Friday, January 20, 2012

Key West Race Week Update - Farr 30 Mummbles Makes Moves

APS Customer Service Staffer Matt F. said he'd keep us in the loop while he's racing in Key West for the week. Check out his regatta report:

(Note - if you're not a fan of the drawing below, check out the APS homepage photo. It's a little more realistic Key West picture...)

Day 1 report:

Great breeze, great racing. We had a 20kt breeze all day and 2 competitive races. Our team’s experience with one another caused a few mistakes and lost us a few critical places at critical times on the race course. We were able to plane readily downwind. Our max downwind speed was 2kts faster than the boat that finished directly in front of us, which just proves you have to have more than straight boat speed to do well.

The fleet seemed to be pretty well sorted as teams 1-6 went 1-1, 2-2, 3-3 all the way down the line.

Day 2:

What a great day of racing. Breeze laid down a bit from Monday and was steadily in the 13-15kt range laying down slightly as the day went on. Our boat work was a fair bit cleaner and it helped out a lot. Despite a wrap on the first hoist and a minor tear in the kite on the second, we were able to make moves on boats all day. We came into a few a few mark roundings in tight spots and were able to come away pretty cleanly. This being our third day of sailing with this exact crew, our learning curve is still pleasantly steep and each day we learn a lot more about one another. The race committee had us on the race course an hour earlier on Tuesday in anticipation of the light winds on Wednesday, and we were able to squeeze 3 races in. We went 2, 3, 2 for a 2nd overall on the day in our fleet. We moved from 4th to 3rd only 1pt out of 2nd.

Day 3:


As former APS employee Chris Texiera said to me the other week, 'Key West would be so much better with a built in lay day on Wednesday' so that people can explore the island and really take the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful place we're in. Well, this year, we had that opportunity. Race committee had an onshore postponement until 1 pm but eventually called off racing.

Fortunately, we were able to quickly mobilize thanks to some connections (no thanks to me) and went out fishing. Caught a black fin tuna and brought it to the Farr 30 class party! What a great way to spend the day! Good crew bonding, too.


Day 4

Determined to meet the 10 race goal stated by race organizers, we had another early start on Thursday to squeeze in 3 races. Conditions were a little light at the start which led to an on the water postponement as the breeze worked in. Eventually a steady breeze established and racing began. At the start of the day we were 1 point out of second place and were set on challenging the Swedes for second place.

The first race of the day was super tight with the Swedes and we ended up finishing bow to bow with them in contention for second place. I didn't think we got second but several people on my boat (and their boat) did; resulting in us sailing the entire day unsure of where we had finished.

The second race of the day wasn’t especially noteworthy, except to say we lost another point to the Swedes and determined to do everything we could to stay between the Swedes and the finish line in the third race, and we did.  In fact, we helped them into their worst finish of the regatta; unfortunately it was also ours too.

Sailing back in, one of our crew pulled up the results on his phone, only to discover we got third by 1 second in the first race.

It was a fun day of racing, but a tough one. Especially the first race since, I alone, can think of a dozen or so things I could have done slightly differently that could have been the difference between second and third place.  On the day we missed several critical shifts which hurt us in the end, but with the rest of our sailing clean and our boat speed was slightly above average, we were still able to walk away with fairly decent results.

At the end of Day 4, we sit 2 points out of second and 5 points in front of the fourth place boat. The first place boat, Groovederci, has little risk of losing first place.

 Day 5

This is when racing sailboats is at its most fun (at least for me); coming into the last day of an event with the opportunity to make some moves on the score card. Team Mummbles sat 2 points out of second and 5 points in front of our fellow Chesapeake boat, Gotcha (who had some really sweet new rigging courtesy of the APS rigging staff, found here).

Of the four windward mark roundings on Friday, we were overlapped with the second place boat 3 times and of those 3 roundings, we had to do a turn once and the Swedes had to do a turn once. Even when one team split right and the other split left upwind just to find some separation, we both ended up at the windward mark at the same time.  Unfortunately, after doing our turn after the first rounding in the first race, we were able to come back to striking distance and finished fourth. Now we stood 4 points out of second and 4 points out of fourth.

Our last windward rounding of the week we were overlapped with the Swedes and found themselves in a position to have to do turns, which didn't seem to hurt their position relative to us at all. They split left and we split right downwind.  Behind them on the score sheet by enough, even if we beat them in this race it wouldn't change our overall standing.  Ultimately we finished third, which was pretty indicative of our overall performance: knocking at the door of second place but never moving up from third.

On Friday our downwind boat speed was lacking and understandably hurt the results. It was one of those days where you’re asking one another whether or not you’ve run over a patch of sea grass, but unfortunately solving our issue was not as easy.

Overall, we finished third on the day and third in class for the event. I wish we had taken a better shot at second but am happy where we finished. Looking ahead we should have a few of the same boats to race against come the Annapolis NOODs so look for some more updates in early May.

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