Friday, October 23, 2015

October 20, 2015: LIGHT WIND SAILING

OCTOBER 20, 2015

It sure looked like a great night for sailing.  The wind was filling in nicely from the East.  All of the boats made it out of the harbor early for another early start.  With the short evenings we have been trying to get started by 5:45.  We missed this time by 5 minutes and started at 5:50.  The consensus on Pair A Dice was that the wind would hold and not dissipate.  We got way too ambitious and called for course 11A1:  Start, Blacks, Gov, start-finish.  With the quick start sequence, we were not able to set up appropriately and did not have a great start.  We watched as Kicks nailed the start right at the pin with great speed followed by Odonata and Pacific Spirit. 

Since we were blanketed by all 7 boats ahead, as soon as we cleared the start buoy, we tacked over for clear air and Odonata quickly tacked to cover us.  It was fine, we still had clear wind and were eventually able to pinch up enough to give them disturbed wind just before we got to the lay line for Blacks. As all boats converged on Blacks, Pacific Spirit was just ahead of Kicks which we followed on the long slog to Gov.  As the wind was dissipating, the boats were dropping out one by one and heading for the harbor.  Pacific Spirit was ghosting along (in the Halloween spirit) and we were doing our best to catch them.  We were trying every trick in the book to get whatever speed we could, but to no avail.  We called for a shortened course to finish at Gov.  Finally, as Pacific Spirit was approaching Gov, we were dead in the water with no wind.  We conceded the race to Pacific Spirit and headed for the harbor.
Light wind sailing tips:
We tried many tricks on our slog toward Gov.  First, we figured the current was stronger toward the beach.   Since it was a westerly current, we wanted to use it to our advantage.  This required sailing through the kelp beds and keeping a lookout on the bow to avoid the kelp. We also kept a sharp eye behind us for patches of wind and did what we could to sail into these patches.  For a while we seemed to be closing the gap with Pacific Spirit.  The wind was also oscillating between an Easterly and Northerly breeze, so we were changing the whisker pole from port to starboard and back as needed to maximize the effect on our speed.  Of course a clean bottom and minimal steering are critical in these situations.  It was all a great exercise, but alas it was to no avail.

Next week is the last Tuesday of the season and a barbecue at the yacht club to celebrate the end of a great season of sailing.  The club and bar will be open, so bring your best food for grilling and enjoy the festivities


The evening will be short, so be sure to get on the water early.

See you next week.

Barry Keeler

Sailing Pair A Dice

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