The first day of Block Island Race Week (BIRW) is always a day where you get a decent idea of where you stand in your fleet.
I guess I should have taken that 150 feet of chain out of the bow, and a ton of other cruising stuff as well! It could have been depressing but, I forced myself to remember that I was not here for the results, I was here to have fun.
And fun was had!
The racing that we signed up for was Pursuit racing. That means that your handicaps are calculated ahead of time. Theoretically, the small boats start first, the big boats start last and you all end up at the finish line together.
We started alongside a J125 that shared the same rating that we were given by Long Island Sound PHRF. However, they quickly sailed off ahead of us. Then halfway through the race, the biggest boat in the fleet a 60ft “cruiser”/racer sailed by us.
Ugh, time to focus on the mudslides at The Oar and Mahogany Shoals!!
We ended up 4th for the day. One of our better days!
What a difference a day makes!! While Monday was sunny and bright with very little wind, Tuesday was grey overcast and arrived with warnings of high winds, heavy rain, and dangerous squalls!
The race committee made a great call and declared it the day for everyone’s favorite race – “The Round the Island Race”!
While our results were very similar to the day prior, the days sailing was very unique. Very puffy 20+ knot winds to start with, before settling into a nice range of 16-20 knots for the remainder of the day. Our relative boat speed was more competitive in these conditions, but we made a few tactical mistakes and my work on the bow left more than a little to be desired!! Some commented that it looked like I was knitting a sweater up there.
Definitely, the most unique and exciting part of the race came as we passed under the first of five offshore windmills that were included as marks of the course. The windmills have 90 feet of vertical clearance from the water. My mast is 78 feet tall. As we rounded the first windmill what looked like no problem from a quarter mile away suddenly looked like we were about to lose our mast!!
Anyway, it’s the rain that we all remember. Torrential rain in 20 knots of wind while sailing upwind at about 8 knots means being pelted by raindrops that make it nearly impossible to look where you are going without a very very painful experience for your eyeballs!! It was so bad that I went below and grabbed my swimming goggles!
This is the day that I will remember from BIRW 2019. Miserable conditions, less than great results, and yet nothing but smiles on the entire crew as they stood getting drenched in the POURING rain!!