Heading into Saturday’s racing the forecast looked very promising. In the end, it did not disappoint. Conditions on Saturday saw clear skies, decent breeze, and lots and lots of great sailing. We had seventeen boats on the line for a total of seven races. It’s rare that we’re able to have more than six races in a day, so to get seven was quite an achievement. There was not a cloud to be seen, and the constant sunshine helped offset the chilly temperatures. On the pier the high for the day was 32 degrees, but with wind chill it felt about 22 degrees.
The wind was out of the NW with speeds anywhere between 5-15 knots. Our starting line was directly in the middle of the harbor, with windward marks near Commercial Wharf in the North End. Winds were not terribly shifty. There were some slight shifts to be found throughout the day (more on that later), and there were also plenty of holes. A few of these on downwind legs definitely compressed the fleet at times, and made for some very close finishes.
Race 1 had an exciting start that had Niko Kotsatos / David Chudzicki almost OCS at the start, but who were able to stay clear. Also on the line with speed was Zack and Mike O’Brien. Those two boats would be the first to round the leewards, opting for the right gate, and continuing up the right side of the course. They were followed closely by Marty Gallagher / Sandy Hayes, and also Anne Marije Veenland-Lee / Jacob Vick. Almost every boat opted to take the right gate as it was slightly more upwind, and appeared to have better pressure on that side. Kotsatos / Chudzicki maintained their lead throughout the race and finished ahead of Gallagher / Hayes in 2nd and Veenland-Lee / Vick in 3rd.
Because the wind had gone slightly right, we moved the windward marks right in between races 1 and 2. Other than a slight adjustment to the leeward gate after race 2, that was the only change to the course we were forced to make all day. Usually there is constant moving due to wind shifts, but luckily this was not the case. It’s because of this that we were able to squeeze in seven races on the day. The start at Race 2 was extremely crowded with a large cluster right at the boat end. This group arrived at the line about 20 seconds too early. After a little bumping and a foul or two, one boat was pushed over OCS as the rest were able to exonerate themselves. The leeward round was interesting due to the fact that the right gate had drifted downwind about 20 feet, before finally coming to rest. At the leeward rounding it was Kotsatos / Chudzicki and Gallagher / Hayes about 30 seconds ahead of the rest of the fleet. Kotsatos took the clearly favored left gate, and Gallagher / Olsen went right. Most of the fleet took the favored gate. However the gamble worked for Gallagher / Hayes as they were able to sneak past and into first place.
Race 3 had another close start, but Kotsatos / Chudzicki seemed to have won the pin. Gallagher / Hayes won the boat, and Jen Bodde / Dylan Callahan had a great start in the middle. But at the leeward roundings it would be Reade Everett / Dana Robinson who emerged as the leader. The took the right gate and continued followed by Stephen Uhl / Rebecca Mount and Kotsatos / Chudzicki. Gallagher / Hayes took the left side, and Kotsatos / Chudzicki ended up tacking fairly quickly and going back left as well. At this point in the day, teams were noticing that despite what looked like more pressure on the right side, it was the left side that was receiving a lift along the shoreline. Usually the wind shadow keeps boats away from that side, but today boats were rewarded for their decision to stay left. Also on the last downwind leg, the wind died for a short time, making for a few very tight finishes. Everett / Robinson held their lead and finished ahead of Manlio Lopez / Cole Constantineau and Kotsatos / Chudzicki.
In Race 4 Bodde / Callahan had another strong start, and Matt Marston / Cheney Brand won the boat end with plenty of speed. For a good portion of the day, the sun was directly in line with the pin. Trying to look down the line while also not staring directly into the sun was challenging all day long. At the leewards Uhl / Mount were 10 boat lengths ahead of the rest of the fleet. They took the left gate and headed up the now-favored left hand side, even though the right gate was clearly farther upwind. Rounding behind them were Carolyn Marsh / Claire Brodie and Lopez / Constantineau who both opted to go right instead. Veenland-Lee / Vick rounded in 7th place and were the 2nd boat to take the left gate after Uhl / Mount. This ultimately paid off as they were able to sneak past almost everybody into 2nd place. Congrats to Uhl / Mount for taking the bullet, it wouldn’t be their only on the day.
At the start of race 5 again it was Marston / Brand who won the boat, but Lopez / Constantineau and JF Gillou / Judy Krimski also had very strong starts. On the pin end of the line, Uhl / Mount and Gallagher / Hayes looked to be involved in some pretty exciting match racing too. Everett / Robinson rounded first and went left, with Marston / Brand rounding second and going right. Gillou / Krimski rounded in 3rd and went left and Lopez / Constantineau went right. Kotsatos / Chudzicki rounded in fifth but still managed to pick up two spots to 3rd overall by staying to the left. Marston / Brand would come in 2nd and Everett / Robinson held on to their lead for their second bullet of the day. In Race 6 it was Peter Denham / Luke Leafgren with an excellent start. But Everett / Robinson could not be stopped. They rounded the leewards again in first place, and again took another bullet, their 3rd on the day.
Due to the wind direction, we were able to run a course 5 as the last race of the day, Race 7. A course 5 means that the last leg is an upwind leg that finishes between the windward mark, and the RC boat. Because we were moving the committee boat during the race, I don’t have any notes as to what actually occurred. However the final scores tell me that it was Uhl / Mount who took first place, followed by Kotsatos / Chudzicki and Zack and Mike O’Brien.
Everett / Robinson had a great day from start to finish. They were the only boat in the fleet not to have a finish in double digits. Usually it’s that kind of consistency that is needed to win the day, it what worked for them last week. This week though it would not be enough. Kotsatos / Chudzicki were able to sneak in ahead of them, 27 points to 29. Their 12th place finish in Race 4 was not enough to hold them back. Heading into Week 5 our leaders are still Everett / Robinson / McAllister. The standings are all very close and there is currently a tie for 4th place. There is still lots more racing to happen next week. It should be exciting!
Congrats to all our racers for coming out on such a cold day, and a special congrats to our top 5 finishers…
Niko Kotsatos and David Chudzicki – 27 points
Reade Everett and Dana Robinson – 29 points
Steve Uhl and Rebecca Mount – 36 points
Marty Gallagher and Sandy Hayes – 44 points
Manlio Lopez and Cole Constantineau – 44 points
Don’t forget to check out all of the scores that have been updated this week. We will be having awards at Pier 6 after racing next week, please come join us! The forecast for next Saturday is looking a bit more warmer, but there could be some rain. Although you all know there’s no point in checking the weather until Thursday really. I’ll be in touch on Friday for our Week 5 preview, and I look forward to seeing you all again next week.
Nate and the Courageous Frostbite Team