Early Bird Race 2015
June 29, 2015
By Henry Jones
To Win or Not to Win, that is the question
The Quissett Yacht Club’s first race of the season, the Early Bird Race, was held on the afternoon of Sunday, June 28. As the Race Committee of Henry and Doug Jones steamed out of the harbor, two boats, Olivia with Tom and Tim First and Allie Rose with Chuck First and Betsy Zimmerli, were inching their way to the starting line through dense fog on a light northwest wind. A windward mark was dropped ½ mile away from the starting line and was just barely visible. As the starting time of 2:30 approached two more boats appeared in the distance heading toward the starting area. In the interest of increased competition, the answering pennant was hoisted and a fifteen-minute postponement was declared and graciously tolerated by the “First” skippers. Handoah (since Phoenix had sprung a leak), sailed by Mike and Kathy Garfield and Found It, with Mort Saunders and Liesel Fergusson slowly made their way out of the harbor and were given directions for the windward leeward twice around course.
At the start all four boats were on the line with Handoah at the pin and Found It a few seconds late but at the committee boat. The starting line had a slight starboard favor that became even more significant as the wind shifted slightly to the north. Found It rode this lift to a sizeable lead, while the rest of the fleet seemed safe from the Quissett Early Bird race superstition. It has become generally accepted that the winner of this race does not win another race all summer. When the fleet arrived at the windward mark, Found It had extended her lead with Olivia, Allie Rose, and Handoah battling it out for second. Excellent and conservative spinnaker work aboard Found It allowed her to pull further ahead while Allie Rose moved into second position. After rounding the leeward mark, Allie Rose slowly began to reduce Found It’s lead by riding the frequent lifts and maintaining superior boat speed. The one squall of the day brought a drenching rain and a brief wind shift that pushed Allie Rose into the lead just before reaching the windward mark.
On the final run to the finish, Found It moved to windward of Allie Rose, blanketed her with its spinnaker, and grabbed a half-second victory (to the great relief of all the superstitious sailors aboard Allie Rose). Olivia cruised to an easy third place while Mike Garfield on Handoah seemed eager for Phoenix’s relaunching.
- Found It Mort Saunders and Liesel Ferguson 54:30
- Allie Rose Chuck First and Besty Zimmerli 54:30.5
- Olivia Tom and Tim First 54:50
- Handoah Mike and Kathy Garfield 56:38