Well it's official. The racing season is over. Soft water sailing is quickly coming to a close up here in New Hampshire. Time to dust off the iceboats and sharpen the blades for another season on the ice.
I thought I had it all figured out going into this race. I just put down my "Sailing Smart" by Buddy Melges, worked on my TackTic and read up some rules and tactics.
As you can see above, I installed my TackTic. The pole launcher line caught on it a few times so I might look into lowering it on the mast. All in all it worked. Sadly this was a race that had a course shaped like a diamond. There would only be a short upwind beat at the start and then at the finish after twice around. All that work and practice (afternoons working on beating the wind and rigging the boat correctly) and what I practiced for would only be 5% of the race. Figures.
We waited for the race to start...
Now I should mention that this wasn't just any old start. This was a start that would incorporate every boat in the fleet (well, whomever showed up) but we would race on portsmouth ratings so the starting line was cluttered with the larger boats. I decided not to fight for the pin advantage and the grouping but in the end might have been my downfall. I hit the middle of the line on Vanderbilt style start. Just before I hit the line... my wind was gone. I mean completely gone. The larger boats stole nearly every inch of wind and my boat slowly ground to a halt. It was a depressing start. I watched half the fleet pull away before we got going.
We finally moved around the boats, got into some good wind and picked up some speed. Caught and then passed a few boats.
The Tacktic never was really used. We knew the best tack, hit the layline and made our way around the windward mark.
Despite our best efforts there was no way we were going to catch up with the other dinghies. They are all great racers in our club and the only way to beat them is to be as flawless as possible. Our errors would only allow us to keep pace with them but not catch them.
We finished the race and were disheartened to hear that there would not be another one as planned. Due to there being about 20 boats and only two small docks, we decided to relax and take it all in.
There would always be next year. I feel like I picked up a lot this past year. I went from someone who was constantly second to last. So someone that was solidly in the middle of the fleet. Nothing to truly brag about but fair accomplishment none-the-less. While this race we would end up 13th, a little worse than what we had been doing (we pulled an amazing 3rd place in our prior race with like boats), we would lick our wounds, take some new found knowledge with an open class fleet and put them to use for next year.
Off to roll up my sails and find a home for my boots and jackets and maybe grab a new tactics book and see if I can't gleam some new information I can put to use next year.