Came last today

31 May 2014

A cruiser pursuit race today - we did one of those last year, it's where each boat starts at a different time according to handicap and in theory we race to a photo-finish all close together.

Alan came with me, his first time in a cruiser though he's done time in the Wayfarers and I convinced him that Elsa was really an enlarged Wayfarer with a roof. Six boats went to sea and we were third away with our start time of 1314. About F2 to F3 wind so at least we were't drifitng around in the tide like the last couple of times. We crossed the start line only about 40 seconds late and set off south out towards the Omar mark. A long beat out to sea and it was apparent we weren't pointing as high as the others and we fell behind. We did take turns to helm and eat sandwiches so maybe we weren't concentrating enough! We were a bit 'that'll do' on the sail shape and we could have spent more time tweaking the genoa cars or something.

At Omar we bore away back towards the West mark, the two boats in front had got further ahead and some of the faster boats who'd started behind us were catching us fast. Nick in Free n Easy, nominally the slowest boat and therefore first away, was going really well and got his cruising chute up and pulling nicely, we couldn't catch him. Gybing aroud the West mark we had a long run parallel with the shoreline for a couple of miles past the river entrance to the Steel Can mark, against the tide, this took a while. All the faster boats, who'd started behind us, overtook us along this leg many of them with spinnakers and stuff. We were enjoying the sailing but we were clearly going to be well last.

Reaching the Steel Can we hardened up for one more beat out to the Outfall mark to the south, still last, and before we reached it the 3pm race finish was called. Nick was still in front of everyone so he got the win and it took us a further 20 mins or so to pass the finish point.

Back on the berth at 4pm we were in good spirits despite being last and I've got lots to think about. Maybe the bottom is dirty, I haven't scrubbed it this spring yet. Maybe spend more time on sail shape, maybe concentrate more when helming and leave the sandwiches till later!

Alan seemed to have a good time, we logged over 13 miles on the GPS trip meter, over three and a half hours at sea so a good day's sailing.


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