We could not have dreamed of a better day for the season’s last race last Saturday. A cloudless sky, a moderate northerly wind, a five-boat turnout, and a spectacular location at Hatch Cove.
With a consistent 7-to-8-knot wind out of the north, the jockeying for starting position was fast and furious. True to form, Sally Beck’s timing was perfect — she crossed the starting line just as the horn sounded and took off like a shot toward the first marker. Dick Greenan followed close behind, then Ben Ford, Peter McManus, and John Gibbs, in that order.
John and Dick followed Sally on a starboard tack while Ben and Peter thought they could do better on a port tack. As the fleet spread out, Ben and Sally converged near the first marker in what seemed to be a dead heat, with Sally ultimately rounding the pin first.
As the rest of the fleet continued to beat upwind toward the first marker, Sally increased her lead over Ben on a run toward the second marker. Once John rounded the first marker, he made a bold move and set his asymmetrical spinnaker to pick up speed. Rounding the second marker, John executed a tricky spinnaker jibe, later crediting his beginner crew, Artie and Bill, who had never sailed a spinnaker before.
The wind slackened somewhat as the fleet beat back upwind for the second lap toward the first marker. Sally, again (and of course), rounded it first.
Because Sally was unaware of a course revision made after she sailed off to warm up before the race, she went with the original plan, which was to come home after rounding the first mark, setting her sails wing-and-wing on a beeline for the finish.
Ben initially continued on the revised course toward the second marker and then decided to follow Sally heading directly for the finish. While Peter and and John rounded the first marker and began battling for third place, Dick apparently spotted some loons by Oak Island and decided to take his crew, Ryan O’Connor, on a sightseeing detour.
Competitive as ever, Sally manned the whisker pole on the downwind run to the finish. Crossing first, she was followed by Ben, then John, then Peter, then Dick (see placement adjusted for handicaps below).
We hope newcomers know these are fun races. While we can play up the competition for effect, most of us are racing to learn about sailing and have a good time — we are delighted when new sailors want to join us to learn under the guidance of more experienced boat captains.
So…meanwhile….on the race committee boat, Lynne Gibbs, Barb Ford, Tree Robbins, Elaine Eadler, Sheldon Perkins, and Lisa Perkins teamed up to follow the action, shoot photos, and time the race. We were testing out a great Sailing Handicap Calculator app, which times the race start countdown, then times each boat’s elapsed time to the finish, and then calculates the elapsed time for each boat based on its Portsmouth Yardstick handicap rating. The app made determining the race winner fast and easy, so we think it’s a procedure keeper for next season.
Wrapping up the race, we all headed back to the beach in Hatch Cove, to compare notes, swap stories, munch on cookout goodies, hand out awards, and celebrate a fantastic third season of the GPYC.
Good times are being had and good friends are begin made here — this is a pretty special thing, and we’re so glad to be sharing it with you.
We wish you the best through the coming fall and winter. If you couldn’t join us in person for this season, we hope you’ll find a way to do it next season. We’ll meet next spring for our annual meeting to plan the 2014 season — hope to see you there!