Sunday, July 8, 2007
The pre-race weather forecast called for a big blow from the southwest, propelling us to Halifax in record time. Visions of race records and downwind surfing conditions danced in our heads. When we went out for a practice sail yesterday afternoon, everything looked perfect for a very fast race. We discussed just sailing on through the night and taking the penalty for being over the starting line early... by about 24 hours.
As luck would have it, the forecast changed rapidly as the start neared. Prior to our 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 we crossed the line as the wind basically died, causing everyone to struggle to get the right sail up and keep the boats moving in the right direction. We are now 5 hours into the race and the wind has settled in directly from the East- exactly the course we need sail to Cape Sable. The weather files forecast the wind to clock into the south east, which would free us up a little, but the forecast keeps changing every time we download a new file so the reliability of the forecast is probably not too high.
Our crew of six is settling in, 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.