Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wickford Regatta - Whit Duncan

Eight boats found their way to the west passage of Narragansett Bay last weekend for the 2012 Wickford Regatta. The breeze started out from the Northeast but was quickly shut down by an approaching southerly. The southerly and the northerly seemed to fight each other for the majority of the day. In fact, the seagulls were thermalling in the updraft created by the converging breezes. Eventually, the southerly finally won the battle and brought us 6-10 knots and the race committee was able to get four races in on the first day. We started with rabbit starts and a 30 second gate and raced on short windward leeward courses for the entire day.

The breeze was fairly consistent but with small shifts that had to be managed well with respect to the rest of the fleet and the next oscillation. More often than not we found ourselves looking at a compass reading of 240 degrees rounding the leeward mark which meant it was important to find the right shift to take up the course. Zagol/Buttner dominated the day with great boat speed and they always seemed to be on the right side of the shift. Or if they missed a shift they were able to manage the fleet and find their way back into the mix very quickly. The fleet was sit running downwind and it was possible to sail very deep angles since the breeze was just too light to wire with. As always, Wenderoth/Murphy were sailing well in the light air and despite a small blemish in the second race they found themselves in second behind Zagol/Buttner after the first day.  Olav found himself in third followed by Komar.

At first, day two appeared to be a repeat of day one, however the southerly filled in a little earlier and slightly stronger. The race course was the same as day one in terms of breeze and direction. Olav found his way to the right in the first race where a righty and some breeze were waiting for them which put them in the top of the pack at the weather mark. They successfully wire ran on the downwind on the same side of the coarse but it didn’t necessarily pay as they were passed by Wenderoth/Murphy who went for the sit run approach. On race two, Duncan/Taylor followed the likes of Olav and the two boats battled whole race. On the first run the entire fleet was able to wire run for the fastest leg of the regatta. However, by the time the second downwind came along, the only boat still wire running was Olav. He converged with Duncan/Taylor right at the finished for a good battle at the end of the race. The last race was dominated by Wenderoth/Murphy with their light air boat speed however Olav squeezed out the win on the last run. Several boats were scored as DNS for gating too late, however with no gate bouy or horn to signify the end of the line it left all the competitors a little puzzled.

Congratulations to Wenderoth/Murphy for their first regatta victory. A big thanks goes out to the Wickford Yacht Club for hosting the event. As always, they put on a great event and hopefully we will have a bigger turnout in the 505 class next year. We might also see an event happen in the middle of the summer in coming years when the class is not sailing BBR in Marion. A few summers ago the club hosted the West Passage Regatta which had some great breeze and some great sailing. Next, it’s off to the training event in Larchmont followed by ECCs in Little Egg Harbor.  Hopefully, we will have a fleet of 30 plus boats…

Also, the award for the best looking boat on the water (including all other fleets) goes to Delfosse/Marini in 7773. Duane recently completed a full renovation of his Waterat and she is looks beautiful. 


All photos are copyrighted by and courtesy of Nelson Weiderman.

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