I am writing to report on GS2's recent participation in the 2020 Vineyard Race. We entered the ORC double-handed class and were mainly competing against similar boats to what we faced in the Ida Lewis Race- Figaro 3's, Figaro 2's and a Sunfast 3300 and 3600. While these boats are all smaller than GS2, they are recent designs and very fast, so our primary goal was to beat them boat-for-boat. We achieved this goal, beating the first Figaro 3 by more than 2 hours with a finishing elapsed time of about 34 hours. However, in the wonderful world of handicap racing, our corrected time sent us back into the cheap seats of those standings. While I am not going to rant about handicap racing again, suffice it to say that the rating rules do not do a good job at handicapping Class 40's, so we really just need to focus on sailing well and achieving the best elapsed time, not corrected time. And we did that. To add perspective to our performance, we beat the only other Class 40 in the race- the former Bodacious Dream- by over 5 hours. I can just hear Dave Rearick groaning!
The race began with a downwind spinnaker start in about 15 knots of wind and we came across the line at full speed just seconds after the gun. We flew down LI Sound to the Race at Fishers Island and got through on the favorable outgoing tide. However, once in to Block Island Sound the wind went completely dead for about 90 minutes, and we flapped around helplessly as others caught up. The wind filled back in from the North and we put up out Code Zero reaching sail and took off again for Buzzards bay Tower at 9K of boat speed. We cruised past Block Island and attempted to get through Plum Gut back into LI Sound but the wind went light and we had to sneak through another opening in wind less then 5k. The sea breeze piped up from the SW in the afternoon and we sailed the last 60 miles dead upwind in LI Sound in winds from 12 to 20 knots and crossed the finish line at about 10:30 PM. This race reminded me of previous Vineyard Races I had done with my father, Woody Harris, back when I was in my 20's, so it was fun to remember him and do the race again after such a long time away. Luckily my DH partner and LI native Rob Windsor has done at least a dozen Vineyard Races, so he knew the strategies and race course well.
So Robbie and I are pleased with how we sailed and feel it is another important step forward in our preparation for the upcoming around-the-world Globe40 race (www.globe40.com)scheduled to start in June 2021. The boat is currently in a state of constant improvement and upgrade and we have a few more items to tick off the list before we haul the boat in late September for a major refit. Our wind and speed instruments need to be better calibrated and our sail inventory needs improvement so we are working to address those deficiencies in the fall, as we know time will be short when we launch in the spring and need to deliver the boat to Tangiers, Morocco in late May for a June 27 Globe40 start.
Yet another important step forward and a fun race. I just got word that we received the 'Bill Luders Trophy' for 'Best Elapsed Time in the Largest ORC Class', so we go that going for us... which is nice. So no more races are currently on the GS calendar for the fall, so we go back to tuning and tweaking before the trip from Block Island back to home base at Maine Yacht Center in Portland in late September.
Please send on any questions or comments- I look forward to hearing from you all in GS2 Nation. So 'Get on the Bus, Gus'- we going around again!