An Accomplished New Years Resolution!

Happy New Year! As tradition, we went out on New Years Day for a sail. In looking at the weather forecast during the days preceding the sail, I had anticipated a cold and partly cloudy day and indeed, at 1000 hour on New Years day, it did not inspire any urgency on my part to go out on the cold and foggy bay to go sailing. But tradition demanded certain sacrifice and besides, I had invited a few folks from work to come sailing as well and didn’t want to disappoint them in any case.

So Keith and I met up at Max’s Opera Cafe for a hearty lunch at 1100 hour and fortified ourselves with a substantial sandwich and headed to the marina at Noon. Since the guests is to arrive at 1300, we visited with Luther at his dock for a bit and arranged to meet out on the water later.


Just before 1300, the sun came out, burned all the fog away and we were blessed with a nice warm sun and clear skies. The only thing lacking now is the wind. Nonetheless, when our guest showed up, we prepared the boat to sail but took a sweep around the harbor and asked Torin to join us on a New Year sail.

Read more…

SBYRA Summer #6 – CPYC

Even at 10:30 AM, the temperature at the harbor was already in the upper 80’s and nary a breath of breeze  as we rig the boat and tweak a few “go-fast” gagets aboard. A few moments in the cabin below and you are drenched with sweat as if in a sauna.  We headed out of the harbor earlier than we would have typically, because we were eager to get some relief from the heat by going out where there’s at least some breeze — even if it is from the apparent wind of our motoring to the venue.  Indeed, as soon as we headed out the harbor, the headwind created by our motor cooled our perspiring heads and gave us a chance to chill out before the start.

The race committee wasted no time and started the race promptly at 12:00 in very light condition with a spotty mix of 3-5 knots of wind.  We were away from the line a little too far at the start, so we were in the second wave of boats heading for the start about 10-15 seconds late, behind Wired, Lucky Duck and Nessie.  I was somewhat glad that we were not quite on the line as we watched a cluster of boat at the committee end all jockeying to get the windward position apparently with Nessie barging on the line.  We had momentum built from not having to jockey for position and dodging bad air as with the first group of starters, as a result, we were able to catch up to them within 10 boat-length after the start.  It also helped when several boats decided to tack to port to get clear air and be lured by the prospect of a stronger patch of breeze to the right. The thought to sail towards the breeze had certainly crossed our minds as we looked around for tactical options. But the prospect of two tacks in light air on our displacement hull meant probably at least a four boat length loss from the tack itself coupled with the fact that it takes a very looong time for us to build up the speed after each tack. Furthermore, it just doesn’t seem a good idea to sail away from the mark and into more current just for a temporary gain in speed – particularly when it’s so spotty.  We decided there’s more down sides than upsides that we chose to stayed on course focusing on building boat speed instead. Read more…

SBYRA Summer#3 060708, BVBC

Crew: Joan, Leslie, Mike, George, Tom, Kirby, Keith & Robert.  Wind: 8 knots-25 knots. Venue: Bay View Boat Club, south of the Bay Bridge.

I had left the assembly time at 09:15 despite the last minute change to the starting time to 13:00 at BVBC venue in part because we had practically all new crew and in part because if we leave later, we would encounter flood current rather than a waning ebb.  We also had to clean the bottom with brush since I had not called Chris at American Diving to clean our bottom for several months and didn’t get around to it last week. The bottom was indeed very slimy and full of algae and we had quite a bit of work to get the bottom clean enough to race…  When we entered the cabin, I noticed that the refrigerator wais not cold and upon checking found the charger switch was turned off and the battery voltage is below 8 volts! This we tried to rectify immediately by putting on the charger while we are cleaning the bottom and doing other assorted pre-race chores.

