Gusty Trades make for Exciting Racing
The winds were gusting over 20 knots just before the start of the second race of the NYC Junior Invitational Race Series and crews and skippers were debating on whether to put a reef in their mainsails. Each boat was required to have at least 1 junior on board to qualify for the race and several skippers were looking for additional crew to add more weight to use as railmeat (movable ballast) to keep the boats from heeling so much. All the boats were loaded down with crew and each skipper had elected to race under full sail. When the start horn sounded OZone, Papa a’u, and Kato were in the lead.
The course for this evening’s race was almost 6 miles in length and included two trips out to the lighthouse buoy anchored just outside the harbor and in the full force of the gusty trade winds. The first trip out had OZone leading the pack with the leaders then setting their spinnakers for a quick downwind ride back into the harbor. As expected with the strong winds a few of the boats had gear failures. In one instance a boat had their spinnaker guy’s shackle break open and release the tack of the sail. Another boat had an outhaul block explode under too much load. In all cases the crews recovered quickly and kept the boats well under control.
In addition, the final downwind leg had some excitement as the fleet sailed past the mole parking lot full of spectators. The Mother-of-All gusts came roaring across the water and hit Kato with full force. It seemed to happen in slow motion as Kato’s spinnaker went one way and the boat went the other rounding up with her crew holding on. The crew managed to gain control of the boat quickly and soon were back on course to the leeward mark even though the gust didn’t let up. This same gust also knocked Papa a’u sideways and her lee rail went underwater with her boom dragging in the water. Papa a’u’s spinnaker flayed wildly from her mast head as she recovered and steered once again to the next buoy. Spectators on the mole asked the Race Committee if the excitement would cost extra!
OZone finished first with a corrected time of 1:09:01 followed by Kato with a corrected time of 1:12:01. Fast Company finished third with a corrected time of 1:14:09. Club Class had Speedy finishing first with a corrected time of 1:08:41 followed by Weatherly with a corrected time of 1:09:04. Coyote finished third with a corrected time of 1:10:29.
The public is invited to watch the third race of the NYC Junior Invitational Race Series on June 8th when the flags fly at 5 p.m. at the end of Kalapaki Breakwater.