By DOUG JONES

Photo by Doug Jones: Off to a great start!

Photo by Doug Jones: Off to a great start!

During the H 12 ½ class meeting last Friday, a few requests were sent to the Quissett Yacht Club Race Committee: the first was to avoid racing to the bell buoy off Woods Hole Channel during holiday weekends, to avoid heavy motorboat traffic typically around the buoy. So when faced with the perfect conditions for sailing to the Bell Buoy (a steady SW 15-17 knot breeze, a healthy 11 boat fleet, and no S boats), the Race Committee noticed the lack of motor boat traffic and polled the racers about ignoring their original request. Having received a positive response, the Race Committee of Alan Haigh, Molly Jones, Charlotte Davis, “Admiral Hornblower” Joel Smith, and Doug Jones moved the starting line ½ mile closer to the Bell Buoy and posted a course of BJS (a triangle starting and finishing in the middle). The heavy seas, tight competition, and slight port favored starting line stretched the fleet from one end of the line to the other. Two boats were on the course side of the line, Jeremy and Steve Chalmers in Sea Breeze and Betsy Hunt and Halley Allen in Penguin. The Race Committee promptly hoisted the “X” flag, sounded a horn, and hailed the boat numbers. Penguin restarted, but Sea Breeze missed the signal and continued on the course. Mike and Emma Garflied in Phoenix found themselves trapped to leeward of most of the fleet and were forced to slow down and bear off so they could tack out to the favored part of the course. Meanwhile, Penguin’s required restart also sent her offshore, and as the fleet came back together, Phoenix and Penguin had moved into first and second place. As the boats approached the bell buoy, they quickly re-discovered the challenges of sailing in the current of Woods Hole. Phoenix judged the current perfectly, maintained her boat speed, rounded the mark without incident, and quickly hoisted her spinnaker. Penguin, Ali and Diana Rodin in Swizzle, and Noah and Ben Garfield in Handoah were in position to follow Phoenix around the mark; however, they misjudged the effect of the outgoing tide and found themselves pushed to windward. Mort Saunders and Alden Burt in Found It and Chuck First in Allie Rose tacked inside of Penguin, Swizzle, and Handoah and were soon on their way to the gybe mark off Penzance Point. As the rest of the fleet safely rounded the bell buoy, the Race Committee heaved a sigh of relief that their prediction of light motor boat traffic had held true. Superior spinnaker work by Emma Garfield on Phoenix allowed her to increase her lead while Allie Rose maneuvered her way into second place by the gybe mark. On the second reach and final short upwind leg to the finish, Phoenix kept a close eye on the fleet and cruised to an easy two minute victory. Swizzle found the puffs and lifts, and she moved her way into second, crossing just ahead of Allie Rose only three seconds behind. The closest finish of the season determined the next five positions as Jon and Katy Burt in Tagalong did the best job of maintaining boat speed and plowing through the waves while the rest of the fleet engaged in too many tacks and misjudged the laylines. Tom and Olivia First in Olivia also took advantage of some premature tacks and slid into fifth place. Results

1 Phoenix Mike and Emma Garfield 1:00:23
2 Swizzle Ali and Diana Rodin 1:02:17
3 Allie Rose Chuck First and Doug Jones 1:02:20
4 Tagalong Jon and Katy Burt 1:03:22
5 Olivia Tom and Olivia First 1:03:25
6 Found It Mort and Randy Saunders, and Alden Burt 1:03:30
7 Penguin Betsy Hunt and Halley Allen 1:03:31
8 Handoah Noah and Ben Garfield 1:03:44
9 Moxie Tommy and Tom Tullius 1:04:14
10 Will o’ the Wisp Warren Zapol and Bob Suitor 1:12:07
Sea Breeze Jeremy and Steve Chalmers WD