Monday, September 22, 2014

Bridge to Bridge was Quite a Ride

 I will admit to feeling a little bit dubious about Sunday's "bridge to bridge" race. It seemed like, unless the wind was exactly right, it could be a long, reaching race in which it would be almost impossible to catch boats or have boats catch you. I also imagined, because of that, that it would be a pretty relaxed race with plenty of time for refreshments, and sightseeing.

Ben getting psyched up Sunday morning
Boy, was I wrong! Sunday's wind was very similar to Saturday's, out of the south/southwest with lots of big puffs. It seemed like the gusts might have been even stronger...Anyway, the course was a broad "V" shape. It began near the club, went down that part of the lake we raced in yesterday and then took a left turn around a point. That second leg was at least as long as the first leg of the course.

We started with a standard length windward leg up by the first bridge near the club, and then took off down the lake on a spinnaker run. Although it was tight, we could carry the spinnaker almost the entire way to the second bridge. What a run it was! Some of the puffs were so strong that, with Ben and me putting our weight far back, it felt like we were on a motor boat! And I can feel that ride in my muscles this morning (it's Monday).

Charles and Sarah Buffington rounded first and locals Greg and Kathy Madzelonka rounded second, with Ben and me in hot pursuit. The race to this point had taken about 30 or 40 minutes. Given our ability to fly the spinnaker, we thought there would be plenty of opportunity to point on the return leg. There was. Lots of pointing. And hiking. And tacking. And pulling on the vang. And spilling the main in the puffs.That was the longest windward leg we've ever raced and it was hard, fun work.

In the first half of the upwind leg the lake was narrower and we traded tacks with the Madzelonkas, Jim Diffily, and Dan Goldberg. Plus the Benners were catching us. Soon, though, we got our rhythm and we began to pull away a little bit from the other boats. The Buffingtons,  by this point, had pulled so far away from the rest of us that they were a speck on the horizon. As we passed the point and turned for the finish we were most worried about Dan, so we covered him loosely. And that's the order in which we finished: Buffingtons, us, Dan, Benners and Madzelonkas.

So that was the bridge to bridge. No time for refreshments. No time for sightseeing. Just an exhilarating race on a gorgeous day with lots of friends, new and old. That's why we travel.
Regatta winner Dan Goldberg and his crew pose in front of the scoreboard

We packed up our boat, had lunch, enjoyed the awards ceremony and then hit the road. It was an almost 9 hour drive and we had work the next day.

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