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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Round the County Race

This past weekend I raced LightSpeed in the Round the County race with friends Aaron and Kelley. The Round the Country Race is a two day event that takes sailors on a clockwise circumnavigation of the San Juan Islands in Washington State. The race was good fun and the focus of racing environment helped me learn a few things about sailing LightSpeed. The first day of the race we took things pretty easy and kept well clear of the boats battling for prime starting position at the line. We also were pretty lazy about flying our spinnaker when we should have. The second day we again steered clear of the start line antics and crossed the starting line pretty late, but with our spinnaker up. Our tactic worked well and we quickly caught the fleet and for a fleeting moment were in the top ten with the huge racing sleds. Then the wind filled in as we rounded Turn Point on Stuart Island and things got pretty dicey. A catamaran responds to the helm a little differently than sporty race boats. Maneuvering LightSpeed conjured visions of a clumsy giant at a full out run surrounded by scurrying mice. We held our own with faster boats on the downwind run, but our spinnaker is made for very deep wind angles compated to the A-symentrical spinnakers off the race boats. In the end the pointing ability of the cat vs. race boats had us out matched on the windward legs. Our tactics and sail handling were decent, but showed our minimal racing experience. Overall we placed 62 out of 72 on a corrected basis leaving lots of room for improvement on future races. Cruising certainly doesn't hone the technical sail trim required for racing so it was good to pay more attention to the details and experiment with what worked best.

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