At 10:20 we head out of the marina and promptly got stuck in the mud at the center of the harbor entrance. So we stuck the boom out had all the crew hang on one side of the boat to heel the boat and plowed a navigable channel with our keel for the subsequent sailboats that needed to get out of the harbor later today.  If only I can send a dredging bill to the harbor master…  As soon as we headed out to the channel, we were able to ride a waning ebb current towards our race venue, but by the time we reached Hunter’s Point, the tide had turned against us by a pretty good clip and we ducked closer towards the shoreline for some current relief. Wind at this point was 5-8 knots and it seemed to be a 144% sort of day — at least for the starting leg.  I had resolved not to make the same mistake as our last SBYRA race and will order a sail change without equivocations if conditions warranted and go with the sail that is best suited for the current situation without over-anticipation of later conditions.  As we pass by the Portero Entrance buoy, I am struck by how strong the current was and realize that this is only going to get worse as we were just in the early phase of the flood! Read more…

John Pitcher Regatta 040508

Wednesday before the regatta, I found out there’s a race on Saturday.  Since Keith and I had made arrangement to work on the boat a bit, I didn’t round up any crew for the race.  At the last moment, we couldn’t resist the temptation of racing the boat against the competition, so we did the minimal tasks such as adjusting the shrouds between skipper’s meeting and the starting time and rig the boat for non-spinnaker race.  We are afterall, an ISO-9000 boat and need to test all repairs to make sure all of our repair is verified, right? The course was #8, which is a figure 8 course of Z-A-4-C-8-Z with Mark A and 4 to round on starboard and Mark C and 8 to round to port.  It’s mostly a reaching course, so there’s not much to think about for strategic decisions:  Given the waning flood, we head inshore a bit to get on the inside track then tack to the windward mark. From there, we crack off the sail for a close/beam reach to Channel Marker #4 and round to Mark C; From C, we gybe and do a run/broad reach to Channel Marker #8 hence to finish.  

We had a good start, just a few seconds late and we were leeward to Paradigm but since we can point higher, it’s not a bad position since we can control our own destiny.  Indeed we started to climb up on Paradigm and after a bit, Paradigm tacked away while we continued for another 100 yards then tack to cover her.  However, during the next tack we didn’t seem to have as much speed and pointing ability that Paradigm was able crossed ahead.  We followed Paradigm around Mark A and head for Channel Marker #4.  Paradigm decided to head high inshore to avoid the current, but given we thought the current is near slack, we kept to the rhumb line and made some gains, but lost a bit when the wind got lighter and being caught in Paradigm’s wind shadow. As we approached Channel Marker #4, there were two fishing boats stationed by the channel marker.  One of them was actually tied to the ladder of the channel marker.  We had to round the mark, but given Paradigm rounded first, she chose to go between the two fishing boats and raised a lot of angry words from both fishing boats. We followed suit and created more antagonism from the two fishing boats.  Ironically, one of the fishing boat was named “Anger Management“!  It seems, the owner of that boat needs more work on his anger management as his cussing certainly didn’t seem to be under management as we thread across his stern and the other fishing boat’s bow.  As we left a trail of wake and insults, I can only chuckle at the thought of the other seven boats that are following our tracks and wonder if this is an unscripted part of his treatment for anger management as there’s nothing he can do except to vent as the rest of the fleet follow the prescribed race course.

After that little levity, we set a rhumb line course to Mark C and at this point we neither gained nor lost distance to Paradigm.  At Mark C, we gybed the main and winged out the jib to run DDW until we had to head up a bit to make the Channel Marker #8.  Once rounded channel marker 8, I took over the helm for a bit to get a feel for the boat in the increased wind range now blowing at 20 knots.  The boat felt pretty good, but I still think we need to have more weather helm so we can steer by feel rather than by sight.  We’ve overstood marks consistently and I believe it’s due to the fact that we are focused on steering because of the lack of feedback from the helm.  In the short leg that we had before the finish line, we climbed ahead of Paradigm but failed to pay attention to the layline and tacked after Paradigm had tacked which gave them the shot gun finish and us the horn.  Despite the second place finish, it was a fun race and I was plenty sore from having to do both the jib trim and the main sail after a long absence from crewing. 

