We had a beautiful night out on the Severn River. With winds from 8 – 14 knots out of the NNE the race committee decided on a distance race up to the Naval Academy Bridge and back. The tide was flooding all race.
The boat end of the line was slightly favored and Yellow Rainbow won it and legged out on the competition around Horn Point and up the Severn.
In an effort to stay in the favorable current Yellow Rainbow overtacked and allowed Red Boat to slip past in a right handed puff on the right side of the course. Red boat led through the bridge and chose to round the port bollard and head down the Naval Academy sea wall. Yellow boat threw in an extra tack and rounded the starboard bollard and headed for shallow water on the northern side of the Severn.
Back in the fleet, Ian urged the boats to keep their jibs sheeted in tight, pull on the vang and then play the main sail in and out in the puffy conditions. He also coached the boats to stay out of the middle of the channel – and its flooding tide – on the way back down the river.
The shallow water paid off against the incoming tide and Yellow Boat was able to pass the Red Boat and regain the lead. They headed up, crossed the channel, and rounded Horn Point to finish first. They were followed by Red Boat and then Blue Boat to round out the top three. We were all treated to a beautiful sunset from the clubhouse deck.
The takeaways on the night were to only tack as much as you need to, get to shallow water when fighting a current and get you jibs in tight when beating up wind. Extra tacks on Rainbows do not pay off. If you are thinking about tacking ask why – is it for a shift, current or to cover? If you don’t have a couple of reasons, keep on sailing fast.
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