Series Finale

Photo Sarah Meigs Just enough wind to fill the chutes, or not?

Photo Sarah Meigs
Just enough wind to fill the chutes, or not?

By TED BURT

Now we know the end of the summer is almost here.  The Saturday Series has been fought out since July 2nd, pitting ancient mariners against young up-and-comers, sailed in drifters and smoky sou’westers, long races and short, fair starting lines and heavily favored ones.  Finally came the last day, a day which fittingly gave a little of all those conditions and which offered to some a chance to wrap up the series with a top spot.  It was a great day.

The first class to start was the S Class.  Their single race of the afternoon was chosen to send them off for long enough that two races could be started and finished for the H Class before they approached the finish line.  That was the first thing that didn’t happen.  Shortly after the S Class started, the predicted northeast wind died, leaving five beautiful fast racing boats drifting aimlessly, some even turning slow circles as they lost steerageway entirely.  Two of the fleet had been late arriving at the starting line, so they headed inshore in a desperate gambit to pick up some wind that the offshore boats obviously lacked.  Somewhere in the long drift toward Gunning Point buoy a light southeasterly began to spread out from the shore, and amazingly enough, the fleet arrived at the turning mark almost together.  The race then began in earnest.  Olive, last seen drifting with her bow towards Cuttyhunk, arrived at the mark first and set her spinnaker to a freshening breeze, leading the pack to a turning mark out in the bay and then close hauled to Stoney Beach.  The final beam reach to the finish line brought a very exciting culmination to the day.  But more about that shortly . . .

The H Class start was delayed (no wind).  While the S Class drifted and the Race Committee motored off to pick up the drop mark which was to have been the windward mark for the H Class, the new southeasterly filtered in, eventually building to a steady 10-15 knots, not predicted, but welcome.  The drop mark was located upwind toward the Knob, and the first race was shortly underway.  Given the unpredictability of the conditions, the Race Committee crew of Ted Burt, Sarah Meigs and Mike Garfield decided to have a short race and see what the wind would choose to do, so a quick windward-leeward course was posted and shortly under way.  Quick indeed.  In a little over 10 minutes the last boat had finished, and Ali Rodin had won by 3 seconds!  Total time between the first and last finishers: 33 seconds!  After a short break, the second race was signaled, the same course as before but this time twice around.  Tom First in Olivia had overcome a premature start in the first race to finish in 2nd place.  He got a great start in the second race but still couldn’t win top honors, finishing 2nd again, this time to Old Pro Mort Saunders in Found It.  Moxie, an old wooden H 12, finished 3d in both races, possibly helped by the addition of a third crew member.

And then came the finish.  As the RC watched with growing apprehension, the spinnakers of the H Class and the spinnakers of the S Class grew larger and larger until it was apparent that they would arrive at the finish line together.  The problem was that the H Class was sailing from one direction (southeast), and the S Class from another (south southwest).  Both fleets were near top speed.  What to do?  The RC shortened their anchor chain to favor the committee boat end of the finish line for the H Class and the buoy end for the S Class, and then they held their breath.  Like shuffling cards, the two fleets sped to and across the line without a hitch, and in the beat of a heart it was all over.

Saturday Series August 27, 2016 Herreshoff 12 1/2s

Series Race # 5

 1. Swizzle Ali Rodin, Steve Chalmers 9:42
2. Olivia Tom & Chuck First 9:45
 3. Moxie Tom & Tom, Jr. Tullius, Bob Stickles 9:49
 4. Penguin Betsy Evans, Halley Allen 9:52
 5. Found It Mort Saunders, Brooke Bailey 10:15

 

Series Race #6

 1. Found It Mort Saunders, Brooke Bailey 16:24
 2. Olivia Tom & Chuck First 16:48
 3. Moxie Tom & Tom, Jr. Tullius, Bob Stickles 17:26
 4. Swizzle Ali Rodin, Steve Chalmers 17:49
 5. Penguin Betsy Evans, Halley Allen 18:00

 

August Saturday Series H Class Overall Standings

 1. Swizzle Ted Grayson 7 (on tie breaker)
 2. Olivia Tom & Chuck First 7
 3. Found It Mort Saunders 10

 

July and August Saturday Series H Class Overall Standings        

 1. Swizzle Ted Grayson 17
 2. Olivia Tom First 18

S Class

 1. Olive Josh Bernstein 1:22:38
 2. Radiant Doug Cooper 1:22:48
 3. Volante Eric Karplus 1:23:00
 4. Teaticket Alan Haigh 1:23:34
 5. Aeolus Jeff Whittle 1:25:16

 

S Class August Saturday Series

 1. Olive Josh Bernstein
 2. Radiant Doug Cooper