sbyra 2008 w#4 cpyc

Took advantage of the crew showing up to the race, we set up a few extra telltails for the shrouds and back stay for light air, but the wind is forecasted for 10-15 knots building to 15-25 later in the day. MIST is more comfortable in this wind range than the typical winter light air. When we arrived at the boat, I had them take down the 125 jib just so we wouldn’t be complacent and leave it up if the wind is light. But as fate would have it, the 125% was just the right size sail as the wind build little by little as we headed towards the starting area. By the time we start, the wind was 10-15 knots and we were moving nicely with the 125%.For a simple and short course, there was quite a bit of tactical decision regarding which was the best course to sail given the ebb and the wind direction and velocity. MIST sailed on the East side going towards Mark “C” after the start even though the risk of stronger current because we like the pressure on the East side and we did not feel the delta of current between going further inshore warranted the risk of lighter pressure given our 125% jib.We were positioned to leeward of First Light right after the start – smack in her wind shadow. We considered a tack to keep our air clean, but the wind pressure on the right side (West) didn’t look as strong, so we decided to tough it out – hoping our longer waterline and slight footing off will give us enough speed to nudge our bow out in front of First Light’s wind shadow. After a few looong minutes on the same tack, First Light tacked towards inshore presumably to get into lighter current. We assessed our options and decided that a heavy displacement boat like Mist needs more wind pressure and opted to stay on starboard tack to gain further separation from First Light and to have stronger pressure for better boat speed. Once we sailed close to the layline, we tacked to port and when we converge with First Light again, we were well ahead. However, our call for the layline was a little off and required us to do two tacks in fairly quick succession to round the “C” mark.

We were a little late in setting the chute after rounding “C” in part because of the two quick tacks as well as some miscommunications aboard. After hoisting the chute, we noted Paradigm sailing ahead on a higher reaching course given her asymmetric spinnaker, but Mist (and a few others: First Light, Black Sheep et al) with symmetrical chutes opted more or less rhumb line to Mark#4. Mist only altered course on this leg when wind pressure felt light and Skipper Keith “heated” up a bit to keep our VMG optimal. Mist made up a quite a bit of our lost time from a late start (about 20 seconds) on this leg to round ahead of Paradigm by about 3 boat lengths – not enough to make our handicap. We knew we wanted to head inshore to the final leg to lessen the impact of the ebb, but again, we saw better wind pressure in the middle part of the bay versus the inside and opted to stay on starboard tack as long as we can keep a loose cover Paradigm who was on the same tack. This means that we won’t risk much sailing on the same tack as long as Paradigm is in the same current. Once Paradigm decided to tack inshore after a bit, we were tempted to tack to cover, but again chose to stay with the pressure until there’s a bit more separation between us. We kept assessing the water depth delta between Paradigm and us. The rationale being that as long as Paradigm in in relatively same water depth as us, we should have approximately the same ebb current. After a significant separation developed, we noted that our depth is about 30 feet, and Paradigm is undoubtedly much less, we tacked towards shore in a pressure zone and monitored the water depth for a chance to tack back to starboard when either of the following conditions: 1.) water depth is less than 20 feet; 2.) we are on the layline of the finish. There was only one problem on the last leg for MIST: in the increasing rain and haze, it was a hard to ascertain where the RC boat is exactly and there was no other boat ahead to give us a reference. The GPS was indicating one thing, the crew was identifying another, so we weaved up and down a bit and sailed the leg like a drunken sailor. While we finished first on actual time ahead of Paradigm by about a minute five seconds (according to our watch), it’s doubtful that we have enough margin to correct out ahead of Paradigm. There’s alway going to be that next time for Mist….

