The Hurricane Cup turnout was a milestone we will all remember — 15 sloops in one race! …ahem… and we all finished!
Sincere thanks go to Pam Cobb and Mark Heuberger for hosting the event. Sailing from your beach and the tradition-steeped grounds of your beloved Camp Runoia is a true privilege and made the season’s last race particularly celebratory. Thank you for sharing your beautiful slice of heaven on Great Pond.
Congratulations go to Sally Beck and crew for their win and Ben Ford and his for best wind reading and elapsed time by 19 seconds. Congrats also go to the Bradley and Smith/Beach crews for taking it to the Commodore!
Under gorgeous skies and northerly winds of 6 mph, 15 sloop rigs gathered on Camp Runoia’s sandy beach and moored in its cove, painting the horizon and shoreline with masts and white wings alike.
The largest group of GPYC sailors ever mingled sociably by the boathouse catching up with friends and learning the course for the day.
Several powerboats moved about the moored keelboats to pick up folks, and the cove began to buzz with excitement. This was shaping up to be GPYC’s biggest turnout ever, and skips were itching to bring home the Hurricane Cup trophy to cap the season off.
Pete McManus charted a five-mile course with the added challenge of a two-mile upwind beat on the first leg in light winds: Around Otter Island, the Ledges, and back to the Runoia homeport
At least four boats chose the port tack start, including Ben Ford, Monk Terry, John Gibbs, and Mark Heuberger. There may have been others; however, the majority came in on starboard tacks.
Ben Ford and Crispin Fletcher got the fastest start by cheating — Ben’s wife, Barb, who just happened to be on the committee boat, held the starting horn and blew it just as “Comet” crossed the starting line. (Just kidding, for those who don’t know me — Ben, in all seriousness, great start!) Jim McCarthy and I were right behind him, maybe fourth out of the blocks.
Among the race’s challenges: The first upwind mark, Otter Island, was two miles away. In light winds, one needs to find the best part of the course most likely to have the steadiest breezes. Easier said than done.
Many captains bore off to the course’s right side, falling a bit off the wind; however, “Comet,” “Why Not,” “Galen Winds,” “Tippy,” and “Tipsy” chose a close haul route, which seemed to pay off.
Adding to the Otter Island challenge: Most sailors did not know where the heck it was! It’s very difficult to pick out from that far away. Being so close to land, the island blends in with the background trees and sort of disappears at times. I’m not sure if anyone could actually see it from Runoia’s beaches; nevertheless, everyone finished the course.
Ben chose all the right tacks and, ahem, some of us took the Ben-contrarian approach, hoping for better wind lifts by choosing tighter lines, but to no avail.
Ben put on a nice show, rounding Otter with Sally and crew in hot pursuit and was soon running wing-to-wing headed toward the Ledges.
At this point, I thought we could at least beat “Tippy” and “Tipsy” to the first mark; however, to their credit, they chose opposite tacks from one another, but certainly better than the one Jim and I were on, and they smoked us through the pass between Otter Island and the Smith/Beach camp. After rounding Otter solidly in fifth place, we found our beer rations, winged the sails, and cruised toward the sun; somewhere ahead lay the infamous Ledges.
We sailed west chasing the lead boats, passing Tree and Elaine, in the opposite direction, as they headed for Otter. We begged for wine, but they had none, so on we sailed somewhat disappointed, but at least with two more beers stashed aboard.
As Jim and I closed in on the Ledges, a fisherman in a red Lund with a trolling rod on either side headed directly across our bow with just enough head speed to miss us by 20 feet. I motioned to him that we had a three-foot centerboard then pointed for him to go around, but he just stared at me, expressionless. He kept his direction, and we kept ours. I saw one of his lines move as we passed over/through it, so Jim and I would like several minutes subtracted from our time, as this surely provided an unfair drag on our waterline.
Congratulations to all of you for finishing and for Tree and Elaine for climbing up the ladder finishing with five boats behind them this time — good sailing, Treelaine!
Way to go, Ben, sticking up for the V15 honors with best elapsed time — but just not enough separation to fend off Sally’s wily ways and superb sailing skills.
Just a note that will strike fear into the hearts of all: The V15s were four out of the top five places in this race. Whooooo… I know that is scaring all of you. Okay, Sally, stop laughing.
Congrats Sally, Bob, Chris, and Nancy, for the win and for Sally’s third win for the Hurricane Cup in GPYC’s six years. Nice going, Sally!
John R. Gibbs