Page 38 - 48º North - The Sailing Magazine - December 2017
P. 38

Seattle Yacht Club Grand Prix
more challenging than one-design. You can’t base your tactics only on what you can see other boats in your class doing. With a handicap, strategy changes drastically from racing your competitors head-to- head,andcertaintyisinshortsupply. Absolutely was one of the fastest boats in our class. Our strategy was simply to get clear air and sail our own race based on the given conditions. Although you never take your eyes off of your competition, we mostly wanted to go as fast as possible.
There was a small ebb all afternoon. The wind was fairly consistent around 10 knots, shifting 15 degrees every 20 min. It seemed just a bit stronger up the middle right
Top: The J/105s sailing off in sunshine and breeze. Center: The start of Class 1. Photos by Alex Kimball.
Seattle Yacht Club’s Grand Prix Regatta is an autumn institution, offering top competition and a variety of conditions and races over three October days. Friday was pretty much idyllic. It was warm, mostly sunny, the wind was blowing out of the north, and the tide was small. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer autumn day to race sailboats on Puget Sound.
The sailing instructions for Grand Prix give the race committee the discretion to choose either buoy racing or a mid-distance course each day. The forecasts of low-to-no wind for the remainder of the weekend meant getting multiple races in
with Friday’s 5-15 knots of breeze was the best choice for the regatta.
I was sailing with Charlie Macauley and crew on Absolutely, a Farr 39 ML. Our first start was good, we were moving a little faster than I liked with about a minute left in the sequence. Charlie slowed us down a bit and Absolutely hit the line just as the gun went off with good speed and point.
Racing PHRF can be
The crew of “New Haven” making the most of a postponement. Photo by Jan Anderson
of the course. We stuck to that side while keeping ourselves between the marks and our competition.
Our race was not perfect. Decisions were made a little slower than we are all used to. It showed in our first leeward takedown, which was more chaotic than usual. But great crew work got the spin down and we managed to finish just 18 seconds (corrected) ahead of Charles Hill’s Different Drummer – pretty amazing considering that our ratings differ by 63 seconds per mile.
Our second start wasn’t as good as the first. We were in dirty air in the second row near the committee boat, but again, we had great speed
December 2017

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