November was a good sailing month but a lousy one for Spray getting good starts!

The first racing event of November was on Saturday the 4th, the annual Sarasota Yacht Club Invitational Regatta, one of the SBYA BOTY events. I had left that day blank on the VSS racing calendar to accommodate the regatta but VSS scheduled a picnic and sail on Lemon Bay with the Englewood Sailing Association that day, so we had a conflict. I was planning on doing the SYC regatta, but several of my regular crew was committed to the Englewood event so we gave the SYC event a pass. Two Venice boats did go though, Bill Gately’s Fruition and Rolf Hahn’s Raegan-e, both sailing in the six boat Spinnaker Class. Raegan-e was 5th and Fruition 6th. The reults can be seen at http://www.sarasotabayyachting.org/BOTY_Current_Standings/BOTY_Current_Standings.html.

November 11 th was a beautiful sailing day by any standards, absolutely JAPSDIP (Just Another Sailing Day In Paradise). It was mostly sunny with a nice 12 to 17 knot NE breeze and the expected flat water. We had seven boats show up, which is an improvement from the participation we have had for the past few months.

We sailed the usual 5 NM (nearly) equilateral triangle. We had a discussion about whether to sail two 5 NM races or a two lap 10 NM one. I decided that two races would be better for most of us, and that’s the way it turned out. We sailed the course counterclockwise, marks to port. We (Spray) started the pursuit race behind Caribe Time, Bella Mer, Joy and Seas The Day and in front of Fruition and Raegan-e. We had a bit of a twist in our spinnaker at the start, but it got sorted out pretty soon but, behind us, Fruition had a series of chute problems and was falling further back while Raegan-e (without her chute) was gaining some. I had thought from the wind angle on the first leg that we would have trouble flying the chute on the second leg, so we did a Mexican takedown as we gybed around the first mark (“Irma”). At first it seemed that I may have been too cautious as it looked that we might have better off with it, but a few big puffs changed my mind.

Fruition gybed her chute at “Irma” and immediately began to have more tangles. Eventually she got her chute wound around her head stay and headed in under power for repairs.

On that leg we passed Caribe time and, even though Raegan-e caught up quite a bit, we rounded the second mark (“Maria”) in front of her. As soon as we started upwind we were pointing much higher than Joy and Bella Mer and it was obvious that we would pass them soon. Reagan-e and Seas The Day tacked to starboard and, since we had no one directly in front of us, we just stayed on port. The angles to the starboard tackers began looking good to me and so we kept on going. When we got near the starboard tack layline, we tacked and it looked like we would cross Seas The Day, which had been the lead boat. We did cross her by a length or two and she sailed behind us and tacked on our starboard hip. Once again, we were pointing higher and sailed up under her leeward bow, forcing her to tack, and that was the end of the story for her! The results were:

 

As you can see from the finish times the fleet was pretty strung out. Bella Mer and Caribe Time opted to not sail the second race while Fruition got her chute cleared and came back out ready to go. I sent the fleet off in a repeat of the first race. As we were hooking up the spinnaker for the first leg the halyard got away and it went almost completely out of reach. Eventually Jonathan Phillips did some climbing and jumping and grabbed it and got it hooked up. While I’m not sure exactly what happened, as one of the crew was driving, we got distracted watching the ballet and sailed to the wrong side of a starting mark and didn’t cross the line, so we had to turn around and get back up to the mark to start properly. Someone said that we were four minutes late getting across the line which seems about right as we should have started 2m 50s in front of Raegan-e but actually we were well behind her. Fruition didn’t fly a spinnaker which may mean they decided it was bad karma or they may have damaged it during the tangles of the first race. I hope it was the karma thing.

Despite our very late start we did begin to catch the front-runners as we approached the second mark. As before, we took a long starboard tack until we got near the layline. Shortly after we tacked we got a nice lift and we could ease the sheets a bit, passing Joy and Fruition. Here are the results:

This time you can see from these finish times that the fleet was much closer together, with the first four being within a single minute.

As mentioned, above on Saturday, 11/4, VSS had a joint picnic and sail with the Englewood Sailing Association at their facility at Indian Mound Park on Lemon Bay. Some of our sailors who own small boats took them down and ESA made a boat available for guests. The ESA members were told that they might be able to get a crew spot on a big boat if they came to our skippers’ meeting, and some did come. Fruition took one visitor, Raegan-e had two as did Spray. I don’t know if anyone was left out, but I hope not. Also, Bill Walker, who has been sailing on Spray recently had two sons visiting and he brought them along as well, so we had a pretty big crowd of 11 on board. Two of my valuable regulars were out of town today and I missed them, but maybe their absence was for the best!

November 18th was yet another beautiful day on the Gulf, definitely JAPSDIP. The wind as a bit lighter than ideal, but nice anyway, especially compared to the truly lousy forecast we had all week. We had a reasonable 7-8 knot WSW breeze all through the race period, much better than the 3 knot forecast. We had five boats turn out. The wind was from the WSW and so I called for a clockwise 5 NM course, once around the equilateral triangle (marks to starboard). Spray (us) was supposed to start behind Caribe Time and Seas The Day and in front of Fruition and Raegan-e, but due to a stupid mistake by our idiot time keeper we started ~ 6m 50s late, well behind everyone! What I did was to write down the start time for Spray for a 10 NM course and didn’t understand what had happened until Fruition and Raegan-e started, so by the time we got to the starting line we were nearly 7m late. We had a very good first leg going to windward and caught and passed Caribe Time and Seas the Day by the first mark, and gained significantly on Raegan-e and Fruition. Raegan-e was first around followed by Fruition. The second and third legs were reaches, and all the boats except Caribe Time flew spinnakers. Seas The Day passed Caribe Time early on the second leg and there was no passing after that. The wind was light and decreasing, so I called it a day and we all went in.