The forecast for Saturday called for building N winds and waves but both conditions were on the moderate side as the RC set the course up for racing. We chose to go stay closer to harbor than normal given the wave forecast and the slight possibility for weather and set up about a mile SE of the CMRC races taking place at the same time.
Race 1 started in 7-9 knots and set on a course of 005. During the final minute to a start for the Etchells, two boats on opposite tacks made contact near the top of their masts, resulting in a broken mast for one of them. The disabled boat was towed in by the leeward markset boat while the other boat involved in the incident was able to start about 3 minutes late. As the now 7 Etchells made their way up the first beat, a dense fog rolled quickly down from the north, reducing visibility to just over a tenth of a nautical mile. Starts continued, however, with 4 T-10s, 6 Shields and 2 Luders sent off into the mist.
The fog began to lift as boats continued up the beat and the signal boat could see the lead Etchells’ spinnakers as they rounded the weather mark located 1.5 nm up the course. For the duration of Race 1 and 2 the wind stayed fairly steady in the 000 to 010 range with some kicks to the right. There was talk about moving to 010 during the races, but the wind always returned enough to warrant no change. Reports from the sailors indicated that the breeze was right shifted as they neared the top of the course, an observation that was consistent to what the RC experienced.
The Etchells started Race 3 on a 010 course, same distances, but all T-10s and Shields retired before their 3rd start. The two Luders, however, had just came off a tight Race 2, with a rare loss for Bill Simpson, and were game for a third race. They were started almost 25 minutes after the Etchells at 1350.
By now the breeze was consistently in the 12-18 knot range with 2-4 foot seas, including some occasional 6 footers. In fact, the conditions were such that a sick volunteer was taken ashore off Carrier by Keelboat Director Chuck N. during Race 2, but recovered well once on shore. As will happen with a new course set, the wind, which had been creeping right the first two races, banged left and held rock steady at 000. A Charlie to a new mark at that bearing was made and the final beat and run were square. The Luders, in another heated battle, finished Race 3 around 1455.
The race committee executed well in somewhat trying conditions, especially late in the day. On the signal boat, a remaining crew of 5 were able to provide quick turnarounds to the sailors while boats were finishing in Race 2. Robin F. handled the flags and was helped by Lisa G’s friend Jason, Rosemary I. recorded, Bob J. drove Carrier and was timer/sounds while PRO Erik S. and DRO Lisa G. called starts and the finish. Marine Superintendent Scott S. and new Interim Race Coordinator Grant E. on the leeward mark boat not only assisted in towed the disabled Etchells to harbor but were fast and prompt in executing directions, At the top of the course, Jeff G. fought off a some discomfort with the help of his crew Cynthia S. and they were fast and accurate in their actions. A really good day that ended with the clouds had mostly gone and a sunny ride back to Belmont.