Bill Colgan had a great view of the event…overtaking all but one boat in an event that uses staggered starts, based on every boat’s Portsmouth rating.
Hobie Cat Tails 2021-1, aka In Pursuit of Monohulls, aka If It Can Go Wrong It Will,
By Bill Colgan
June 27 was the date for the first pursuit race of 2021. Winds were 12 to 15 with occasional gusts to 20 from the South. The fleet consisted of 2 Sunfish, 1 Laser, 4 Flying Scots and yours truly sailing my Hobie 18.
Dave Racine volunteered to start the race and sight the starting line. I waited for the signal that would signify the Sunfish were 3.5 minutes from their start but apparently missed it as Rob Lackey and Jerry?took off when I heard the first horn. Next was Marilyn Spitz in the Laser. At 23.5 minutes, Drew, single handing his Scott started but where are the rest of the Scots? Looks like Roger Anderson with Dick Stienel aboard and Chris Carabetta sailing with John Kay started 3.5 minutes later as they must have also missed the first horn without realizing it. Don Walbrecht, also single handing a Scot, was just leaving the dock when the second wave of Scots started so he was playing catch up. My start was still 35 minutes away so I took my time getting my boat out to the start area.
At 5 minutes to my start, I was near the committee boat wasting time when the first issue hit. My right sailing shoe just disintegrated from under my foot. I won’t be able to trap out like that so I spent the next 4 minutes trying to get what was left of the shoe free from my foot. When I was finished with that, I looked up to find myself in irons and in danger of drifting into the committee boat. I threw the helm over to try and bring the bow away from the committee boat when one of those 20 kt gusts hit and over I went.
I’m now swimming, well not really, the water is only 4 feet deep so I’m standing holding onto my boat going through the motions of getting the boat righted. Damn, the other shoe drops. I now need a couple of minutes to disentangle my left foot from its disintegrated sailing shoe. That pair was over 20 years old so I guess I should have expected to replace them. I just wish I wasn’t racing when they went. It takes a while to get everything sorted out and the mast is starting to rise out of the water when bang/splash, the righting line snaps and I am dumped back into the water. I can’t remember the last time I had to right the boat. Looks like I should have checked the righting line for UV damage more often. With a shortened righting line reattached to the boat, I get the boat upright and back under way. I finally cross the starting line about 20 minutes later that I had hoped for and start my pursuit.
The first leg is a reach straight across the bay. In a Hobie 18 with 15 kts of breeze this requires trapping out as far back in the boat as possible to keep from sinking the bows. I trap out onto the wire when snap, my trap harness comes unbuckled, dumping my butt into the water. I scramble to get back onto the boat without capsizing. Buckling the harness requires 2 hands so I ponder for a while how I am going to free up my hands while still sailing. I manage to find a lull where I can balance the boat with the sail trim freeing up my hands to rebuckle the harness. Time to trap out again. I start to get out on the wire again only to find my butt is dragging in the water. Apparently when the buckle let go, the dog bone took some damage and is now 3 inches too low.
Adjusting the height of a hobie dog bone is another one of those tasks that requires 2 hands. Guess I’ll have to find another lull. That will have to wait as I am at the first mark.
The second leg is a full on beat. I have to get this dog bone thing fixed or there is no use continuing. I reach out into the bay as there is no way to free up both hands while beating. A couple of minutes later I’m out on the trap wire beating to weather. The pursuit begins in earnest. Near the end of the leg I find the mark and it is directly behind a group of motorboats just drifting around with pull rafts behind them in the middle of the channel. I take 2 tacks to stay well clear as they are all focused on what is in the water and not on any other boats. I round the mark and head north.
The wind has shifted enough east of south that this looks like a one tack run to the next mark. I see Sunfish and Scots way in the distance, some going toward the next mark and some sailing away from the next mark which tells me about where the mark is. Up in the lulls and down in the puffs brings me to about 100 yards east of the mark where I jibe. I pass the mark and head up towards mark 4.
Don is not too far in front of me now and it looks like he is heading a little north of the 4th mark so I reach over top of him and make the mark. Leg 5 is the beat again with 3 Scots and 2 Sunfish still ahead. I don’t see the Laser. I find out later that the Marilyn retired during the 5th leg and headed back to the club. I get into the groove and find that I am pointing higher and going faster than the Scots. They are heading out on starboard and it looks like there is no advantage to for me to do differently. Close to the layline I spot Rob Lackeys Sunfish on leg 6. Something radical will need to occur if I am going to catch him. I sail feet from his transom before tacking for the mark but he handles the wind disturbance like its not a problem. I see the second sunfish rounding the mark when I am about 100 yards from doing so myself. With the Scots all off my transom, I round the mark and look to pick off the Sunfish.
I pass one Sunfish in the first bit of the leg and do my best to get to Rob but come up about 5 minutes short.
Congratulations to Rob Lackey, the winner of the 2021-1 RBSA pursuit race.
|2||Bill Colgan||n/a||Hobie 18|
|4||Roger Anderson||Dick Stienle||Flying Scot|
|5||Chris Carabetta||John Kay||Flying Scot|
|6||Don Walbrecht||n/a||Flying Scot|