2016 Early Bird H

Photo by Molly Jones: Allie Rose (586), Phoenix (183) and Found It (289) head to windward in Quissett Yacht Club's Early Bird race.

The QYC Early Bird Challenges the Race Committee


This past Saturday afternoon under a beautiful June sky with a delightful Southeast 8-10 knot breeze from the Southeast, the Quissett Yacht Club began its 2016 sailing season with its traditional Early Bird race for H 12 ½s. While an S boat race is also scheduled, rarely are any of these glorious boats in the water this early in the season.

With the all-star Race Committee of Commodore Alan Haigh, Vice Commodore Mark Gordon, Photographer Molly Jones, and RC Chair Doug Jones aboard the Cornelia Carey, nothing could go wrong on this gorgeous day – right? Oh well, thank goodness for preparation and contingency plans. Before leaving the dock the RC discovered that the power supply for the air pump aboard the Cornelia Carey was not working; however, they were able to take advantage of the power at the dock to inflate the needed drop mark. As the Race Committee set the starting line, they then found that the anchor windlass was refusing to work and they were compelled to be satisfied with a slightly favored starboard starting line. In addition, the H-12 class flag had disappeared over the winter; nevertheless, the racers were appropriately informed of the change of starting sequence and the race proceeded without any issues. The RC posted a course of EXDE, sending the fleet upwind to a mark off Knob Cove beach, then on a reach to a drop mark in line with the starting mark, followed by a reach to a mark a mile off from Quissett Harbor, back upwind to Knob Cove beach, and then a run to the finish.

The slight starboard favored starting line prompted the fleet to be a little early to the start and well spread out along the line. While Mike and Emma Garfield in Phoenix were the first to cross the line, they found themselves well to leeward of the other four boats. Although Tom First and Langley Steinert in Olivia were a few seconds late, they had great boat speed at the committee boat end of the line and quickly took top position. Early on the upwind leg, Mort Saunders and Ben Garfield in Found It and Chuck and Tim First in Allie Rose tried the middle of the course searching for the right puffs and lifts, while Phoenix, Olivia, and Steve Chalmers and Jancy Grayson in Sea Breeze sailed to the left hand edge. As the fleet rounded the windward mark, Found It had established a slight lead on Phoenix; however, at the gybe mark Phoenix grabbed an inside position and rounded the X mark in first. Found It quickly rode to windward, blanketed Phoenix and re-established her lead; nevertheless, by the time the two boats arrived at the leeward mark, the positions had changed again and Phoenix rounded this mark in first also. Issues with both her spinnaker and main halyards prompted Phoenix into a less than desirable tack and Found It took full advantage of this opportunity to move ahead. Once Mort has a lead on an upwind leg, he is tough to catch. Found It continued to increase her advantage and established enough of lead to protect her during the final run to the finish.


 1. Found It Mort Saunders and Ben Garfield 52.37
 2. Phoenix Mike and Emma Garfield 52:52
 3. Allie Rose Chuck and Tim First 53:32
 4. Olivia Tom First and Langley Steinert 55:01
 5. Sea Breeze Steve Chalmers and Jancy Grayson 55:28