In 2022 Races
First Race of the Year
Report by Tony Brogan with help from Paul Faget
Picture by April Faget
Arriving at the dock around 0900 John and I were greeted with a swirling fog allowing a maximum 100 yard visibility to discern anything on the water. 
It was notably quiet and only Ben Sutton, on Evangeline,  was about, and appearing eager to sail. 
We thought the lack of wind and visibility could still allow a sail and we considered that a trip to Ganges shoals and back would air the New Year cobwebs. If we made it back before noon we would go around a second time. 
But our SISC Racing Team wasn’t about to allow us to have all the fun, or the harbour to ourselves.
This was about 0935 and seeing Douglas prepping on Firefly we wandered over to give him the news and we now had three boats.  Then Gyle and crew arrived on Shingebiss and there were 4 boats heading out. 
We went to prep Radiant Heat and shortly before 1000 we heard the buzzer sound off and wondered what that was. 
(I guess I had better get back. This lack of organization is giving me the hives! – FCR)
A few minutes later we were off the dock into the starting area and we saw Bob from  Oasis and Paul from Poco at the outer dock.  Both arrived via the water so we had not seen them on the docks. . The fog had lifted and there were catspaws on the water. The wind, such as it was, had switched from NW to the advertised SE. 
Inching close to the dock, aboard RH, we heard that Paul and Bob, arriving late and not knowing of the previous plan, had reset the proposed course. Start at the Regular line, to U62 (P), Welbury Spar (P), Horda Shoals)S) and finish at the club Transit. 
(Slapping my already flat forehead – FCR)
Thus our original plans were set aside and we memorised the new instructions. We took it upon ourselves to notify Evangeline, already sailing, and Firefly, by radio, of the new course.
Thus we eyed the growing wind as it arrived in patches, described on the water in wrinkles, and we sailed about the start line in 4 knots of wind.
With 5 minutes to go we were not sure all motors were off, (the RI say 4 minutes for future reference – FCR)  but who was counting, and we saw boats spread about the prestart side. We thought the port side favoured and with 90 seconds left we turned from the docks to run the line with free space to do so. Ogopogo was seen manoeuvring at the outer port end pin.
Two thirds of the way down the line we hardened up to cross the line on time as did Ogopogo to our Port, who promptly took off with superior speed and heading, never to be caught again.
Firefly had a good start to our starboard while the other three were further aft where they remained for the rest of the race.  The wind strengthened to the 5-6 knot range with soft spots but no holes . We tacked out the harbour. Poco was further in the lead , but Firefly and Radiant Heat traded tacks a few times  with RH in Second place around Sisters Island and headed to Captains passage.
On this long beat Firefly slowly but surely overhauled Radiant Heat and she was 75 yards ahead as we crossed to the Prevost side. She tacked away toward the mark but seemed early to us and we waited a little longer before we turned. Current was ebbing more the closer we were to Prevost and there were drifting logs to avoid where they were collected by the tide line.
We found we were on a direct course to U62 while Firefly was lower buy some 10 degrees and had to sail against the tide after tacking for the mark.
Radiant Heat slipped around the mark 5-10 boat lengths ahead.
Ogopogo was long gone. Shingebiss following our course was 200 yard back and Evangeline and Oasis both who had tacked away from Welbury Reef far out into Captains passage were a half mile back clawing their way against the current up to U62
In the lighter air Firefly wide angle gybing with her asymmetric managed to gain on us again and lead us down to Welbury spar. It was a case of us broad reaching and maintaining the distance. Tacking back to Horda Shoals as the final mark we maintained the relative distance.  Finally with a little more wind as we headed downwind to Sisters, and as we entered the harbour we were allowed to narrow the gap imperceptibly.
Ogopogo I guessed was finished 20 minutes ahead , Firefly 30 seconds ahead, Shingebiss a few minutes back, The Oasis and Evangeline several minutes more to finish what turned out to be a very pleasant sail.
So how was Ogopogo long gone a few paragraphs back and finished only 20 minutes ahead? From Paul:
‘ We discovered that sailbags not only float, they can go upwind.  Somehow there was an extra sailbag packed in with the spinnaker that we launched at U62 on the hoist.  When it was apparent that it wasn’t going to sink we took the spinnaker down, sailed back upwind and retrieved the bag.  With the ebb current the bag was to weather of the mark by the time we picked it up.  Had to be careful not to unwind ourselves around the mark.  Then spinnaker back up and on our way.’
It would seem that both Poco and Firefly are in high speed mode and boats will do well to beat either in 2022.
After the snow and Ice of the previous 3 weeks it was a pleasure to be afloat again.
There was nothing in the way of after race socialising as crews disappeared into their boats.
See you next Sunday, hopefully at the skippers meeting in fine weather as currently forecast.

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