that's a second right there

We haven’t heard from our friend Kevin Hall for a while so we are very stoked about this report from Quantum Racing’s unbelievably close win at KWRW. You do know that Kevin wrote a superb book, right? Starting  tomorrow, March 10, at 8am PST, Black Sails White Rabbits; Cancer Was the Easy Partwill be on sale on Kindle for 99 cents for 36 hours. Get it here!…

quantum maxAt the conclusion of Quantum Key West Race Week 2016 this past Januarythe word on the dock and in the media was that in IRC1, the racing was close.

The winning boat, Quantum Racing, prevailed over Steve & Heidi Benjamin’s TP52 Spookie by half a point after nine races. Both teams had four 1sts, three 2nds, a 3rd, and one other race.

Sound close? It was actually much closer than that. The entire event came down to less than one second.

Three TP52s raced the week of medium to heavy breezes configured a little differently, and had IRC ratings of 1.416 for Quantum Racing (configured as a class-legal TP52), 1.394 for Spookie (with a taller mast), and 1.393 for Gladiator (optimized for IRC).

In Race Six, Spookie sailed a beautiful race, winning by over two minutes corrected. Occasional fleet spoiler Interlodge, a Botin 44, finished second on corrected time. Quantum Racing beat Gladiator over the line by 1:10 after seventy minutes of racing, only to tie on corrected time. Each boat earned 3.5 points. Had we slammed one more wave, overstood the finish pin by one and half seconds, or simply had one bad tack in race six, Spookie would have won the regatta instead of us.

But that was just the obvious place to look. There was Race One, where Spookie beat Gladiator by only eight seconds, and Gladiator beat Quantum Racing by just one second corrected. Race Five, Spookie beat Quantum Racing by eleven seconds corrected.

On the penultimate day, the race committee started the fleets early, much to their credit. Looking ahead a day, there was a decent chance the racing would get blown out again (it’s never like this!).

We were down 2.5 points to Spookie going into race seven on Quantum Racing. Game on. We sailed a phenomenal race, and Spookie didn’t have their best performance, so it was our turn to win by two minutes. The next race, they followed us down the last run, and gybed on our line into the finish. Both boats knew it would be close. We won by just six seconds. In what turned out to be the final race of the regatta, we again had to pick our own layline into the finish and hope we got it right, knowing the last puff could decide the day and maybe even the regatta. Again Spookie gybed exactly on our line, presumably thinking they were correcting out on us. Again we got a nice little header and a few good waves into the finish, and won by a scant six seconds. We were back up by half a point, and racing was canceled the last day.

You know when you see those pictures of a couple lonely people on the rail at the top mark, hiking as hard as they can while the rest of the boat gets the kite up? There’s a second. Those smooth fans of kite and main on the surges add up, even if it’s not a full pump/surf, as do the times the person calling the wind gets it spot on and predicts not only the puff but also the lift. Packing the kite quickly and getting hiking again, there’s a second…you get the picture.

Fighting for every foot around the course is much easier to do in one-design racing than in handicap racing. It’s obvious that foot might be the crucial cross etc., etc. In handicap racing, it takes a lot of discipline for every person on the boat to fight for every inch the entire race, but it can make all the difference when it’s time to hit the Mount Gay.
On another note, and an important one, a big shout out to the IRC rule and measurers. Clearly, when the boats are similar and the racing is good, the rule is working perfectly. Photo thanks to Max Ranchi.