Breeze on in St Thomas today! We had an 11 am start time for our “distance” race to Charlotte Amalie. Mike Rehe got a little excited this morning and we left the dock at 930 only to find out we were the 8th start. So after floating around for more than two hours in squalls with whipping rain, breeze on and big swells, we were ready with a proper game plan for our race.
We had a downwind start with the pin end super favored. With 5 match racers on our boat we aced the time to the pin and had a perfect set right as another squall rolled thru. It was a long downwind race and we managed to pull away pretty well from the fleet. We had perfect surfing swells but IC24 class rules disallow pumping of sails. It took all of our team’s will to hold back on pumping but we managed. After the long downwind we had a short beat and reach into the finish downtown. We didn’t protect the left side enough and the Puerto Rican team “Cachondo” passed us. It was pretty much a parade from there.
Race two was another super pin-end favored start with a puffy reach to the next mark. Taylor blocked everyone out on starboard tack and we started perfectly on port at the pin, leading everyone on the parade to the channel marker we needed to round. Sneaky Marco got into some more pressure and a lefty on the reach and passed us. The breeze and swells continued to build and we were left with a long upwind back east. He held onto the lead the rest of our windward leeward race and we finished 2nd.
Race three was a long windward beat back to the yacht club. Again we crushed the start at the pin (seems to be a trend…) and waited until we got to the rocks for a nice lefty off the shore. We forced the fleet to tack under us but as we sailed away from the shore the lefty faded and the boats to leeward gained. From there we just felt a bit off the pace in the big waves and breeze. We managed to grab a third for the race.
Thinking ahead to tomorrow, we are going to use our starts to our advantage and focus on getting up to speed. The RC can schedule up to 8 races on the windward/leeward course so it’s definitely going to be a marathon. We are ready to go and will be out there blinding the fleet in our neon green Team Line Honors shirts. Big shout out to our sponsor and the STIR for an awesome first day of racing!