Sunday, June 01, 2008

Races at South Hamton Shoal - Always a Bride's Maid, Never a Bride

My camera's battery died, so no pictures... sorry.

The races at South Hampton Shoal are usually dreaded because we float over on and flood and slam back through the usual wind and ebb... and fog and crossing the shipping channel. Makes for a good test of your equipment and your courage. Last time we went over to that area we were heading back in such conditions with 35 knot winds and when we got to Point Blunt I made an executive decision and turned around and go through Raccoon Straights, which looked way more civilized. Preserve the equipment to sail another day. I had other reasons as well, the boom kept slipping down the track on the mast, the vang attachment points kept slipping forward because I didn't drill the holes through like Panda had warned me about and the crack in the starboard chain plate mounting bracket wasn't getting smaller... those things just don't fix themselves. Tom Reed jr. was to leeward of us and about to dive into the fog when we turned around. It makes sense that he didn't no where we had gone. We also got stuck in the lee of Angel Island and floated along for a good half hour before making into the straights. Once we got there it was just as it looked; calmer, flatter and rather peaceful. We reached across the channel and made it back in one piece a hour or so after everyone else had returned. I guess we were missed because Leann called the Coast Guard to look for us since the chain plate things was known and they lost track of us at the toughest point in the return trip... it's nice to be looked out for and that's what I love about the Folkboat group, safety in numbers. My VHF is going to be returned to West Marine... as soon as a drop of water gets on it, it doesn't work! So, I couldn't communicate that way and my cell phone was in the car.
Anyway, this time the situation was very different. We jammed over on a flood, so much so that for the first time ever racing over in this area I had over an hour to get ready and talk teamwork with the crew. The racing was great, 10-20 out of the south west with interesting shifts in the middle of the course. The first race we had a sick leeward rounding in traffic in went form 6th to 3rd and on the last beat snipped Peter for 2nd place. Wilson took 1st. In the 2nd race we were 1st to the windward mark, just barely missing Tom jr., Goebel didn't fair as well and hit the mark and fouled Tom. We went deep to the left to protect our inside and Peter and Wilson pursued. We gave up 2 positions with this move, but after the leeward rounding we went right and everybody else went left and as much as I thought we were going to get dogged is as far ahead of the rest of fleet we ended up, kinda surprised me. We pulled up to the windward mark in 2nd and achieved inside overlap down wind, but the separated too much and Bill D. had better wind and moved ahead by several boat lengths. We tried to catch him, but didn't. So, two 2nd places on the day and Wilson and Peter were behind us with boats between us.
In the return trip I found good company as most decided to go through Raccoon Straights. It was a very nice sail, more like a parade and many other boats were just cruising around. Some rookie in a Hunter was floundering around trying to fly a spinnaker, we all steered clear. Goebel went to usual way and beat us, but I think the rest of us had more fun.


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