On February 2nd we watched Groundhog Day in the boathouse. We also had sixteen boats on the line for seven challenging races. Temperatures were chilly, with the high barely reaching 30 for the day. The RC boat was set close to the Nantucket light ship along East Boston, with windward marks in front of the Fort Point channel. The forecast for the day called for a small craft advisory with winds upwards of 25 knots. Luckily that turned out to be mostly untrue. While there were a few gusts throughout the day, the wind was on the lighter side for the most part. The challenge was the shifts. This day was incredibly shifty with numerous righties and lefties without any kind of pattern. We were able to find the middle of the shifts somewhere around the Fort Point Channel and placed the windwards there.
Race 1 started with most of the fleet OCS and there was a general recall. The restart was clear and the three boats closest to the line with clear air were Bob Coyle/Ken Delpapa, Reade Everett/Amanda Lyall, and Andrew Reynolds/Victoria Kyle. There was a large pile up at the boat end and I definitely heard a protest hail or two. Coyle/Delpapa were the first to the leewards and went right, followed by Everett/Lyall, Luke Leafgren/Conant Brewer and Bryan Lee/AnneMarije Veenland-Lee. The wind phase was in the midst of a big righty and the first 8 boats around the marks all opted for the right gate. As the boats were coming back down to finish Coyle/Delpapa were headed to the boat end, while Everett/Lyall headed towards the pin. A decent puff developed near the pin and Everett/Lyall took the extra velocity and the bullet, with Veenland/Lee coming in third.
The wind picked up a bit for the start of race 2. Jen Bodde/Dylan Callahan and Reynolds/Kyle seemed to have the best start. Steve Uhl/Rebecca Mount closed the door at the boat end and Manlio Lopez/Cole Constantineau were shut out and had to circle back around. The wind died with less than 30 seconds to the start and it was a slow trip up the first leg. This time the right side of the course seemed to have more breeze. We tried to adjust the gate during the race, but the right gate drifted a bit and ended up being downwind of the other by about 3 boat lengths. However the right side was still favored and the first two boats around, Veenland/Lee and Bodde/Callahan still took the right gate. Everett/Lyall opted for the more favored gate and went left, but unfortunately it didn't pay off. Bodde/Callahan were able to pass into 1st, with Veenland/Lee in 2nd and Leafgren/Brewer in 3rd.
Race 3 started with Coyle/Delpapa OCS at the start, but the I flag was not up, and they were able to quickly clear themselves and still managed a good start. The leeward rounding had 10 boats closely grouped together with Lopez/Constantineau the first to go right and Leafgren/Brewer opting for the left. Veenland/Lee rounded in 3rd and went right. They jumped two spots into first by the finish. Coyle/Delpapa despite their earlier OCS managed to get inside of a big group of boats at the rounding. They would jump all the way up to 2nd and Lopez/Constantineau finished in 3rd. This race had probably the lightest wind overall on the day, and was definitely the longest, clocking in at 38 minutes.
Race 4 had most of the fleet on the line. Lopez/Constantineau were about 3 inches OCS with 10 seconds to go but quickly realized it and were able to duck in time. Everett/Lyall were next closest to the line along with Bodde/Callahan. The upwind leg like all of the other upwind legs had frequent shifts on both sides. In talking with Lopez/Constantineau at the bar afterwards, they likened it more to sailing on the Charles, than the harbor. Their game plan for the day was to just stay in the middle, and tack on the headers, at that seemed to work out for them as they rounded the leewards 20 seconds ahead of the next boat and went right. Veenland/Lee and Coyle/Delpapa rounded next and went right while Everett/Lyall and Bodde/Callahan went left. Rounding in 5th was Reynolds/Kyle who managed to jump up a few spots and finish in 2nd, with Coyle/Delpapa coming in 3rd.
Race 5 started with a general recall and the I flag was flown. All boats were clear on the restart, and there were quite a few boats close together on the line but it appeared that Reynolds/Kyle, Neal Goldman/Jennifer Rousmaniere and Everett/Lyall found themselves in the best position. Rounding at the leewards again in first were Lopez/Constantineau followed by Coyle/Delpapa and Reynolds/Kyle. All three would go right. Everett/Lyall decided to go left this race which ultimately did not work out for them as they would drop a few spots. Nobody could catch Lopez Constantineau who got their 2nd bullet, with Leafgren/Brewer coming in 2nd and Coyle/Delpapa in 3rd.
Race 6 started with the I flag up, not because of a general recall, but because we had word that a car carrier was coming out. If you've never seen one, these boats are gigantic and we wanted to ensure that we could get a race in. We had one boat who was just slightly OCS at the start. They were stuck in the middle of the fleet and it took a while for them to reach an end of the line to clear themselves, since the I flag was up. As the boats were approaching the windward marks we were able to see the car carrier coming and we were forced to shorten the race. When we shorten you will see one of our safety boats fly the "S" flag which is a white field with a blue square in the middle. The finish line becomes the line between the two gates. Everett/Lyall got their second bullet of the day ahead of Lopez/Constantineau and Reynolds/Kyle.
At 2:45pm we started Race 7. The wind was light but boats were aggressive and on the line. Like they had been for most of the day, Lopez/Constantineau and Everett/Lyall were right up on the line, this time with Greg Howard and Goldman/Rousmaniere. At the leewards it was those four boats who rounded with Reynolds/Kyle in 5th. Reynolds/Kyle managed to read the shifts and jumped up and finish 2nd, but couldn't catch Lopez/Constantineau. Their gameplan of staying in the middle and tacking on headers paid of all day long for them. They never finished worse than 5th and their consistency one them the day by 9 points. Congrats to everyone who raced and to our top 5 who were...
Manlio Lopez and Cole Constantineau - 17 points
Reade Everett and Amanda Lyall - 26 points
Bryan Lee and AnneMarije Veenland-Lee - 27 points
Bob Coyle and Ken Delpapa - 35 points
Jen Bodde and Dylan Callahan - 38 points