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 Boomerang Race
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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USA
5269 Posts

Initially Posted - 07/14/2018 :  09:14:42  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
One of the fun races of the season is the Boomerang Race. It starts at Annapolis, runs south down the Bay to around the Patuxent River and then back to Annapolis for the finish. Our start will be around 18:00 this afternoon. We're racing on a Jeanneau 45 with an assym. Predicted weather includes 15-22 kt winds approximately out of the south, with possible rain squalls. We expect to finish sometime tomorrow morning. 72 boats will be participating tonight. Should be challenging!

Steve Milby C&C 35 Landfall ("Captiva Wind"); Cal 25 ("Fahrvergnügen")
Past Commodore

Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8191 Posts

Response Posted - 07/14/2018 :  14:11:28  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
"Boomerang"... meaning finshing up from where you started? What a concept!

About 14 hours? Have a (not TOO) exciting time!

(Edit: Actually, you're gone.)

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic, CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, ex-OUPV
Now on Eastern 27 Sarge (but still sailing when I can).

Passage, Mystic, and Sarge--click to enlarge.

Edited by - Stinkpotter on 07/14/2018 14:15:53
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bigelowp
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
1418 Posts

Response Posted - 07/14/2018 :  16:36:45  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Look forward to hearing the "color commentary" as to how things went!

Peter Bigelow
C-25 TR/FK #2092 Limerick
Rowayton, Ct
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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USA
5269 Posts

Response Posted - 07/15/2018 :  13:58:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bigelowp

Look forward to hearing the "color commentary" as to how things went!


Here's the color commentary.

The boat is a Jeanneau 45. I would describe it as a 20,000 lb fast cruiser, rigged with a roller furtling jib, an in-mast furling mainsail, and equipped with a diesel generator capable of powering the two on-board air conditioners while underway, if you wish. We planned to race her with a minimal crew of four, but one cancelled at the last minute, so we raced her with a sub-minimal crew consisting of the middle aged owner, a 75 year old man and the owner's pregnant daughter.

We brought her to Annapolis from her marina in the Magothy River. On the trip down, I went below and slept for about 2 hours, to put some energy in the bank, for when I'd need it later, after a long night of racing.

The race started and finished in the Severn River, fairly deep in Annapolis Harbor. Our class started at about 7:15 pm in about 19-20 kt winds. We had a picture perfect start, hitting the line at full speed and about 20' short of the line at the starting signal. Another competitor to leeward of us drove us hard to windward to try to force us over the line early, but was unsuccessful.

We bore off, trimmed our sails and led the pack out of the harbor. On the way to the first mark, our boat was overpowered in the strong wind, and we suffered an auto-tack, which put us about 100-150 yards behind the fleet. We recovered and passed the first mark, headed north toward the Bay Bridge, then across the Bay around another mark, and then south down the Bay. We suffered another auto-tack, and had a bad tack during a mark rounding, both due primarily to too few hands working too much boat, with too much sail in too much wind. We rolled a reef in the mainsail, and that made her more controllable, but the wind rose into the mid-twenties by our wind instrument, and we later had to furl the jib a bit to balance the sails. After we got her sails balanced, she became a joy to sail, pointing high and footing fast, and with no more control issues. In fact, in 24+ kts of wind, I was able to take my hands off the wheel and she held her heading with no input from the wheel or rudder.

The wind was coming from the southeast, so we had about a 25 mile beat to windward to the turning marks. With a falling tide, we tacked along the east side of the Bay, to get a little boost from the tidal current found in the deep water of the commercial shipping channel. With the wind from the southeast, we also avoided the boatspeed-killing heavy chop that would be found on the western side of the bay, due to the longer fetch. We passed many boats on the trek south, so we knew we were doing well generally, but couldn't tell, in the dark, whether any of them were in our class.

At one point I caught myself thinking, "Wow! I could do this all night!" And then I realized that, "Oh yeah...we are going to do this all night!"

We rounded the first turning mark and then sailed across the Bay to the second turning mark, which was unlighted. We were only able to find it in the dark night by following our gps.

After rounding the mark, we hoisted our big assymetrical spinnaker and headed back up the Bay. Despite our short crew, the spinnaker went up without a hitch, and we saw speeds up to 8+ kts. With that much speed, and since we were able to sail close to the rhumb line, instead of having to tack, the return trip was very fast. We rounded another mark and gybed the spinnaker with no problems. Shortly afterward, as we passed Thomas Point Light, we had to gybe the spinnaker again, and this time the spinnaker became hourglassed. We struggled to clear it for nearly 15 minutes and almost gave up, but finally got it cleared and driving again.

We drove fast into Annapolis Harbor and crossed the finish line at around 5:00 am.

We were the third boat in our class to cross the finish line, but, after handicaps were calculated, we finished in fourth place. But, to give you an idea of how close the competition was in our class, with our handicap, we were only 13 seconds behind the first place boat at the finish. Looking back, we can think of many places where we could have saved 13 seconds. Nevertheless, we had a spectacular night sail under starry skies in challenging conditions, and we got back with no harm to either boat or crew.

Steve Milby C&C 35 Landfall ("Captiva Wind"); Cal 25 ("Fahrvergnügen")
Past Commodore

Edited by - Steve Milby on 07/15/2018 14:04:04
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bigelowp
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
1418 Posts

Response Posted - 07/15/2018 :  14:14:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Steve:

Fantastic report and it sounds like a really great adventure. Amazing how so many can finish with times so close. I am always thinking of how I could have closed the gap, but the important thing is that you had a great time and were on a boat that despite possibly being short crewed, did very, very well!

Peter Bigelow
C-25 TR/FK #2092 Limerick
Rowayton, Ct
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8191 Posts

Response Posted - 07/15/2018 :  19:50:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great report and greater result, Steve! A 75-year-old and a pregnant woman in addition to the skipper overnight on a 45 footer? Wow! And I'll speculate that the hourglass gybe was what cost you the trophy--too bad. I haven't dealt with that, but have read a little about it... (That describes most of my spinnaker experience--sym or asym.)

Sounds like you had a great night on the bay! Sleep well!

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic, CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, ex-OUPV
Now on Eastern 27 Sarge (but still sailing when I can).

Passage, Mystic, and Sarge--click to enlarge.
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Derek Crawford
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
3214 Posts

Response Posted - 07/16/2018 :  20:00:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well done Steve! Great write-up too. Too bad about the "hourglass" on the chute. Obviously it cost you the race.

Derek Crawford
Chief Measurer C25-250 2008
Previous owner of "This Side UP"
1981 C-25 TR/FK #2262 Used to have an '89 C22 #9483, "Downsized"
San Antonio, Texas
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zeil
Master Marine Consultant

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Canada
1039 Posts

Response Posted - 07/16/2018 :  20:33:59  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Enjoyed write-up... thank you

Henk & Johanna
Mariah '96 C250WB #191
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glivs
Admiral

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USA
691 Posts

Response Posted - 07/17/2018 :  04:01:57  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thrilling! Thanks Steve.

Gerry & Leslie; Malletts Bay, VT
"Great Escape" 1989 C-25 SR/WK #5972
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