Congratulations to Luther and crew for their victory,s/v MISt, signing off…NOTE TO SELF: Boat seems to point higher on starboard tack than on port compared to Paradigm in 15 knots of wind. The helm still seems to have a bit of lee-helm since even in 12-15 knots I need the main trimmed tight and pulled up to weather to get a slight helm. Possibl we will need to loosen the head stay some more to get a more weather helm. Also possible the shrouds have loosened up more and needs more tension as the shrouds appear to be a bit more slack than before.

sbyra #3 at oyster point yc 010508

The weather on Friday was stormy with winds gusting to 35 knots and rain pouring down, I got an email questioning if it was wise to go out Saturday.  My response is that the front is scheduled to move to the east and we should let each skipper determine whether they want to take the boat out.  So on Saturday morning, we gathered aboard Mist, donned on our foul weather gear and headed out to Oyster Point for SBYRA race.  We motored most of the way in light fog, but not much precipitation until about 30 minutes before the race and a squall came by with 30 knots wind.  Wouldn’t you know it, the Race Committee decides that it’s too windy for them to be out.  We made the best of it by having an informal race with Paradigm back to the harbor. Aside from that squall, it was rather light wind so that our 125% jib was not able to keep up with Paradigm and they beat us handily… 

sbyra w#4 cpyc

For February, the weather was down right balmy. Temperature in the mid sixties, scattered high clouds – the high pressure system off the eastern pacific diverted the storms north of us. It’s a nice day out on the water, but the wind was noticeably absent at the start. We drifted around the starting line until the RC put up the postponement signal and side-tied to Paradigm to visit and wait for the wind to pick up…

Around one o’clock, a scant 3-5 knot breeze picked up, the race committee dropped the postponement and we were off to start the race. We were late to the line about 20 seconds due to miscommunication, but we started next to the committee boat, and stayed high compared to Paradigm and Sea Biscuit. Slowly we picked up speed and height as we sailed on starboard tack to inshore to minimize the waning flood. We looked around for areas of stronger pressure and made sure that we always are heading towards the next pressure area. As we near 2/3 of the upwind leg, Paradigm decided to tack to port and head out towards the middle. At first, we thought Paradigm wanted to cover us on the weather side, but they continued to the deeper channel. We took a glace at the committee boat and saw that the current is still flooding at the RC boat, we stayed on starboard tack to keep out of the current. Finally, when we were nearing the layline, we tacked to port and crossed ahead of Paradigm by a good 5 boat length. Gotten closer to the first rounding mark, we were still short and needed to tack again, we tacked away from Paradigm and tried to approach the rounding with enough time to preset the chute for a quick hoist at the mark.

As we rounded the mark, we were hoisting the chute and the pole was brought back to catch the wind. Although Paradigm rounded ahead of us, we were able to pull ahead because we had our chute drawing before Paradign, but this gain was short lived as Paradigm filled their asym and was able to blanket us from behind. We then chose to head deeper as defense and tried to create some separation between the boats. Given the asymetrical chute on Paradigm cannot sail deep, we found separation and manage to get the boat moving in the ghosting wind.. The tide had changed now and it’s becoming more against us once again. We were constantly looking for wind and currurrent. About half way through the course, we decided that the wind had looked about the same on either side of the course, but the current would be decidedly less if we get out of the channel. So we made a decision to head inshore – at least until our water depth read less than 20 feet, then gybe over to the port gybe. In hind sight, this was a good decision from another aspect – we were in the beginning of a good ebb, and the current is light for now but will undoubtedly build. By heading inshore, we can minimize our exposure to current – assuming the wind pressure is more or less the same on either side.

There were times we wondered if we made the right decision, but the proof of the pudding became evident when we converged on the next mark, Channel Marker #8. Although Wired was able to squeeze ahead of us, Paradigm was struggling to catch up as she was in deeper water and the wind is bearly a zephyr with the current having a huge effect on appearant wind. We finally rounded Mark 8 behind Wired. The two boat length that separated us approaching the mark turned out to be a gain of 20 boat length for Wired as she rounded the mark and ride the current towards the finish, while we struggled in the dying breeze to fight the ebb at Mark #8 and round. Likewise, Paradigm was maybe about 100 yards from us, but by the time they finished, they were 20+ minutes behind us. So we felt pretty good that we would have them on handicap. Overall, I felt our decision making skills have improved and our crew is getting much better at focusing outward to look for wind and water changes overall on the course.

