Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ambitious has first foray in 2014

After much bottom prep and some repairs, Team Ambitious went out for it's maiden sail of the season. It was the second scheduled race of the Spring Good Neighbour Series. Clouds were dark and it was chilly! Nevertheless the team was hyped to kick off the season. Collette did her usual middle position and Mike from the Encore Une Fois team joined us to work foredeck.

Getting out early is well known as a fact of good race prep. We tend to screw that all up too often and the start of the new season was no different. It took a little bit of time to get everything rigged right first time out. Then, the Sorceress team needed a tow out of harbour. That proved more difficult than expected. A deceptively strong north wind blew Ambitious alongside berthed boats as we struggled to get into towing position.  We finally got out to the start line just as the starting sequence ended and tailed the last boat across the pin end. Except, we were not going to make the pin and had to tack to cross well back of the fleet. Ugh! Lesson brutally re-visited, get out early!

The wind blowing from the north shore is almost always stronger than it looks. The waves are always flatter having less time to build over the short distance from shore. We were way over powered, but with a flat open mainsail we charged up the first leg. Collette called a tack a little below the lay line and we crossed the bow of Encore Une Fois about 400 metres from the mark. Two more tacks and we rounded the mark with Encore on our stern. We were rusty timing our helm and sail trim and in a powerful wind struggled to turn Ambitious round the mark too widely. Encore slipped inside with us one boat length ahead 30 seconds later. The crew launched the chute smoothly and we continued a powerful surge forward. With one well managed, high wind jibe we had a great downwind leg.

Lightening flashed to the west, and as many as 6 bolts at a time on the south shore. That compelled RC to cancel the race, and our first foray was done. It was good to shake out the cobwebs, and the team had a high wind lesson on where we need work. It was good to get the season started. Watch out folks, we will be on time and on the line for the warning signal Thursday!

Ralph S

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