Monday, July 18, 2016

High Winds Monday a Challenge

Three qualifying races were scheduled for Monday. Winds were predicted to build with gusts lines in the mid-20s. After Sunday, when Lynn, Stacey and I sailed in about 12 or 13, I was feeling quite confident that I could handle anything. The first two races were perfectly manageable and similar to Sunday's conditions. Winds were generally out of the south and, while there were some waves, they were nothing alarming.

For the first two races the committee set a four-leg, windward-leeward course. After the second race I remember thinking to myself, "this isn't any big thing, this wind,  as long as it doesn't build it'll be fine...." Well...of course, it built! By the time the third race was started, about six boats had retired and I was battening down the hatches.

The race committee made the last race a five-leg one, so we had an upwind finish and would be closer to the club. In the course of the race, in addition to trying to get the boat flat, or as close to flat as possible, we were caught unawares, if you can believe it, by a mighty tanker boat of some kind. It was even larger than most enormous cruise ships I've seen. The worse for us was that we were so busy racing we didn't see it until it was almost too late. The captain was leaning on his horn, which finally caught our attention. Ben tacked away, but that meant we were still in the channel, so for several very uncomfortable minutes it looked like it was still bearing down on us. We must have seemed like so many annoying mosquitos to that behemoth, which was absolutely positively not going to stop or change course!

That challenge conquered, we continued to race. But five legs in the building wind turned out to be too much and they shortened it to three. Even so, by the time the race had finished, the winds were higher than anything I've ever sailed in before. And we had an hour-long, upwind sail to get to the dock. I heard third hand that the race committee said they only saw winds of about 18-19, but Wind Alert after the fact reported steady winds in the 20s with gusts of 29-30. Others reported a few even higher numbers. What I do know is that I was having to pop the jib numerous times to keep us from going over, then pulling it back in so we could continue to try to get home. We were absolutely drenched and I was even shivering ... in mid July, if you can believe it!

It's a real testament to the caliber of sailors that not a single boat of the 46 capsized and, to my knowledge, we had no equipment failures. For winds like that, which are not winds the Flying Scot is meant to be in, that is mighty impressive!

Ben and I were a little disappointed because, with a 13-, 8- and 15-place finish, we were sure we were in the Challenger fleet. Instead, we were pleasantly surprised to be in the Championship fleet. Midwest District sailors, represented by Ryan Malmgren (Ephraim),  and Clinton Lake sailors Frank and Marianne Gerry, Eric Bussell and Chris Tesdal, and Ben and me, had a pretty darn good day, considering we all made it into the championship fleet, which is the goal of the qualifiers.  Go Midwest!  ;-)

The other great thing about Monday was a continuation of a story from Sunday. I thought I lost my waterproof camera overboard on Sunday when I was racing with Lynn and Stacey, but when Bill, Lynn's husband/crew, saw me today, he called out "we found your camera!" It turned out I was smart and put it in the cubby, but then I forgot I was smart. That's the story of my life!

I have no photos of this day but if some surface I'll share them. The results are here

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