down wind tactics

This Wednesday’s beer race, we mixed it up again with Paradigm. Paradigm was designated as the rabbit for today and headed to close hauled course on port as soon as she came back out the harbor for the second time. We crossed her stern on starboard tack, while Paradigm continued sailing on port for about four boat-length and tacked on starboard. She was approximately 4 boat-length to weather and behind at this point. We both sailed on starboard until we are near the port layline. By this time, Mist was able to climb up to weather almost in line with Paradigm and still ahead of Paradigm by a boat length. I let Paradigm call the tack to the “C” mark so that I can be sure that I didn’t have a starboard tack issue and also I’d like to cover Luther on the down wind leg as I’d like to expose our crew to down-wind covering tactics. Besides, it’s always fun to give Luther a little dirty air and see how he would respond tactically. We are now close to a starboard broad reach/run to Channel marker# 8 and provided us a great range of options for blanketing Paradigm. Sure enough, it didn’t take long for Luther to luff us up, and we trimmed in the sails in response to his luff. However, since we are so close together, Luther can hear me telling the crew to trim in or let the sail out. Therefore, he would luff up as soon as I instruct my sail trimmers to ease sails when I see that he has started to head down. This went on for about six or seven times with occasional luffs as high as close hauled from a broad reach course. In due time, the trimmers got the idea when to trim and I do not have to telegraph our moves to Luther verbally. We kept away from him pretty well and maintained enough speed to cover him at all time that he could not shake us off. In addition, the J-100 was also on our hip and responding to the wide course gyrations that we had to make as Paradigm luff us. Finally, I gybed over on to port just to see if I can break away from him enough to get some speed and get ahead. But the wind is too light for my heavy displacement hull to have any real speed advantage to get ahead even if I have a hotter angle to reach up. Besides, by the time I reach up to his lee, he would slow me down anyway. So after a little while and while Luther is not watching us so closely, we gybed over to starboard and aimed for his transom for another bout of covering tactics. By this time, we both have sailed much too high to be on broad reach to the mark, instead, we were now both on a run. We both winged out our jibs to catch as much pressure as possible and this gave the crew another situation to apply to their experience – how to transition from winged out sail to a broad reach configuration as well as gybing the sails in response to competitor’s luffs and luffing against competitors. As we got closer to Mark #8, we were all on port gybe heading towards the mark and an interesting tactical situation was developing… 1. We were all sailing on port approaching the mark. 2. Mist (green) initiated a gybe. Because we are now on starboard tack, and that we have an overlap to the J-100 (yellow) by a gybe rather than from behind, we have full luffing rights. 3. Mist headed up slightly to J-100 and forced the J-100 to gybe which then forced Paradigm to gybe as well. This sets Mist up as the leeward boat with full luffing rights, but I chose not to luff too hard as the J100 is now between Mist and Paradigm and I didn’t want him to interprete this as an aggressive act against her rather than the real intended target – Luther. 4. Mist headed down after a half hearted luff, which really didn’t accomplish much as the J-100 continued to gain on the down wind leg and is now abeam between Mist and Paradigm. 5. This sets up a rounding in which Mist is the outside boat and Paradigm did the usual sharp luff at the mark to prevent any possibility of any one shooting above her. 6. Mist was able to point higher than the J-100, squeeze her to where her jib is feathering and slowed her down until Mist passed her. But Paradigm had slipped ahead and we could not catch her before the channel entrance. <a href=”” title=”Actual beercan tracks” target=”_top”><img src=”” width=”520″ alt=”Actual beercan tracks” class=”centered” /></a> Here’s what needed to happen if we were to execute this in a more competitive scenario: 1. Same port tack approach. Gauge when to gybe to starboard tack. Need enough room to make sure that when Mist head down to the 2 boat length circle, that she will be clear of the overlap. 2. Gybe to starboard. Given we had gybed, Mist now has full luffing rights as we did not achieve this overlap from astern. Mist begins luffing with steady but determined pace to make sure the J-100 comprehend the magnitude of the luff to at least to a beam reach. This means luff fast enough to surprise her with our luffing speed, but not making contact. 3. When the J-100’s helmsman is watching Paradigm to make sure she will not come too close to Paradigm, Mist would immediately head down towards the 2 boat length circle. Alternatively, Mist could elect to luff long enough to establish an inside course while Paradigm and J-100 would disengage by sailing behind Mist’s stern when Mist was luffing. This last option would be a valid when match racing or when there are no other competitors to factor in the race. 4. Taking the advantage of latency, Mist would be making her way down to the 2 boat length circle. With the right amount of turn, the perpendicular line from the transom will not have any overlap as Mist enters the 2 boat length circle – therefore Mist will not have to give room to either Paradigm or the J-100. 5. Both J-100 and Paradigm will have to avoid Mist as she rounds the Mark. 6. This sets Mist ahead and in clear air for the next leg. <a href=”” title=”A more aggressive tactic” target=”_top”><img src=”” width=”520″ alt=”A more aggressive tactic” class=”centered” /></a>

