On Saturday, the wind was from the SE at about 8-11 knots. With the wind direction, the starting line was set such that a boat could not cross the line on starboard, but could cross perpendicular to the line on port tack. We maneuvered toward the boat end of the line and with the time counting down, sailed starboard about halfway down the line and tacked to port, crossing the line well ahead of the other four boats in our class. Dulcinea(J105) and Carmanah(C&C 43) were off to the right of the boat end, and Tantalus(Express 37) and Blackout(Schock30/30 GP) went too far north of the line into lighter winds and could not get back to the line in time for the start.
The first part of the course was a close reach past Battle Pt and then when we cleared the point, we went closehauled and pointed right at the the mark at University Point. We out pointed the other boats in our class and had superior boatspeed. We also passed the previous two classes with the exception of one cruising class boat that we passed just after rounding the mark. As we neared the mark, the winds lightened under the bluff that shadows this area. We had to take two short tacks to get around the mark. Dulcinea went deep into the cove towards the right and gave up a lot of distance.
We set the spinnaker and had a straight forward reach/run to the Bolin Mark. The wind was spotty ahead of us. Dulcinea and Carmanah closed up some on us even though they followed our track. Another hazard of being a target in the lead. We cleanly rounded the Bolin mark and close reached from the mark around Pt Bolin. With 40 years of racing in these waters, I was confident in knowing how to sail in the shallower waters around Pt Bolin. Dulcinea and Carmanah were not so confident and took a starboard tack back out into Agate Pass and the ebbing current. In the process, they lost some ground.
We reached toward Keyport and when the wind came far enough off the bow, we set the spinnaker and ran in to the passage to Liberty Bay. Again, the wind ahead was shifty and the targets on our backs were showing for the boats behind. The wind picked up as we entered Liberty Bay and the boats behind closed up on us. Dulcinea and Carmanah finished close enough to us to beat us by about 35 seconds after Dulcinea edged out Carmanah for first in class by about 6 inches! Blackout was fourth in class while still trying to figure out their boat and Ole on Tantalus was fifth, probably due to bad luck. Overall, the Division II boat, Emerald Lady(Catalina 27) was first overall and Swan(Thunderbird 26) was second overall.
This race was fun, but also frustrating to me. We led the entire race, made no mistakes and yet we had trouble correcting on slower boats behind. The only place that we may have given up a little time was taking down the spinnaker early at the Bolin mark. I attribute this a lot to the course that had about 1 mile of close hauled sailing and the rest reaching and running. Now if the winds had been out of the north, there would have been about 2 miles of running and reaching and 9 miles of beating. This is the second race in a row of predominately reaching. Someday maybe we will get another race with lots of beating and maybe turn the tables in our favor.
Thanks to my crew of Jim and Michael for working hard at keeping the boat moving.
Results are here: http://www.wscyc.net/WSSA/current%20year/Race4PoulsboInvite.pdf
Video onboard Great White during the Poulsbo Invitational Race. Sorry, not many boats can be seen ahead during most of the video! Shot with a GoPro Hero camera on a Redneck Engineering leveling mount.
Our track for the day. Notice the lack of tacking!