Saturday, February 16, 2008

Rahn Father & Son win Wayfarer Mid-winter's

A big congratulations to Montreal sailors, Peter Rahn and his son Alex, 1st overall in the Wayfarer Mid-winter Championship in Lake Eustis YC, Florida. They took five bullets to win with a deceptively healthy lead. After 4 races they had been tied for the lead with Jim and Linda Heffernan from North Carolina.

It had been three years since the Rahns had sailed their Wayfarer dinghy, Shadow. It seems they haven't lost their touch which challenged them with all sorts of wind from whispers in the beginning to strong winds at the close of the regatta.

In race #1 the Rahns did well in light wind to take an early lead on the first beat. That lead switched hands as zephyrs took over changing parts of the course. On the last leg, the Rahns moved back into first, but watched the fleet creeping up on them before taking the race win. With the wind dying the fleet returned to shore for lunch.

The wind filled and backed considerably, and the race committee moved closer to shore. One boat was recalled at the start of race #2 and the rest got off with the pack going left a little favoured over the group going right. While the left group got to the windward mark first, a small lift on the starboard layline helped those on the right (including Peter and Alex) close the gap. The Rahns made good on a number of boats over the next beat and run, went to the left side, and finally managed to hold off a challenge for 3rd place.

The next day saw winds of 4-5 mph, and a race course with a reaching leg. Peter and Alex got a good start in race #4, and worked the center of the course. The best spinnaker work helped the Rahns win the race. They also took race #5 in which some backing wins made the finish line a little tricky, though perhaps not as tricky as docking post-racing with an alligator nearby.

The final day of racing was a very different environment, with winds of 16-18 mph, gusting to 22 or more. Boats were on a plane as they made their way to the starting area under main and jib alone. So all opted to keep their chutes stowed.

A melee near the committe boat made the start exciting with one boat performing a 720. Peter and Alex got away safely. Rounding the weather mark, the Rahns bravely raised their chute and also threw in a well-executed gibe, much to the pleasure of the spectators. Now, it is important to remember where they are sailing. One boat, threw a spectacular capsize, and dug its mast into the mud. Once upright, with the help of a patrol boat, the hull was found to already have become home to a variety of fish and one small gator! With capsizes and shifty winds over 20 mph, the race course was shortened for the final leg.

The Rahn family, regularly race a Shark out of BYC during the summer months.