Smoke Signals

Smoke Signals

The SA Forums continue to provide some of the best reading anywhere in sailing, especially as on board technology gets better and better.  The thread on last weekend’s Vineyard Race is a great example, with many of us watching the drama unfold in real time as sailors updated us from boats throughout the fleet with text and pics.  We read of Rail Meat’s heartbreak as his Class 40 “Dragon” retired after sailing the wrong course along with almost eight other experienced competitors (and found out about it on the forum), deepsea and our boys from King’s Point on Vanquish holding off Rambler and the new Titan far longer than you might expect, bleedsailing switching on the Yanmar, J_T on Shooting Star, RandomSailor’s crew on Thin Man retiring after learning they’d missed a mark of the course, and loads more.  Here’s a more upbeat final report fromInNeedOfSomeRestraint aboard Partnership:

Well after 11 hours of sleep I can look back and say that this was perhaps the most fun of any race that I’ve ever done. Drifting and spinning in circles included.

What I said about the first person getting breeze being untouchable was spot on. The AmGirl, Orbit and Avalance went far out into the sound while we buried outselves deep in Black Rock harbor followed by Beagle. Then, a breeze filled in from the Northwest while we were eating dinner and we tacked up the harbor to keep in the breeze and shot out within touching distance of Penfield light. We basically ate up the distance between the two boats in a matter of 20 minutes and upon passing Sunken Island we popped the 1.5A and smoked down (relatively) at 7 knots to G1 from there. We knew that we owed Beagle about 9 minutes and we had to recoup that because when we got the wind the distance between us was no more than 100 yards. By the time we had reached G1 we had extended our lead on Beagle by about a minute. From here on out we knew we had corrected over Avalanche, Orbit and American Girl (American Bitch as my watch captain called them) and that we were in a drag race with Beagle for the next 9 miles. For anybody that has spent an hour and a half in a sprint trying to get seconds on another boat you know how it felt. To those who haven’t I will just say that it was the highest stress level point of the race for everyone. Being a lighter boat we would stop in momentary lulls and they would have momentum carrying them through it meaning that their bow lights got too close for comfort. Eventually something we did enabled us to put on the afterburners and leave them in the dust. We had our best douse of the race going around The Cows and our preliminary stopwatch timimg told us that we had them by 10 seconds. We crossed the line and stood holding our breath as they finished outside our thinking of how much we owed them.

We motored home in an excited mood getting more and more pumped as we passed AVRA, Rocket Science and Great Shoal an hour out. We got in at midnight and sadly our two teammates Alibi and Afterglow were already at the dock, apparently they succumbed to the race. Cleaning up the boat took an hour and sleep took a minute. Photo thanks to Chris Gasiorek.