Yesterday BCYC hosted a group of laser sailors for a regatta race. This was part of a travelling series for them and once a month they hold a race somewhere around the Tampa Bay area. I follow a laser sailor’s blog (Proper Course) and find it pretty interesting, so I was excited for the chance to see them in action. (Image from the La Crosse sailing club in Wisconsin.
The powers that be at the club decided to also hold a race using our club’s Catalina Capri 16.5’s.
This is the boat we race on Tuesdays, and requires a minimum of two people. The Capn holds the tiller and steers the boat and also controls the main sail (the big one in the back). The crew is responsible for the jib (the smaller sail in the front). Typically, whenever the boat turns the jib tender has to pop the line out of the cleat on one side of the boat and pull in the line on the other and then secure it in the other cleat. At the same time the Capn is using the tiller to turn the boat, jumping to the other side, and the main sail comes across the middle. Apparently it’s easy to screw these two maneuvers up, as we demonstrated often.
It has rained all week, and before that our last two Tuesday night sailing races have been cancelled due to super low tides coinciding exactly with the time we’d have to pull the boats out of the water after the race. When the tide is low, there isn’t enough water depth to get the boats back to the hoist dock. When that happens, I just take a sunfish out, because it’s pretty easy to just drag it out at the beach. Besides, I really like the sunfish. I wish I could find a group that races them.
The race course looked like this:
Each race took around 25 minutes. We did five races. The lasers did around 7. The race committe started the lasers first, then as they rounded the second mark and headed back upwind, they started us Capri’s. Then the lasers would finish their race, and as the Capri’s rounded the second mark, the lasers would start again. They miscalculated once and the lasers started their race as the Capri’s where coming to the mark. That was interesting as the 3 Capris in the lead were charging into the 5 lasers starting! No collisions occurred, and the lasers restarted.
Our performance impressed some of the old timers at the club. They know I’ve only raced a few times on Tuesday so I don’t have much experience. Our results where Third, First, Second, Fourth, First. For a total of 11 points. Sometimes they throw out the lowest score, and in that case we had 7 points. Since the Capri races where sort of thrown together, there were no race sailing instructions that made it clear which method would be used. If you don’t throw out the bad one, we tied for second but then lost the tie breaker to come in third. If you DO throw out the lowest score, WE CAME IN FIRST! ha!
SAILING LESSON: As we came downwind on the last race, the boat a few boat lengths behind us was catching up. You would think we would go the same speed since it is the same boat design, but what was happening is that we were getting “dirty” air. The boat behind us was positioning their boat so that their sails would be right in the path of the wind as it came to our sail. That meant that instead of getting the full strength wind they were getting, we only got some of it, much the same way when you put a building between yourself and the wind you will be sheltered from it. We were sort of doing the same as them to the boat in front of us, and we both (us and the boat behind) caught up to it. I came off to the left side of the boat in front, and then the boat behind me started covering the boat in front. That allowed me to scoot past and then it was a photo finish as the three of us crossed the finish line. That was the last race and our second win!
Wow, sailing is fun, and racing is fun too!