July 22, 2015

July Wednesday 4

A Spectacular Wednesday Evening on Buzzards Bay

By Doug Jones

For the first time all season, the Wednesday evening Quissett Race Committee did not have to worry about whether to cancel the race due to high winds or threatening conditions; consequently, the largest fleet of the year came out to race. Morning northerlies had been replaced by a steady west wind blowing 12-14 knots; therefore, the Race Committee of Alan Haigh, Martha Adams, and Doug Jones set a starting line ½ due east of the Penzance Point buoy and posted a course of JAXJ with the starting pin being declared as “X.” After pulling off a perfect port tack start on Saturday, Mike and Ben Garfield in Phoenix took a more conservative approach with a pin end, starboard tack start. Nina Hocker and Sheila Gordon in Dory Too had a similar notion and carried out their plans to perfection hitting the line at the gun with excellent boat speed.

Attempts to start on port were thwarted by the fleet spread out along the line and a number of boats were required to duck the entire fleet. Dory Too and Phoenix led the line of boats heading into the lee of Penzance searching for calmer seas and a lifting wind. Unfortunately, the wind abated just at the start and the racers had to work hard to maintain superior boat speed through the waves off of Penzance Point. Anytime Quissett racers sail to J, they have to decide how close to sail to the point since there are many unpredictable lulls, lifts, and headers. Mike Fenlon and Bonnie Simon in Buttercup made all the right choices and arrived at the windward mark with a solid lead over the fleet with Phoenix and Mort Saunders and Liesel Ferguson in Found It in close pursuit.

Phoenix was the first to fill her spinnaker and quickly bore off heading errantly back to the starting line. Meanwhile Buttercup, Found It, and Chuck and Tom First in Allie Rose aimed for the Stoney Beach mark. On this tight spinnaker leg, the skippers had to chose between the rhumb line that brought them close to the shore and into the lee of the point and the less direct but windier route offshore. With the entire fleet heading in a different direction, Phoenix maintained her bearing and belief that an alternate race course had been posted – an unfortunate decision since they had entered the day leading the series. After rounding their leeward mark, Phoenix sailed past the Cornelia Carey and noticed that the course was indeed not what they had thought and good-naturedly accepted their fate and headed back into the harbor.

On the second spinnaker leg, Found It narrowed the gap on Buttercup and rounded the leeward mark only seconds behind. Found It continued her boat speed and was able to escape from Buttercup’s shadow and pull into the lead. During the subsequent upwind leg, Found It expertly covered the fleet and increased her lead. Allie Rose hunted out every possible puff and lift on the way to the windward mark and rounded J in second place with Ted Grayson and Cecelia Bohan only seconds behind. As the fleet headed home to the finish with their spinnakers flying, the Race Committee enjoyed the most glorious view of classic boats expertly sailed.

The closest and most exciting finish of the year was for seventh and eighth place. All day Dory Too and Steve Chalmers in Sea Breeze had been battling back and forth with the lead changing hands many times and with the boats within boat lengths at each mark rounding. As they approached the finish Sea Breeze had a slight lead but Dory Too had her spinnaker flying beautifully and had the favored windward position. Since Steve Chalmers was sailing single handed, he was not allowed to fly a spinnaker and this turned out to make the difference as Dory Too’s spinnaker crossed the finish line 1/10 of second ahead of Sea Breeze’s bow. Swizzle’s third place finish helped her to claim first place honors for the series while Phoenix took second.

Found It                     Mort Saunders and Liesel Ferguson                                  53:04

  1. Allie Rose                   Chuck and Tom First                                                                        53:57
  2. Swizzle                        Ted Grayson and Cecelia Bohan                                         53:59
  3. Buttercup                   Mike Fenlon and Bonnie Simon                                          55:54
  4. Penguin                      Randy Evans                                                                          56:10
  5. Will O’ the Wisp         Bob Suitor and Sue Shannon                                               58:20
  6. Dory Too                   Nina Hocker and Sheila Gordon                                          58:48
  7. Sea Breeze                 Steve Chalmers                                                                      58:48.1
  8. Cocochellie                 Craig Hattabaugh and Ethan Burt                                       60:13
  9. The Cog                      Wendy Martyna, Becky Gardiner, Romey Hart-Martyna 62:35

Phoenix                      Mike and Ben Garfield                                                          DNF