wednesday night post mortem…

This past Wednesday’s beer can race was a lot of fun, we had a full tactical battle against Radiance, a Jeaneau 42 – PHRF rating 84. Despite Radiance‘s effort to pass us to weather on 3 legs, we were able to successfully defend against a faster boat. Part of the reason we were able to hold off a faster boat is because our crew work is getting better and some of the regular crews are able to anticipate what is going to happen next on the boat and execute each maneuver with less lag time and better execution.

In the spirit of getting even better, here are some pointers for the crew for even better teamwork for our next encounter…

1. When we are being passed to weather by another boat, it is very important for the both the main sheet and jib sheet trimmer to ANTICIPATE what the skipper wish to do next…

For instance, when the helmsman luffs the boat up close to the windward boat, the mainsheet trimmer could help keep the boat’s speed up and pointing by simply grinding in the mainsheet a few turns to provide a tad more weather helm to turn the boat rather than for the helmsman to turn the rudder. Turning the rudder is slow because the rudder creates drag when it’s not straight. Likewise, the jib sheet trimmer needs to make sure that the jib is trimmed as close to the shroud as reasonable and easing a little (1-6 inches from the spreader) when the boat heads down by following the flow of the middle telltale.

This means the main sheet trimmer has a far greater responsibility to constantly pay attention to the helmsman’s wheel and command. When the helmsman try to luff it is usually momentary and in short periods. The key to luffing is to drive the windward skipper off-sync with the wind and waves, therefore, fall behind with lesser speed.

IN PARTICULAR, the main sheet trimmer when faced with executing such luffing duel needs to especially pay attention to the following:

A.) Watch the helmsman when he turn the boat down by observing the wheel position constantly or…
B.) develop a “FEEL” for the direction & heel of the boat and try to ANTICIPATE THE DOWN TURN AHEAD of the skipper. You can do this by first keeping the luff of the main sail fairly soft at all times (i.e. always have a quivering luff at the front edge of the mainsail to easing it off to a good size bubble if you think the boat is about ready to heading down…

If you grind-in the main in response to the boat’s initial luff maneuver, you know it’s a matter of grinding it in tight and hold for a second or two and then watch for & feel the boat turn down. Ideally, you should let the main out immediately to allow the helmsman to turn down wind and gain boat speed. Letting out more than you took in is just fine as the old saying goes: “when in doubt, let it out.” – meaning letting out sails more is less detrimental than too tight. Failing to ease out the main sheet quickly or responsively to the helmsman needs could easily mean a collision in close quarter luffing duels if sudden gust round the boat up windward. By easing the main quickly, you allow the helmsman to turn downwind with less rudder motion, accellerate the speed and your eased sail will accelerate the boat much faster than if the helmsman had to turn the rudder harder while fighting your main sail induced heel.

