Week 12 recap- 2020/2021
Well the wind gods were finally on our side for a Saturday. You know I almost jinxed it beforehand, but this past Saturday was some of the best wind we've had since all the way back in Week 2. But before we could go sailing, we had to shovel. Starting on Thursday night we had about 30 hours of continuous snowfall, that luckily only dropped about 6 inches on us. Fortunately it was a fairly light snow and it didn't take too long to clean off the pier and the boats.
This week the wind was out of the Northwest (for the most part) with an average speed of about 10 knots. Throughout the day we saw gusts up to, but not over, 20 knots. These conditions allowed us to set a nice long course, probably double the length of our course last week. We were set in the usual spot, tucked in close to the fuel dock in East Boston. The windward marks were in line with Union Wharf in the North End. Despite an incoming tide, we still had some outgoing current running from top right to bottom left. It seemed they were emptying both the Charles and the Mystic after our snowfall. Temperatures were in the low 30's. We had some sun initially, but that pretty quickly disappeared and we even had a little more snow in the middle of the day.
Start of Race 1 (3 seconds to start)
Because we were tucked in fairly close to the shore, there was quite often a pretty big righty that would show up. As such, the boat end of the line was often favored, especially earlier in the day. For the start of race one, we had a large group who were fighting it out at the boat, and a smaller group who opted for some clear air a little further down the line. In the photo you can see #18 who turned up about 3 seconds too early and was OCS at the start. Luckily the "I" flag was not up, and they were able to clear themselves fairly quickly. Jen Bodde/Dylan Callahan were sailing together for the first time this season (welcome back Dylan!) and had a great start close to the middle, along with Marston/Brand and Chudzicki/Pereira. On their way downwind most of the fleet appeared to be wing-on-wing, but as they got closer to the gates I could see that right shift come into play. Also the right gate was clearly favored and most of the fleet opted to take that side. At the leeward roundings Kotsatos/Marsh and Bodde/Callahan had established a pretty sizable lead on the rest of the fleet. They finished 1st and 2nd with Marston/Brand coming in 3rd.
Leeward rounding, Race 2
Before the start of Race 2 we were able to adjust the course a little more. We adjusted the gate to make it square and brought the pin up higher. But it was still not enough, and we had another decent-sized pile up at the boat end, although we did have a clean start. Closest to the line at the start were Everett/Robinson and Legler/Smith. Chudzicki/Periera were right behind them for a good start as well. The wind came back to square as the boats were heading upwind, and it also started to snow. Chudzicki/Pereira were the first to round the leewards ahead of Alex Fasolo/George Eristoff (sailing for Winchester Wombats) and Everett/Robinson (#19). Everett/Robinson took the right gate, while the other two took the left. The move would pay off as they finished with their first bullet of the day. Marston/Brand passed a few boats after rounding and finished in 2nd, with Fasolo/Eristoff in 3rd.
At the start of Race 3 the wind was furthest right it had been all day and our first attempt at a start ended in a general recall. It looked like half the fleet was OCS, but it really wasn't their fault. When one end is that favored, it can make for some pretty messy starts. We took a few minutes before restarting to readjust the line and tried to make it square. If the wind had gone any more right, we would have probably had to pick up the entire bottom end of the course and move it over. Luckily the wind held and we were able to have a clean (and mostly square) start. Pratt/Coyle, Murphy/Vogel and Everett/Robinson were closest at the start and established an early lead.
Leeward rounding Race 3
At the leewards you can see Marston/Brand and Everett/Robinson with a good-sized lead over the rest of the fleet. Marston/Brand sailed away with the victory after a tight match race the second time around. Fasolo/Eristoff came in 3rd.
Towards the end of Race 3, we received a radio call from the car carrier that they were headed our way. We agreed ahead of time that we would keep our boats on the East Boston side and give them plenty of space on the Boston side. But they were still 15-20 minutes away. Bill and Callie in the Mark Boat stayed at the top end of the course, where they could keep an eye on the Tobin Bridge and look for the ship. We decided to run a Course 4 for Race 4, with a possibility of shortening the race if necessary. We had another clean start, this time with almost the entire fleet up on the line. As the boats were getting close to the windwards, we were able to see the car carrier passing under the Tobin. As the boats rounded and made their way downwind we made the call to shorten, for only the 2nd time this season. In a shortened course the finish line is now between the two leeward marks. Sometimes the RC boat is still able to call the line, but this time we had Jesse and Drew in the Safety Boat who were able to call the finish. Congrats to Marty Gallagher/Chris Lombardo for taking advantage of the shortened course and getting the bullet. Anne Marije Veenland-Lee/Amanda Lyall came in 2nd, and Chudzicki/Pereira in 3rd. After finishing the fleet stuck very close to the East Boston side allowing plenty of room for the car carrier. (Which is huge btw). We had a delay of about 10 minutes while we waited for it to pass. It passed very quickly, and the short break was actually kind of nice before we started up again. Also by this time the snow had stopped and the clouds were starting to break up, giving us our first glimpse of sunshine in a while.
