You know... how you're driving along Ocean Drive and you see the black sheets out there and think..."somewhere it's really pouring". We left the dock to compete in this BYC Saturday Series Race #7 with a cloud packed sky. We had Sunshine for the first time in days. It was beautiful but there were signs of rain everywhere, beginning with these determined little mushrooms growing on top of a piling.
Bruce put me behind the wheel, Mark as Main Sheet Trimmer, Brenda and Bruce would work the winches with Matt and Brett on the foredeck. Brittney was at home studying. Our start was at 12:39... the last boat to start today. We watched all of the others go then made a perfectly timed start ourselves. We followed the pack out to the High Range Marker then off towards #71. The sun was shining but we could see two ominous looking black cloud banks with sheets of rain beneath them. It looked like we might get wet...
After rounding the wellhead we turned our attention to finding the next mark. We were still moving up in the pack and had passed one boat that found a discrepancy in the map's coordinates the hard way. We watched as boats disappeared behind the curtains of rain up ahead, but not before we saw how they heeled in the gusty storm winds. They always say, " if you think you should reef, it's too late"... we reefed the main just in time.
We had been making 6 kts on Port tack with only low 5 kt ranges on Starboard tack. We were now only making 3 to 4 as I was the helmsman and was disinclined to let the boat heel very much. So I pinched and, with Mark's help trimming and easing the main sheet in the gusts, we eked in the direction we had last seen the boats ahead. The crew sat the rail and enjoyed the downpour.
I saw some 24 kt winds but nothing more. We had our biggest head sail and it was hanked onto the deck so that we couldn't roll it to reef. Water was pouring out of the mainsail like a waterfall. We rode it out to the next marker, #4, which we found by watching other boats round it. We really must get that one in our GPS...
Once we rounded the mark and headed for CC, the young foredeck was up there getting things set, but we found there was a snafu. Bruce went up and helped them get it right and we set our sails wing on wing for the last leg in brilliant sunshine. It was as if nothing had happened... no rain, no winds... nothing! It was hot! The only proof of the rains we had was our wet clothes and spotty sunglasses. We finished the course creeping inexorably up through the fleet to claim a Third Place finish. We all had a story to tell and our foredeck had a bit more experience. There were certainly moments out there today when we were all thinking, "what are we doing?!" But in the end it was a fun day with hints of the coming fall weather. Thanks to our intrepid crew for making it another good one for Bruce and I.
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