The final day of racing at the Screwpile Regatta and hallelujah we had good wind for sailing! Today’s schedule was 2-3 buoy races under partly cloudy skies and high 80’s temperatures.
The racing today was really pretty fun. We were right in the thick of it with boats all around us all the way around the course.
Upwind it was a choice between better pressure on the left and a right trending wind along with adverse current on the left. Downwind we had great sets and worked for clear air.
We sailed well, didn’t make any major mistakes and closed out the final two races with a 5-4 putting us in 6th place for the regatta. Thanks Sam for having me aboard. It was great sailing with you, Mayo, Mark, Melissa, Chris, Bonnie, Lauren and Ed.
Saturday was distance race day at the Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge Regatta. The regatta has a new format for this year where we buoy race on Friday and Sunday with a distance race in the middle. The conditions were good for racing – about 8 knots with mostly overcast skies – a little atypical for this regatta this time of year when we’re used to sunny skies, scorching temperatures and no wind.
In this race we were a pinch late at the pin end of the line and watched a few of the faster boats in the water drive to windward of us. For the most part we were low enough to keep a clear lane, but they put some distance between us. After the first mostly upwind leg, the course took us on a couple of close reaches down the bay. Some of the boats with sails that were close reachers or windseekers were able stretch out in front of us a bit. We put up our spinnaker late in the leg once the angles were right.
Once we made the turn back in to the Patuxent River the wind started to get lighter allowing us to catch up to the boats already in the river. We rode the wind down the right side of the course as we converged with the smaller boats that had been sailing various courses. There were plenty of crossing situations and boats to be on the lookout for, and it probably made for some great pictures from the helicopter taking pictures of all of the spinnakers in the river.
One thing that worked really well for us was having me sitting on the rail with an iPad around my neck doing the charter plotting. We had the boat instruments working as well, but having real time information where we were without having to go below helped keep us on track and out of trouble.
When the leaders in our fleet were about a mile ahead of us at the last turn to the finish, we saw something unusual happen. Bad Cat – a local boat with a little over a 7′ draft had run aground in the channel. A minute later VooDoo 2 was rafted up next to them hard aground. A third boat from another fleet wound up next to them as well. We just sailed right on by and were pretty happy with a 6th place finish.
Following racing we had a great cookout with the crews from Persuit, Horizon, GOIN’, Cheeky Monkey hosted by VooDoo 2.
Here’s what we sailed today. The blue line is the course and the red dotted line mostly right along side the blue line is our plot.
We had some pretty light winds to start the Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge Regatta in Solomon’s Maryland. I am sailing on Sam Mitchener’s J/109 Double Eagle this weekend and we are rated as the slowest boat along with the other J/109 in the 10-boat PHRF-A1 fleet.
In the first race on Friday we got a good start near the pin in clear air. We worked our way up the 1-mile leg and rounded in the middle of the pack. On the downwind leg the wind started to go from light to lighter. We rounded the leeward mark and started making our way out to the right side of the course following most of the rest of the fleet. Three boats behind us rafted up at the leeward mark and the wind completely shut off.
For the next hour and half we would float around trying to make distance towards the now-shortened coarse at the windward mark. At one point we had the anchor down to prevent us from being swept away from the mark by the current. Many other boats did the same. Ultimately, the boats rafted up at the mark came from behind everyone to catch just enough of a breeze on the left side of the course to finish. 4 boats got across the line before the timeline, and the rest of the fleet took at TLE/6. Quite a frustrating day of sailing being out on the water with no wind, a lot of current and not being able to even sail the course. With two more days of racing ahead lets hope the racing only improves.