As Joe crossed the starting line the wind basically died
Visions of race records and downwind surfing conditions danced in the heads of sailors planning their strategy for the Marblehead Halifax race Sunday. Pre-race weather forecast called for a big blow from the southwest, propelling the 37 IRC boats and the big red Open 60 Gryphon Solo to Halifax in record time. During the practice sail Saturday afternoon, everything looked perfect for a very fast race.
As luck would have it, the forecast changed rapidly as the start neared. Prior to Gryphon Solo's 2:20 PM start, the wind was blowing from the West at almost 20 knots and things were looking good. All of the boats in our class came in on starboard gybe ready to set spinnakers when suddenly, just moments before the gun, the wind went way forward, causing everyone to stop in mid-hoist and go back to their jibs.
It was bit chaotic and after Gryphon Solo crossed the line the wind basically died. Everyone struggled to get the right sail up and keep the boats moving in the right direction.
Five hours into the race and the wind settled in directly from the East- exactly the course to Cape Sable. The weather files forecast the wind to clock into the southeast, which would free the Open 50 up a little, but the forecast keeps changing with every download of a new file, so the reliability of the forecast is probably not too high.
Our crew of six is settling in," Joe Harris commented by email Sunday night, "with the watch of Hugh Piggin, Rob Gale and Rich Wilson on duty now and Jamie Haines, Robbie Doyle and myself off duty. Hugh has just cooked up a nice previously-frozen lamb stew and the warm meal is helping ward off the damp rain falling from the sky. It looks to be a long, wet night of light air, upwind sailing.
Hopefully the morning report will carry a more upbeat message and some sunshine.
Read stories and see pictures from the Marblehead Halifax Race on: http://www.gryphonsolo.com/
There's more at http://www.marbleheadtohalifax.com/