July 16, 2014
By Doug Jones:
New Waters, New Wind, Old Winner
With a shifty wind out of the south southwest and a threat of impending showers, the Quissett Race Committee of Ed Jackson and Doug Jones set a start and finish line inshore of the regular starting mark. Some of the Wednesday Quissett fleet (and the entire Woods Hole fleet) found the danger of getting wet to be too overwhelming and chose to stay ashore. The five boats racing on this evening had the opportunity to test out a new course of QEH. This included a short windward leg to the Quissett light buoy, followed by a tight reach to the mark off Knob Cove Beach, then a long broad reach to a mark near Racing Beach, and finally a beat back to the windward to the finish.
The race committee set a port favored line and the fleet began to circle like wolves fighting over the preferred position at the pin end. With the rest of the fleet approaching the line on starboard, Mike and Ben Garfield in Phoenix chose to attempt a port tack start. While the angle to the starting line certainly encouraged this maneuver, the risk was high since Phoenix would have to time her start perfectly to avoid ducking the entire fleet. Fortunately, Phoenix’s skipper knows his boat well and had her sailing full speed at the pin end right at the starting gun and easily cleared the entire fleet. Phoenix continued to sail out while Ted Grayson and Bill Armstrong in Swizzle attempted the inshore route; however, single handers Chuck First in Allie Rose and Mike Fenlon in Buttercup found that the middle route allowed them to find fortuitous puffs and lifts and rounded the Quissett light buoy in first and second with Phoenix in third because of two additional late tacks.
On the first reach, Phoenix took full advantage of her ability to fly a spinnaker (single handed racers are prohibited from doing so) and quickly moved past Buttercup. Allie Rose was not as easy a mark and held Phoenix back for most of both of the reaches. By the time the fleet arrived at the leeward mark, Phoenix had grabbed the lead and Swizzle had second place with Allie Rose only seconds behind. On the long reach from mark E to H, Nina and Andy Hocker in Dory Too tried to avoid the challenges of a dead run by heading in towards Racing Beach and then gybing on a closer reach to the leeward mark. Unfortunately, this clever maneuver did not pay off as handsomely as she had hoped; however, Dory Too did put herself in a solid position for the final upwind leg.
As the fleet beat to windward, Phoenix tacked back and forth in an attempt to cover the entire fleet. These waters and this wind direction was new to the racers so they had to rely on reacting to the shifts and puffs as they happened instead of simply relying on the tried and true strategies of the past. The shifty winds and short race provided for an exciting finish whose outcome was not certain until the very end. Phoenix rounded out her fantastic Wednesday series by winning the final race by 13 seconds over a fast charging Dory Too, with Swizzle 7 seconds behind, and Allie Rose another 7 seconds later. Buttercup’s final position may have prompted the boat bottom scrubbing witnessed this past Wednesday. Mike has won the last three Wednesday races and has clearly positioned himself as the boat to beat this summer.
- Phoenix Mike and Ben Garfield 39:53
- Dory Too Nina and Andy Hocker 40:06
- Swizzle Ted Grayson and Bill Armstrong 40:13
- Allie Rose Chuck First 40:20
- Buttercup Mike Fenlon 41:21