Sloop Dogg Racing Sunday

The boat rocked and then jerked at the end of its dock lines. Halyards throughout the marina were tapping uptempo time against masts. It was dark. The wind was up, and now so was I. This wasn’t in the forecast, but if it meant there would be wind at race time, I wasn’t complaining.

By 8 a.m., Peter Burgard and I were motoring to the race course on Sloop Dogg. The diesel was powering the boat through whitecaps and waves that sent Lake Pleasant spray into my coffee. The wind, which often shuts down with the taking down of the AP flag, was still blowing. When the engine inexplicably started to lose RPM’s, I said we should put up the main while we still had steerage. As soon as the sail ties were off, the engine died. The genoa was unfurled and we sailed on starboard tack to a cove on the west side of the lake in the lee of a hill. After I pointed us close to the wind, Peter started raising the main but the hanks jammed in the slot. When a puff arrived from over the hill, the boat started to slide sideways toward the rocks on shore. I trimmed the genoa and brought the boat closer to the wind, which gave Peter more time to raise the sail though the rocks posed an undebatable deadline. With the main eventually up, we sailed out of the cove, and into the wind. This was going to be fun.

We had good starts all day. In fact, we “won” the favored committee boat end several times because boats ahead of us arrived too early and were carried toward the pin end while trying to avoid being OCS. Four races were held and the courses varied from Olympic to triangle to windward-leeward. We were in second place at the last mark 3 times and 1st once. Our finishes, on uncorrected time, were 2-4-2-3. That means twice we were passed on the final windward leg.

Actually, we weren’t passed as much as we had one disastrous mark rounding and the other time I overstood the starboard layline to the upwind finish. Boats tacked behind us and had a head start on the final sprint. If the course had been longer, we might have caught them. If I knew them what I know now, I would have tacked sooner. If those boats hadn’t passed me, I wouldn’t have learned anything.

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