Start of Race 5 aka Fred Baker and Suzanne Shepard port-tack the fleet
When the starting sequence began, it didn't look great for Baker/Shepard. They were still pretty far up the course to the left, and the wind there was pretty light. As most of the fleet was jockeying for position near the boat with 30 seconds to go, they were still making their way towards the pin. But then the wind started to pick up and shift left. Most of the boats were forced away from the line and a huge gap opened up, which allowed them to port tack the entire fleet. However it was Kotsatos/Marsh who developed a large lead by the time they hit the leewards, and would not be caught. They finished with their second bullet of the day. Everett/Robinson came in 2nd with Bodde/Callahan in 3rd.
Start of Race 6
Race 6 was a Course 5 and our last race of the day. Pratt/Coyle (#7) had a perfectly timed start right in the middle with no one around them. Close behind were Chudzicki/Pereira (#20) and Fasolo/Eristoff in #13. Everett/Robinson, who were in 2nd place coming into the last race, were able to overcome hitting the windward mark their second time around and finished with their second bullet of the day. That 1 point was more than enough to seal the deal and give them the overall victory on the day. Congrats to our top 5 finishers who are...
- Reade Everett and Dana Robinson - 17 points
- Alex Fasolo and George Eristoff - 25 points
- Matt Marston and Cheney Brand - 27 points
- David Chudzicki and Marcelo Pereira - 29 points
- Niko Kotsatos and Carolyn Marsh - 34 points
Not only did they win the day, but team Easily Distracted is also our Series 2 winner! Congrats to Reade and Dana, they have been on fire these last two weeks! I asked Reade if he would share some of his thoughts and he was very kind to share the following...
Heading into the first race, we knew that there was a strong outgoing current as a result of the Charles being pumped out, and that often when the wind is out of the northwest it pays off to stay close to the East Boston side of the harbor on the upwind legs in order to get current relief. Accordingly, our strategy at the beginning of the day was to try to start generally near the boat in order to make it easier to tack out to the right side of the course. In the first race, following this strategy, we started a little less than a third of the way down the line from the boat and then tacked onto port shortly after the start and took a few sterns in order to find a clear lane out to the right. Unfortunately, it turned out that committing hard to the right made us miss out on some favorable puffs and shifts in the middle and on the left hand side of the course, which put us in the middle of the fleet at the windward mark and we ended up having to fight back to recover positions for the rest of the race. After that race, we adjusted our strategy a little to take a more flexible approach and be more open to staying on starboard longer after the start and waiting to tack over to port until there was a favorable shift or puff, and we generally stuck with that strategy for the rest of the day.
On the starts, we generally tried to line up on starboard at one minute about 5-10 boat lengths below the line and a little above the lay line to the boat, which enabled us to either find a hole near the boat with 20-30 seconds left or bail out down the line if we couldn’t find a hole. I’ve found that this starting strategy doesn’t work very well when there is light wind or when it is really windy, but the conditions seemed perfect for it, especially since the current was pushing boats right to left a little so that there was often a hole right next to or near the boat that we could squeeze into.
Downwind we tried to communicate as much as possible about where we thought the next puff was coming from and in order to stay in a clear lane. For the most part, we jibed around the windward mark to get into puffs coming off the East Boston side of the course, but we also were able to catch some nice puffs on the other side of the course as well.
It was a great day to be out sailing, and thank you to Nate and the rest of the team at Courageous!
Thank you Reade! And congrats on winning Series 2. Also a big congrats to teams MB and Runaway Bunny on finishing 2nd and 3rd in the series. We have some hardware for you next time.
Thanks to everyone for another great week. Looks like we could get some rain this coming Saturday, but let's not worry about it now.
Talk to you Friday,
Nate and the Courageous Frostbite Team