2. The other noticeable improvement on this past Wednesday’s beer can is when we were rounding Channel#8 mark with Radiance just ahead of us. They rounded very sharp in order to protect their windward side while we took a gradual & wider turn in order to keep our speed up. Both main and jib needed to be trimmed in as quickly as possible and IN SYNC with each other. It does no good to have the jib out and main tight or vise-a-versa – that would be a sure fire way to stall the sail and slow down the boat. That’s why when the main came in too fast on Wednesday night, I called to ease main so the angle of attack between the jib and main is parallel. In doing so, we were able to keep our speed and squirt ahead of Radiance to leeward and gradually headed up to squeeze her between the Choate and us. We forced her to a coffin corner where she had no option but to either head up above the Choate or blow the jib to slow down and fall off behind our stern to go leeward of us. Radiance chose the latter and we were thus able to place ourselves between them and the finish mark.


Some of the crew were curious of Radiance’s crew accusing us of pushing the limits of the racing rules. So I thought I’d review some of the pertinent rules in this post and explain why we had the rights to do our moves against Radiance

The key instances that we were in attack mode is when Radiance is trying to pass us to windward. The applicable rules in a reaching over-taking situation are:

1. Boat astern must keep clear of boat ahead. No problem here, Radiance needed to keep clear of us and they did.

2. Overtaking boat to leeward. The overtaken boat (MIST) cannot sail below her proper course. Radiance did not choose this option… Had she done so, she would have to sail straight towards the harbor and cannot luff us as she established her overlap from astern and within 2 boat-lengths from abeam. At the same token, we cannot sail BELOW our proper course and put us in front of Radiance’s bow. The down side for Radiance on this move is that she would put herself in our shadow – which is why she did not choose this move.

3. Overtaking boat to windward has to keep clear of leeward/overtaken boat, and the leeward boat has full luffing rights. Radiance is a faster boat and was over-taking us to windward. They HAVE to keep clear of us and we had all the luffing rights we need to take them to the moon. Our only obligation is NOT to luff so fast that Radiance cannot keep clear to avoid us. I was luffing them when their bow reached abeam of our cockpit. It’s a particularly effective luffing position because we are in the lee of his jib, so he cannot see us very well behind the jib, so there’s an added fear factor of the unknown for their skipper.

I was very deliberate about when and how I luffed – I luffed just before a puff and did it high enough that their helmsman could see our bow from the windward side of their boat. When I do get the puff, I head the boat down to pick up speed, but Radiance’s skipper would be just reacting to my luff and keeping his bow up and therefore luffing the jib and missing the lift. For those of you that hadn’t skippered a boat in close quarters, you can imagine the nervousness of the other skipper steering on the windward side to have a boat’s bow appearing from the lee of her jib and can’t see where exactly and how close the boat is to her lee. By virtual of the fact that he can see our bow on windward side means that he is on collision angles with us – not a very assuring situation for the windward skipper (especially when he is 40 feet behind on the helm and can’t judge small distances as clearly as the leeward skipper). Conversely, if Radiance’s skipper is steering from the leeward side, the luff to windward would mean the bow of Mist is obscured by the jib and would create exactly the same worry for Radiance’s skipper. The net of it is that Radiance’s skipper would over-react on their steering and sacrifice their boat speed to avoid us. This was exactly what happened last Wednesday evening and why we were able to keep an intrinsically faster boat from passing us on both reaches.

The only time Radiance did passed us was when she sailed 3-4 boat-length BELOW us on the 2nd leg “C” to “Z”. We couldn’t do any about it as we were not close enough to influence any thing. However, we manage to catch up to them on the “Z” to “8” leg even with Luther looming around us threatenly. Radiance rounded just before us, but it was evident that they did not learn their lessons well from their other legs and tried to roll us from windward again! But being the leeward boat we maintain our course without any “big” luffing duels like the other legs (keeping in mind that the only obligation we had is to sail our proper course), but I steered just 3-5 degrees higher anglle than Radiance and just slowly squeezing them up closer & closer to the Choate until their bow was pointed to the Choate’s cockpit. This maybe the only point of contention if we were in a formal race. Although I could defend that track if the tide maybe flooding at the time of incident?

Nonetheless, it was a really fun race against Radiance and the crew work really made it a pleasure to sail. Thanks! Debbie, Denise and Calvin, good job on the crewing!