and while our results don’t show it, we were actually pretty competitive.
Today’s weather was perfect for frostbiting. Air temperatures on land in the high 50’s with a water temperature of 38. That created great thermal conditions and we had relatively steady wind that started around 8 and built to about 12 before coming back down to about 10 out of the SSW.
In the first race we had a good start, were 2nd at the windward mark and were the first boat to the leeward mark. Unfortunately for us we couldn’t get the spin halyard down and ended up sailing 1/2 mile past the leeward mark before we were able to free the halyard to retrieve it. We took a DNF in that one.
The 2nd race went much better for us. While we weren’t able to fix the core problem with the spin halyard, at least we knew the problem and could work around it. We ended up leading that race wire to wire. We did a great job picking the shifts on both upwind legs and kept a comfortable cover on the boats around.
For the 3rd race we had another great start, got to the windward mark first, but lost a boat downwind. On the 2nd upwind we got on the wrong side of the course as more pressure came from the other side dropping us back to 5th.
Overall the racing was really tight with only a few points separating the boats, but with our DNF we got the short end of the stick and wound up 5th overall. It was a great learning experience and I’m looking forward to going back in a couple weeks for the next frostbite day.