By David Schwartz
The Narragansett Bay Yachting Association held its annual ‘Round The Bay race on Saturday, July 30. NBYA worked with The Nature Conservancy, a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Working in this state for fifty years, The Nature Conservancy has helped to conserve 35,000 acres of land in Rhode Island and to protect the quality of the waters we sail in.
The seventeen boats racing motored a short way from their home moorings to one of the four starting lines which was close by. Everyone was expecting NW winds of 7-10 knots all day, and shifty.
Well, we got the shifty part with oscillations of 60 degrees, but the most fun and havoc was caused by velocity puffs to the low twenties followed by lulls in the low teens. With the boats sailing beam reaches on much of the course, spinnaker gear and technique were put to the test. Two pictures from Mischief tell the tale. The first shows a ripped 11mm Vectran afterguy (with a rated strength of 17,200 pounds) which failed with a bang as the spinnaker collapsed then filled for what seemed like the umpteenth time. When it did, the spinnaker flew forward, taking the lazy sheet with it as it whipped forward along the deck. The second picture shows one of the rope burns that resulted as the crew were sitting on the sheet. The skipper is happy to report that everyone is healing just fine, but standing up more rather than sitting on sore parts.
Chris Brown on Luna reports, “We had a blast with our small crew of three. With Samira on helm and me pulling in spinnaker and Rob trimming and dropping the spinnaker, the guy was so loaded it was jammed in the jaws of the pole. I was attempting to not fly away in a gust with most of the spinnaker in my arms.”
Paul Raterron on Njorth Star is shown happy as a clam steering in what looks like pretty calm conditions. However, he says, “The wind was jumping from 12 to 25 knots in seconds, occasionally knocking down the boat. That made for interesting sailing: one hand on the tiller, the other on the mainsheet, which reminded me of when I learned how to sail on a 14-foot dinghy. We finally decided we needed to reef. Putting two reefs in the main and the 110% foresail reduced to merely 90%, the boat became manageable. It was a great sail and we could not have asked for better weather conditions: challenging but so much fun! A big thanks to the organizing committee.”
And finally, Andrew Besheer on Ghost chimes in saying, “We had the fractional code zero up and were having a rollicking ride down the West Passage. We just made it around Dutch but with the gusts heading us we figured we couldn’t make Beavertail so changed to a jib. Of course, immediately the wind went back astern! Anyway, considering we set the rig up for 9-10 knots and had the light 1 up and had the wrong kite up when we changed out of the FR0, I think we survived pretty well and it was an absolutely spectacular day.”
The next NBYA event is the Summer Regatta and Club Challenge on September 17. For more information and to register, visit nbya.org. ■
David Schwartz is President of the NBYA.
Results on the three courses:
‘Round the Bay