Pani Baba rides the Orient Express to victory - August 7, 2013
By Henry Jones:

The Quissett Yacht Club Wednesday series continued to flourish as eleven boats came out to the starting line to compete top position in the series. An 8-10 knot southerly wind with shifts to the orient greeted the competitors as they made their way to the starting line. The Race Committee of Henry Jones, Ed Jackson, Sarah Meigs, Anne Dyer, and Martha Adams set a drop mark “X” at 1/3 nautical mile on a course of 210° from the starting buoy and posted a course of XQ (the Quissett Light Buoy)SX – a modified Gold Cup Course.

Charlotte Dorris and Richard Wells in Pani Baba arrived at the starting line three minutes before the first gun and did not have an opportunity to study the posted course. A
balanced starting line had the fleet spread out on starboard tack with no clear idea of which end was favored. At the start, most of the fleet crossed the line on starboard at the pin; however, Ted and Belle Grayson in Swizzle held the prime position at the boat on starboard and had clear air and open water.

Pani Baba, having cleaned off the rust from the previous week and using some tactics brought back from China, sped ahead of the rest of the fleet and rounded the windward
mark with a forty three second lead, followed by Chuck First and Randi Ferraro in Allie Rose and Mort and Weatherly Saunders in Found It. On the second leg, a very tight reach, many boats found that their spinnakers were less than helpful. Pani Baba did not attempt to fly her spinnaker (perhaps due to one of the aforementioned tactics, a forgotten spinnaker, or the anxious look on the crew’s face); however, Allie Rose and Found It were able to make effective use of their spinnakers and significantly narrowed the gap between themselves and Pani Baba.

At the gybe mark, “Q,” Pani Baba rounded first, with Allie Rose and Found It close behind and sparring for mark rounding rights. Although the course called for a gybe and a
broad reach, Pani Baba continued on a dead run (another oriental tactic or lack of knowledge of the course?). Found It and Allie Rose followed in her wake and maintained a similar direction. When Steve Chalmers and Jancy Grayson in Sea Breeze rounded “Q,” they promptly headed in the proper direction towards “S.” Pani Baba noticed the deviation in Sea Breeze’s course and headed up on a beam reach towards the leeward mark. This point of sail proved to be most effective and speedy for Pani Baba as she increased her lead; however, Found It and Allie Rose were caught by the rest of the fleet while attempting the same maneuver.

By the leeward mark, Pani Baba had increased her lead to an interval of a minute and ten seconds over the rest of the fleet with Allie Rose in second position, and Mike Fenlon and Meghan McCrae in Buttercup in third.

On the second upwind leg, Pani Baba stretched her lead enough that she did not need to worry about flying her spinnaker on the final run to the finish, and Found It moved back
into second place. As the boats approached the finish line with spinnakers flying (except Pani Baba), they each held their positions and finished in an orderly fashion, each in turn expressing their gratitude to the Race Committee.

With two races finished and two races remaining to be sailed, many boats are still in contention for series honors, Found It has two seconds, Tagalong has a first (but no throwout), Pani Baba has a first and a seventh, Buttercup has a fourth and a fifth, Swizzle has a third (but no throw out), and Sea Breeze has a fifth and sixth. While Mort in Found It is looking like the favorite, anything could happen during the second half of August.

  1. Pani Baba • Charlotte Dorris and Richard Wells 36:06
  2. Found It • Mort and Weatherly Saunders 36:44
  3. Allie Rose • Chuck First and Randi Ferraro 36:52
  4. Buttercup • Mike Fenlon and Meghan McCrae 37:01
  5. Sea Breeze • Steve Chalmers and Jancy Grayson 37:16
  6. Adajio • Bill and George Armstrong 37:38
  7. Chez Nous • Kathy and Doug Cooper 37:48
  8. Dory Too • Nina Hocker and Sheila Gordon 38:37
  9. Penguin • Randi Evans and Ted McClain 43:18
  10. Yankee Clipper • Betsy Zimmerli and Kathy Murray DNF
  11. Swizzle • Ted and Belle Grayson DNF