Monday, June 02, 2014

Cruise When Ya Can't Race

It was supposed to be Beaconsfield Yacht Club's Commodore's Bowl. It is the first significant "Trophy" race of the season. This had me itching to go. Team Ambitious had left harbour well in advance of the start, carefully rigged, loaded lots of water, there was plenty of sun. I had replaced a faulty cleat the night before. All was well. Although the wind was light, the forecast was for 9 knots or more when a shift came in. The race is one of the tours around the lake winding around various permanent marks. It looked like potentially a perfect afternoon.

The light wind dropped to a wisp just before the start, I opted for the shoreside, hoping for a little little land effect. Encore Une Fois and Yin & Yang went out to the middle of the lake. Initially they got far ahead. Sawiki also was well ahead on that side. That made Isurus antsy. They had been not far off our stern and tacked out. Sticking to the shore in the end got frustrating when the wind would only occasionally inch the boat forward. Sudden Impulse hung in just to our port side. We did manage to move father ahead probably more by current than anything else. Then we managed to catch a little air sliding along the sails and move along. Hey, then we easily slipped through the water. Sudden Impulse finally had opted to tack out, but we moved nicely forward and a little ahead of the fleet on the other side who were still floundering. With a long race ahead, the RC seeing most of the fleet still stuck in the middle fired three shots of the air cannon, cancelling the race. Yeesh, 4 races so far this spring and not a single one completed! 

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Oh well, I started the Iron Genny and intentionally set it for a slow, quiet ride home, then pulled out chilled beer as a consolation prize. The sun was brilliant, the heat mild, and at least we were back on the water. Three races the wind died, the other race lightening flashed. Here we are the beginning of June and not a finish line crossed.
Still, it felt good to be back out there after a long, tough winter. How pleased I was to be puttering slowly because it extended our afternoon outing. Before we got back to harbour, a lovely, consistent breeze swept over us. The others ahead, almost at BYC, motored to harbour. We shut the motor off, and tacked back out for a very pleasant sail thank you. What a perfect wind for the crew to have some time on the tiller. The wind was strong enough to move along at a good pace, yet not strong enough to spill our beers. We crisscrossed the lake several times, enjoyed a second frosty beverage, spotted Sue and Dom's new CS 34, and merrily chatted away. What good fortune we had to stay out. I had been so focused on trying to race, execute good starts, sail hard, that I forgot how delightful an easy cruise can be. Good company, an easy sail, little traffic, and bright sun add up to a great start of the season after all. Happy sailing everyone.