Block Island Race Week - Recap
June 27, 2015
I am writing with a recap and wrap-up of this years’ Block Island Race Week for the good ship GryphonSolo2. Picking up where we left off, yesterdays’ race was sailed in lighter winds and the course was basically a windward leg and two downwind legs, so no reaching for the GS2, which craves reaching. Our start was OK- not brilliant- but certainly not horrible- as we bunched up at the pin end of the line on starboard but fairly quickly had to bail out on to port tack and get some clear air. We were going along happily to the right side of the course , but kinda spaced out on a 20’ left shift, which vaulted boats going that way ahead. Our target was a boat called ‘Skye”, a well-sailed Farr 395 who was leading the regatta on points in our class, and they were launched by the wind shift and my double-handed sailing partner Dobbs Davis and I were pissed and vowed to claw back into the hunt. We rounded the windward mark a ways back from Skye, and had a nice and timely spinnaker set and cruised down to the leeward mark… hunting… and convincing ourselves that we were catching Skye… which we were not in the 11 knot breeze. The wind was a little light for the “pizza-pie” hull shape of GS2 which gets kinda sticky in the light stuff. We gybed at a buoy just off the Southwest coast of Block Island, and headed to the finish line near the entrance to the Great Salt Pond, desperately seeking a solution but alas, there was no silver bullet and second place silver was our lot.
Today dawned overcast with weird clouds, making the wind forecast hard to predict. As Dobbs had to fly off to Barcelona for the ORC World Championships last night- rock star that he is- I had Dan Dytch stand in for a cameo and he was awesome. Dan is British- you know, talks funny- but is an excellent sailor with some great experience sailing a sister-ship to my boat, so I was psyched to sail with him for the first time. The wind came up more than expected and at start time we were at 20 knots so went with the smaller staysail jib to stay upright going to windward. Decent start, but in the heavier breeze we started legging out on Skye, and crossed them ahead about halfway up the windward beat. We were pumped. We consolidated our advantage and rounded the windward mark about 3 minutes ahead, as we gybed and set the kite to head away from the beach, a 20+ gust hit and the spinnaker head dropped about 6 feet down from the masthead- WTF? It turns out the cover of the spinnaker halyard tore away from the core where it went through the jammer, leaving us in a bit of a pickle , as there was no way to get the kite down. But Dan the Man quickly got the halyard on the winch as we screamed downwind at 13 knots boatspeed, and solved the problem so we could drop the spinnaker at the leeward mark- earning Dan “MVP” status for the day and a trip to Disney World.
The upwind leg to the finish was weird with an oscillating wind and us struggling in the light stuff and Skye crawling up our backside. But we stood tall, and discharged the enemy attack on our flanks and beat them over the line by a couple of minutes. Declaring victor (no big cellie)… but knowing that we would not prevail on corrected time once handicaps were applied... which was the case.
So… we got second… Silver… not Gold… or the week… and I do have a few regrets and “woulda, coulda shoulda’s”. But you know, it was an awesome week of weather here on BI- a great chance to hang here in this amazingly beautiful place, and you know... life is really pretty good.
So the “no whining” rule is officially in effect and we will “MoveOn.Org.Net” to the next event- the Marblehead to Halifax Race starting Sunday July 5.
Keep the faith GS2 fans- at some point we will make you proud-