Week 6 was indeed a soggy day on the race course. The day started off with a little fog and no breeze. The forecast was for winds out of the East at 5 knots, but we weren't really seeing anything above 2. We decided to postpone for 30 minutes and wait for the wind to fill in. By 12pm we had a slight breeze starting to build out of the ESE. With that breeze also came rain. It wasn't a heavy rain, but more of a light consistent mist. Luckily temperatures were holding out in the mid 40's. Had in been 10 degrees colder, it would have been really unpleasant.
Our race course was set up in a different location than usual. The wind was coming from the park next to the Eddy building in Eastie. We placed the windward marks in the cove in front of that park, with just enough room for the Casino shuttles to get by. The starting line was set off of Pier 4, right next to the Courageous docks. It was a bit of a shorter course than usual, but with the light wind the shorter course was necessary.
The big factor on the day was current. Boy was there a lot of it. We had all the water emptying from the Charles running from the bottom to the top of the course. Also along the left side of the course you could find a little current going left to right coming from the Mystic river. The strong current from the Charles made for very interesting starts. It was hard to keep you boat from drifting over the line. Most races has 1 or 2 boats OCS, and it most cases it was the starboard quarter that was just peeking over the line.
Code Flag "I" was up for pretty much the entire day, meaning that the 1-minute rule is in effect. Remember that if you're OCS you have to clear yourself by rounding one end of the line and then restarting. Simply ducking back down below the line is not enough in this case.
In Race 1 at the leeward roundings most boats opted to stay on the right side and let the current push them upwind. But Jen Bodde/Mikael Pittet found some luck on the left side and jumped all the way into 2nd place. Matt Marston/Cheney Brand managed to sneak inside Sandy Hayes/Cindy Olsen to be the first ones to round the leewards. But Hayes/Olsen would jump ahead the next time around and finish in 1st place.
The start of Race 2 had another 2 boats OCS who managed to clear themselves pretty quickly. Manlio Lopez/Cole Constantineau had a good start and quickly tacked over to get on the right side. But the wind on that side died off pretty quickly and the rest of the fleet compacted shortly thereafter. At the leewards we had Bodde/Pittet and Chip and Leo Terry out in front of most of the fleet. Bodde/Pittet went left and TeamTerry went right. Marston/Brand were about 30 seconds behind those two. They would pass both boats and end up in 1st place with Bodde/Pittet in 2nd and TeamTerry in 3rd.
Before Race 3 started we had a tugboat come right through our starting area and proceed onto the Coast Guard pier. I had never seen that before, but luckily we were able to avoid. Race 3 was our first clean start of the day with zero boats OCS. Marston/Brand started close to the boat and right on the line. The very quickly tacked off and went right and brought some followers with them. At the leewards the first to round were Hayes/Olsen. They went very far left to try and catch some of the Mystic current. David Chudzicki/Richard Kelly looked like they were going to follow them, but opted to stay a little closer to home, a tactic that would pay off for them. Also pushing there way to the front of the fleet was Dave Smokler/Peter Jerome. It took them the first two races to figure out the current, and once they did, they were at the top of the fleet. In the end Chudzicki/Kelly got the bullet, Smokler/Jerome came in 2nd, and Bodde/Pittet in 3rd.
Race 4 had a tight start with the Nolan sneaking in along the Boston shore as the race started. One boat was OCS and it took a little while for there to be room to clear themselves. Lopez/Constantineau and TeamTerry both had very good starts and sailed off ahead. Marston/Brand would manage to grab an early lead at the windwards. They were the first around the leewards and took the left side. No one would catch them and they won their second race of the day.
We almost didn't run Race 5. Admittedly the weather was gross, and the wind was dying. But we decided to give it a shot. We had two boats OCS at the start, but this was the only race where we didn't have the I flag up. Smookler/Jerome were one of the OCS boats, but they quickly cleared themselves and sailed out ahead of most of the fleet. As the boats were approaching the leewards, the wind kept dying. We decided to shorten the course and head in early.
This would work out extremely well for AnneMarije Veenland-Lee/Amanda Lyall. All day long they had been in the top half of the fleet, but they really jammed on the gas pedal in these last two races. They would finish 1st in Race 5 and also 1st on the day. The last race put them just ahead of Marston/Brand who had been leading for most of the day. 3rd place overall went to Chudzicki/Kelly who almost got a 2nd bullet in Race 5 where they were edged out by the smallest of margins by Veenland-Lee/Lyall. Congrats to those boats and to everyone who went out on a day where most normal people were indoors. Next week we hope for better weather!
Nate and the Courageous Frostbiting Staff