July 1, 2015

Buttercup (257) rounds the windward mark as Due Diligence (366), Phoenix (183),and Found It (289) pull away.

Buttercup (257) rounds the windward mark as Due Diligence (366), Phoenix (183),and Found It (289) pull away.

By Doug Jones

Phoenix's Triumphant Return from the Depths

With a 15 – 18 knot (according to the anemometers and the flags) wind blowing out of the SSW, the Race Committee of Ed Jackson, Commodore Alan Haigh, and Doug Jones opted to set a course inside the “lee” of Penzance Point. While the seas were still running high and rough from the morning tornado watch, the winds were moderating and the eight H-12’s handled the conditions easily (or so it appeared from the Cornelia Carey).   In an attempt to avoid the dangers of unexpected gybing, a triangle course was set with the Stoney Beach mark as the windward mark. The racers were instructed to sail the course 2 1/3 times ending with a windward finish.

The boats were well spread out along the starting line with Mike and Ben Garfield in Phoenix (recently re-launched after displaying leaks during her initial launch of the season) and Alec Clowes and Jolynn Khamky in Due Diligence at the committee boat. Ted Grayson and Steve Chalmers tried an early tack off shore only to be confronted with heavy seas and an unfavorable wind shift. The rest of the fleet raced into the shore, eager to be the first to catch the prevailing lift off the Gansett shore. By the first windward mark, Due Diligence had worked her way into the lead, closely followed by Phoenix and Nina Hocker and Andy Hocker in Dory Too. On the ensuing reaches various strategies were attempted. Some chose to fly their spinnaker on the first reach and gybe, some chose to hoist their chute on the first leg and drop for the second, while others waited until after the gybe. The safe path of not flying a spinnaker was also chosen. After all these options were considered, there was very little change in relative positions until the boats headed back upwind. By the time the fleet reached the windward mark for the second time, Due Diligence and Phoenix were still in first and second but Mort Saunders and Liesel Ferguson in Found It had recovered from a disappointing start and took advantage of superior sailing to move into third with Brian Von Herzen and Mike Fenlon in Buttercup in close pursuit.

Due Diligence expertly flew her spinnaker on the following reaches, pulling off a superb gybe despite the windy conditions. Phoenix once again chose to drop her chute for the second reach. Although Due Diligence was able to increase her lead during the second reach, troubles with the spinnaker drop and rounding the mark allowed Phoenix to grab a slight lead as the fleet headed up for the final upwind leg. Phoenix and Due Diligence traded positions as they sailed to windward, however, Phoenix was able to pull away enough to establish a cover and force Due Diligence onto an extra tack. Buttercup continued to move her way up the fleet as she grabbed third place.

1. Phoenix  Mike and Ben Garfield  50:22
2. Due Diligence Alec Clowes and Jolynn Khayky  50:49
3. Buttercup  Brian Von Herzen and Mike Fenlon  51:20
4. Found It  Mort Saunders and Liesel Ferguson  52:22
5. Allie Rose  Chuck First and Tom First  53:01
6. Swizzle  Ted Grayson and Steve Chalmers  53:11
7. Dory Too   Nina and Andy Hocker    53:34
8. The Cog   Wendy Martyna and Becky Gardiner  57:45