|From Sebago Fall Dinghy Series - Race 1, 9/18/2010|
Had an idea for another Hawaii picture-story-post tonight, but ended up working later than expected & that post is going to take some time to put together, so I'm not trying tonight.
Instead, how about a little more info about the races on Saturday?
You can see from the pictures that it was gorgeous. Winds were very nice too - 5-10 knots & very consistent. The racers said we set a good course and we didn't have to shift anything once all day. The more experienced racers probably would've enjoyed a bit more but the speeds we did have let the less experienced sailors have a good time too.
I was happy about people being happy with the course because I ended up helping out a bit more with bearings than I have in the past. Jim had left his good hand compass at home & we ended up using the little orienteering compass I keep in my PFD quite a bit. That's actually first time I've ever used the thing in earnest in NYC, so that was kind of fun - I mostly carry it in case the fog rolls in while I'm out, which has happened, but never where the fog's so thick I needed the compass to get home.
We had a very nice crowd, especially considereing it was just Sebago members this time. We'd love to have visitors, the series is open to all area Laser, Sunfish, or Force Five sailors (interested? Full details here!), but we had a respectable fleet on our own - 11 boats, 4 Lasers, 7 Sunfish. Every working club boat was out!
4 races. Nothing fancy for this first one, just various numbers of legs on a windward-leeward course.
Funny thing about the Sunfish fleet - there were 3 recreational rigs & 4 race rigs. One of the rec rigs ended up being sailed by a guy who's usually a Laser sailor - but he was very late arriving at the club & Swamp Fox was what was left, so he sailed Swamp Fox. He hadn't sailed a Sunfish before but he's a really good Laser sailor, the shift was a piece of cake & he ended up consistently dueling for first place with one of the guys in the race-rigged Sunfish, with the other racing-rigged boats duking it out for the next spots.
We have got some new sailing blood at the club, which is really livening things up a bit. Jim & Holly, our sailing co-chairs, were the ones who taught many of us to sail dinghies, and for a long time, they've quite clearly been the best sailors at the club. Somehow, though, we're starting to be found by people who bring their own experience - years of it in fact. Made for some pretty exciting races on Saturday, including more than one finish where the recorder & I were just assuming that one boat was going to be the next boat across the line - and then suddenly the boat right behind them would tack in some strange & sneaky way & make up JUST enough time to turn the tables.
Most exciting finish, the winner's bow was only about a foot ahead of the next guy.
Anyways, it's pretty cool to suddenly have things sort of shaken up this way - and I think Holly & Jim are particularly psyched about it. Much more fun for them & we are all going to learn from watching these folks.
Oh, and one of the guys in the most exciting finish of the day was sailing co-chair Jim, and the fact that he got to race was another thing I was pretty happy about. The last 2 formal races in which I was involved, Jim was in the committee boat with me - this time, he was still the Principal Race Officer, drove the committee boat, laid out the course & all that, but with another new member being willing to help out with committee duties, and me having done the job a couple of times, Jim decided that his actual presence in the committee boat was not required during the racing itself - so he towed out a Sunfish & had a good time racing (and then I had a good time sailing his boat back, towing it turned out to be a bit of a hassle).
The Tail End of Summer/Beginning of Fall Sebago Dinghy Series continues for 6 more weeks. I've got plans away from the Bay this weekend - but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for good weather on October weekends, because I DO plan to have another go at racing - maybe even two or three goes! I'd been thinking maybe 2 races & another stint in the committee boat (other weekends in October end up already having plans, it's 3 I have to play with), but Jim & Holly have added an eminently sensible rule for Sebago members - being scored in the overall series requires a minimum of 2 days of racing, and one day of race committee duty, and with the number of sailors we have these days, if everybody serves their turn, there may not be any call for me to do it again.
If there do end up being any holes, I'd still be up for filling in (I do actually enjoy it), but the weekend after this coming weekend, weather permitting, I am absolutely, positively going to be SAILING in the races!
Wish me luck - or at the very least, improvement over my last one!