Last week was the official start to racing season for the one-design Olson30s, but there was no wind to be had at all. This week boats were chomping at the bit to get out and get some breeze, and (count 'em!) 9 Olsons showed up for the start at 6:15pm Wed. This is a pretty large turnout of 30 foot one-design boats for a Wed night beer can race, but with Nationals in Seattle just 2 months away, people need to get their sailing legs back after a long winter.
The start was delayed as the race committee futzed around. Pretty atypical actually. The breeze, which was blowing in the 20s during the afternoon, was starting to diminish. Evenso, we had the #3 jib ready to hoist as it was a Southerly...and Southerlies always build, right? The RC finally got the start sequence off, and we made a last minute sail plan change to the #1 genoa as the breeze continued to fall off, now blowing only 10.
Olson30s are the fourth start, and while the boat end seemed to be favored at first, it became rapidly clear that the left side of the course was actually favored because of the current (ebb) and those boats that stayed on the left longest (namely, those that started on stbd at the pin) made out the best. Alas for us, we had won the boat end, which gave us a controlling position true but made us fight the ebb longest. The first leg was a beat to the bell bouy. No clear leader emerged, as all boats realized the truth about the left and went there sooner or later. After the rounding, alot of boats went in looking for better pressure along the breakwater and the river of freshwater that runs along it from the Locks. Orcrist and Aliens went out, to try to use the ebb to their advantage downwind. This made for a nice hot angle back to the leeward mark (yellow). Ultimately, both sides were even and no gains were made on this long downwind leg.
With the breeze now really dying, boats rounded the leeward mark in a crowd. The pressure was much better out, but there was a lift up the beach. Boats slowly made their way back of the course, approaching Golden Gardens. At this time everyone knew the left was heavily favored and people were struggling to eke out as much as they could from it. There was a huge lead change here, as if you went too far left you ran out of breeze. Wyewacket found the golden middle and chanrged from 7th to 2nd place on this single leg. Aliens, just yards ahead of Orcrist, ran completely aground along the beach. Orcrist alertly tacked away and gave the beach some room :)
The last half of this leg saw one further position change, as Wild Turkey was confused by where the next mark lay and overstood it dramatically. They finally had to crack off 45 degrees to lay the line to the mark, and despite their hard charge they lost out in the end to Lunchbox, which was struggling to keep up with the hard driving Barnstormer (fresh up from a year away in California) and Wyewacket.
A fantastic evening of sailing with a large turnout.