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1:30 am – Planning the next sail maneuver on the race course.

@ 19:37 GMT
Position: 42º 02.716′ N x 70º 10.946′ W
Course: At anchor
Speed: 0 kts

Sitting on a mooring this afternoon in Provincetown before heading home for a night of sleep we are reflecting on the last 24 hours and what we enjoyed. I have been sailing with Lauren Zike, from Sail For Epilepsy, and though she has extensive offshore passage experience, she had never previously used spinnakers nor been in a race. We changed that this week. I enjoy teaching and we spent time, when there was no fog, going through various sail maneuvers that might be needed.  In a race, when it’s needed it has to be done. This might be changing a spinnaker or moving it to the other side of the boat, while still sailing, a process called the gybe.  (On Sail For Epilepsy we have three asymmetric spinnakers – these are larger sails that are used for downwind sailing. We have an A0, A2, and A3 which are used for different wind angles and wind speeds. See Cepheus’ Sail Plan.)

Prior to the Beringer Bowl overnight race I decided that if Lauren were racing with me in a doublehanded race (two people only) then she would take full responsibility for at least half the tasks. She wouldn’t be along for the ride but would be a co-captain able to do all of the sailing maneuvers. We practiced during the day on Friday, returned to Marblehead for a rest, then set off for a 7:30pm race start. We made a great start and headed upwind towards Boston. Then came the first real test. We turned around a course designated buoy (its called a mark on the race course) and needed to make our first sail change. Lauren went to the bow of the boat, connected the A0, and as we turned towards Provincetown, we hoisted the sail flawlessly and picked up speed. It was an impressive sail change. Soon, we realized we needed to change to a different A sail, the A3. So now we had to wrestle down the A0, and put the A3 up. Even more difficult. Other than a few little hiccups, it worked. I had now gained confidence and decided Lauren was ready for me to throw things at her. So the sail changes started in fury. 

Crossing the finish line at 04:35. We finished 5th in our class, just 2 minutes behind the 4th place finisher.

We made it to the finish line in diminishing breeze – about 2 knots and slowly got the boat there at 04:35. I love it when the wind is low and you have to tweak every little part of your sails to get an extra 0.1 kt out of the boat. We certainly did that. I love race starts where boats are jockeying for space. The first hoist of the A0 near Boston was excellent and memorable. Lauren saw a shooting star. I always love to sail at night and enjoy looking at the constellations, especially the big dipper and north star, as I have said before. But the final enjoyment was picking up a mooring in Provincetown sitting in the cockpit for 30 minutes to unwind with the sun rising. Another successful night sail in the bag.

2 thoughts on “The Race

    1. Coop – I couldn’t believe how similar. The only difference being we didn’t turn at the finish and deliver straight back to RI

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