it is what it is
Racing of the Little AC started today in a 15-18 knot breeze in Newport, when Alpha sailed by Glenn Ashby and James Spithill sent the first salvo by port tacking the fleet in the first race. Canaan followed to the right, with Orion, Aethon and Invictus choosing the left. Then things got interesting. Just a few minutes after the start the C-Class lost one of its most valuable assets when Steve Clark’s Aethon capsized going upwind. During the flip, Clark slid off the windward hull, 14 feet in the air and backsplashed into the precious Cogito wing which dominated the competition for over 10 years before the 2007 I4C, turning it into carbon scraps. Watch it in our intro video here.
The action wasn’t over though, as Fred Eaton and Magnus Clarke aboard Canaan fought Alpha all three laps of the race. After four lead changes in race 1, Canaan had the lead into the last gybe, but they weren’t able to power up fast enough and Alpha barely nipped them at the finish. Invictus came across in third quite far back after being late for the start.
Orion and Patient Lady VI all had their own problems to deal with. During the first race Orion lost their rig when their starboard chainplate pulled out. The very experienced Canadian composite contingent will work around the clock to exact composite repairs on the chainplate and a few broken ribs in the wing from the fall. I know this: it’s nothing these guys can’t handle.
Patient Lady VI’s L shaped rudders are both broken, but they’ll be fixed by tomorrow, I assure you.
Alpha led wire-to-wire in the second race, with Glenn Ashby displaying his world champion A-Cat style big breeze downwind sailing skills. With less volume in the bow, Canaan backed off a little and went for the least choppy part of the course downwind, the goal being to finish the race and save the boat for the Championship round. After breaking one rudder, Patient Lady VI was able to finish ahead of Invictus, who became hung up on the start pin and later broke their port daggerboard while on a reach when they overstood the top mark in race two. They had to sail all of race three without it. Invictus doesn’t have any spares, so they might borrow a daggerboard from the Canadians. It won’t fit their current trunk so there’s another team that won’t get much sleep tonight.
The breeze lightened up and the chop died down for the third and final race of the day. Alpha lined up on top of Canaan and they both had a good port start. Alpha lost their mainsheet for just a couple seconds during the drag race to the layline, which gave Eaton and Clark aboard Canaan a window of opportunity. They went all the way to the starboard layline and Alpha never saw them again. Fred and Magnus aboard Canaan were getting settled in and their wing was really working for them downwind.
Every team I talked to today who had issues said the same thing, which might just be the slogan for the class: “It is what it is.” They are used to making repairs on their boats and totally destroying equipment. Oddly enough the only cat that isn’t getting worked on tonight is Clark’s Aethon because, as he put it during a great wing panel discussion under the tent, “I did a better job breaking it.” Watch the full discussion here.
Tomorrow the breeze should be less than today, so we can see more close matchups with all but one boat racing. We will be live before the first start gun at 1100 for all the action. Hit the forum to catch up on all of the action, and look for more of Mer’s absolutely incredible shots from today in the thread or at LittleAC.com.