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When Sportboats Suck


When Sportboats Suck

Our first overnight race…

Last year I bought an Elliott 770 and raced it around the Boston area with a fair amount of success for my first year with my own racing boat. This year, we were looking to challenge the boat and crew and do a few different races, and one of the races my crew convinced me to do was the Beringer. "It’s an awesome race, a reach usually, light winds usually… blah blah blah…." pretty much right in the Elliott’s wheelhouse. I was pretty convinced that it’d be an interesting way to spend a night. If you don’t know, the Beringer is an overnight race from Marblehead to Provincetown, about 45 miles across Mass Bay. We threw some jacklines on the boat, got some running lights we could tape to the bow pulpit, made a half-fast attempt at Cat 3 readiness and went out to set the fleet on fire. Along the way, we learned a few lessons.

Lesson 1 is never undertake a major boat project right before the start of a race. The upshot was that the mast step on RockIt kept compressing. We’d been through two steps so far, and were waiting for the delivery of the third when I discovered what the problem was – the original mast heel had been assembled wrong by the guy from whom I’d bought the boat, and through stupidity and repeatability, we kept putting it back together the exact same way, just as wrong. Once I figured this out, we were ready to put the mast step back together properly – unfortunately, I didn’t have the requisite help until the Friday of the race, around 10 am. Things didn’t go exactly as planned, and a stuck screw nearly thwarted us from replacing the step. When we finally got it fixed and the mast back up, it was already 2:30, about a half-hour later than I wanted to be off the dock. Preparation is the name of the game.