The last race of the first half of the 2015 series treated the competitors to a wind blowing much harder than any weather forecast or web link showed. Blowing straight down the lake from Dome Island (NE), wind speeds were a steady 15 with higher gusts. The waves added to the mix which had been much higher during the day. Welcome Ken and the crew of Molasses and Ben McAndrew and crew in Jaded on their first night out for the year!
Thanks to the crew of Animal for acting as Committee Boat on a great sailing night and setting an I-5 course. The start line was skewed to favor the pin end yet Crackerjack followed by Stinger and Vaporize opted for the less contested boat end of the line. Most boats could not see the mark in the waves and were expecting a much longer first leg which led them to over-stand the first mark. Having sighted the mark prior to the start, Crackerjack covered Uncle Ludwig’s port tack on the lay line. Those two boats went around the course in sequence from then on.
At the first set, a rigging issue on Crackerjack allowed Uncle Ludwig to sail a much deeper course gaining back some valuable distance and slightly separating from the next set of boats. In a brave attempt for more power Cut Loose was sporting its genoa on the upwind legs. It was great sailing downwind where boats could be induced to plane on the waves. Some boats opted not to fly their spinnakers, Wild Thing among them, while Vaporize was knocking down 13+ knots on the downwind legs.
A lot of crews opted for the conservative approach at the leeward marks striking spinnakers early and holding on to port tack after the rounding even if they had bad air from boats ahead. Given the short legs, all but one boat completed the course in less than one hour but most crews would have preferred to stay out in the awesome sailing weather.
At the finish line, Crackerjack sailing wire to wire took the win with Uncle Ludwig second and Wild Thing crossing third just seconds behind. Due to handicap, Wild Thing’s time margin was not enough to stop the J/24s from taking 1 – 6 for the night. Spirit took third overall. Stinger also had a great night pulling in a fourth!
The 1st half series totals are below. Congratulations to Crackerjack taking five 1st place finishes during the 1st half , with Spirit taking 2nd , and Witch Way and 3rd. Next week starts our 2nd half series with the crew of Stinger acting as host on Committee Boat.