So we got ol' Relax Lah! out on Saturday for the twilight race
. 6 boats out for a 5PM start which is good. Simba, the Dehler 39, Born in Fire and Jock, a couple of J24s, Kiss Me Again, a Benetau 29 and Slingshot an H24(?) joined us.
Good 5-7 knot
breeze and the boat is really clean. We tend not to do well in stronger breezes. Variable winds let us ride the currents to create bunching and we get to kick tail on handicap.
Anyway, we got up a good head
of steam towards the line the horn sounds and I look at my watch - Oh crap! We are a full minute early! Blush-blush.
We turn the boat around, give up all our speed and get back across the line within the minute, not bad, but after we turn again we have no speed. It takes 3 minutes for us to build up another full head
of steam with our heavy boat and we are in 5th. Only Slingshot got a slower start but he is always single
handed and sails
a conservative race
We stay towards the outside and the J24s have both gone inshore along the channel. they end up stalling in a dead patch and we are catching them up - pretty amazing as they we have 20 points on them in handicap and they should be smoking us!
As we approach Jock gets going and sails
away from BiF. Simba - of course - is gone and headed back up the course after the first mark.
So approaching the mark Kiss Me Again gets through about 5 lengths ahead and we are - unbeleivably - overlapped with BiF! He is outside and we decide to protect the inside. He sweeps in with plenty of speed from the right and tries to duck under us during the rounding. We button hoooked and closed the inside lane. We come within about 12 inches of a collision
. And that would have sucked because I might have spilled my beer
. Jeez - This ain't the J24 Nationals bub! BiFs skipper
is shouting expletives - at himself but with plenty of speed he just carries around our outside and 2 minutes later he is 6 lengths away as we had used all our momentum turning around and were on our 3 minute accel cycle again - LOL...
The rest of the race was pretty uneventful as everyone strung out. We stayed well in front of Slingshot the whole way and we sailed well. We had a reall lull at about 6:00PM and thought we were done. I was reckoning about 4th place in front of the Bene and Slingshot.
I was pleasantly surprised with 1st on handicap! Whoo-hoo. It was less than a minute between the top 3 boats and about 30 seconds on Simba in second. BiF was 4 minutes behind Jock so we beat BiF handily and Jock was 3rd followed by Slingshot and the Bene.
Unfortunately, that brought up the handicapping system and over beers we hammered it out. For the "club" handicap.
If you win you go down 2
If you get second you go down 1
If you get third you stay put
Everyone else who enters, and finishes goes up 1
This will create churn and give more people a chance to win. I can't argue. We've been lucky enough to be on the podium for the last 5 races.
The bad news is October is prize month. We are going to track the series over the next 4 races.
The prizes include a chartplotter
and big screen
tv. Damn just when we shoulda been sandbagging our handicap is adjusted down by 2 points - grrrr...