This past Tuesday was Opus’ third race. The first was a few weeks ago. The goal for that race, indeed for the whole season, is simply to get out on the water, work out procedures, shake her up, find what needs fixing, rinse, and repeat. Therefore, it was no disappointment to come in last, with the second-to-last boat finishing nearly 30 minutes before us. On the other hand, it was a pleasant surprise for us to even cross the finish line within the time limit, which I wasn’t expecting.
We would have finished even sooner but I made some bad decisions along the way, calling the lines incorrectly and thereby causing us to be even slower around the course. This was the crew’s first time aboard her as well, and they need to learn her lines and procedures, how she likes to be trimmed, the timing for a tack or gybe, etc. And, lastly, the winds were pretty light, which is not Opus’ best environment. She likes a bit more wind. Of course, the winds were the same for everyone, so it’s certainly no excuse for us.
Opus’ second race was a fun, highly informal, one during a three-day weekend in which two larger boats (Opus and another called Runaway) and two smaller boats from the Lower Mainland Yacht Coop (LMYC) ran. We had brought Opus to the meet with just me and one crew aboard. For the race we had a crew of 6+1 – i.e. 6 active crew and 1 photographer. Notable highlights for this was a our chance to fly the spinnaker for the first time, ever, under my ownership. There is something about that brightly coloured, huge, sail sliding out of its bag to balloon out there in front that is just quintessential sailing.
Early in that race I made a couple of not-great decisions and then made a decisively good one that had us out in the lead. Then we decided to fly the spinnaker which, unfortunately, took us in a bad direction. We then complicated that by fouling the spinnaker halyard in the top of the roller furler for the Genoa, which delayed us taking down the spinnaker even further in the wrong direction. Still.. We Flew The Spinnaker!
We ended up in second place, well behind Runaway who ran away with the first place, and barely ahead of the third place boat,which we should have been well ahead of. Oh well.
And then came our third race this past Tuesday.
We had a fair start, slightly back from the pack (we have to work on our start, though we’re getting better) but we were actually crossing the line a bit higher on the bias, which in this case was a good thing and eventually allowed us to make up some time. The course consisted of the start line, an upwind pin, return through the start line, a downwind pin, return through the start line, and repeat, making two laps around the course.
For once we were within striking distance of the pack and actually ahead of one other boat. It felt like we were even starting to creep up on the boat in third place. Suddenly the boat in second place turned 90 degrees to the course and started bringing her sails down. A bit further in and the boat in front of us did the same. We later found out that the second-place boat had a steering failure and were out, and the third place boat had dropped out of the race to render assistance. However, that left only one boat ahead of us and the chase was on. They were far enough ahead that we had no hope of catching them, but possibly we could whittle down their lead a bit. It should be noted that boat has won every race so far this season.
We crossed the finish line in second place only 13 minutes behind the leader in elapsed time. That’s still a big percentage difference since they finished in 49 minutes and we finished in 62 minutes, but darn it felt good! By comparison, the first race was won in 81 minutes and we crossed in 111 minutes. We are improving!
Next race is on June 6th and we hope to do even better.