Weather: Bad thunderstorms the night before led to the run-off of branches, tree limbs, etc. being swept down the course in the morning by a north wind. Wave action was slight, but from this angle, the chop was bad, i.e. low waves with a short trough. Wind was generally 8-12 mph, with gusts above 15 and some lulls around 5. Fortunately by lunch most of the debris had cleared out and the course was fairly steady, if somewhat port favored.
The Fleet: 17 boats (13 DF) for 21 races; three throw-outs and one mandatory redress for swapping duties as RD (which worked very well). Chris Macaluso took first in his DF, Eric Rosebaum second in his Wahoo, and Brig North 3rd in his DF. Prizes were also awarded to the top three DF skippers as a separate class.
How did Peck fare? A somewhat disappointing 11th, though a few points improve the situation. Took a DNS on the last race which boosted my point total, and my redress score, probably cost me 10th, which I missed by three points. Average position (number of races actually sailed/total points of those races) was 9th (8.9 actually), which is not bad considering the level of competition. Sadly, at some point in the later racing (I speculate around race 18) Peck apparently struck some submerged debris and suffered significant keel damage (pictures below). The keel fin was badly twisted, and the bulb offset about 20º to port...not fast! Fortunately the hull and keel box remained sound and watertight, so it is a simple matter of replacing the fin & bulb with a new keel (about a weekend project). Otherwise Peck ran well, a bit too much weather helm, but he could really point up when the wind allowed, and was very fast on the runs.
Observations: Skippers sailing the WRC should plan on dealing with some chop, even though it isn't always present, I've discussed some ideas here and here. The competition at this regatta was pretty high-level, and while I had generally good starts and course selection, I needed to be a bit more assertive of my rights sailing; for example: a few times I let a windward boat pester me into tacking before I liked, or had room to do so. Boat trim was good, though it took a bit to work out some excessive weather helm...in these conditions high was not fast! I've made some notes on minor rig improvements to make on the Mustang, which I will detail in due course. Lastly, with my new boat, I need to race more often and hone my skills and sail trim...I'm much better than I was, I need to progress to the next level...and that means practice. With Peck worked up now, I 'll always have Roo to trial against! I'm definitely prioritizing rigs though at A, B, A-, and then we'll see about C.
The Dragon Force's were not terribly disadvantaged in this regatta; they sailed in A the whole time with their lower-aspect rigs, which combined with their weight, helped them contend with the chop a bit better, though they too experienced some difficulties till the wind built. The other RG's had to chase rigs for a bit, when the weather oscillated on the A rig/B rig bubble, but in almost all cases had scorching speed down-wind (all were higher aspect swing rigs). A good strategy moving forward, since I sail with so many DF's, is to stay clear and close upwind, and hit overdrive going downwind!
Photo's below are by Chuck LeMahieu unless otherwise noted, his extensive photo collection of the regatta can be seen in full here.
Now, time to finish the Mustang and start working up for next year!
|A nice study of Peck powering along on the beat.|
|Chuck North's fast Little Best, at the finish.|
|Mauricio's own design, with spectacular, shiny, home-made sails. Also, note the partial chine.|
|Busy start! See Peck in there?|
|The fleet starts pulling away after the start, Peck looks in good position here...|
|Chris Macaluso's tough to beat DF.|
|Rounding at the leeward gate, note the height of the rigs on Peck (#50) and Eric's Wahoo (#11).|
|The White Rock chop...look at Peck's bow leaping into the air, in deceptively flat water.|
|Chuck LeMahieu (#109) and Brig North (#34) running downwind.|
|Close racing was the order of the day...|
|Peck in 5th on the beat.|
|Chuck's DF Atomic Annie buries its nose on the down-roll.|
|Peck in good position, but pinching with a bit too much weather helm.|
|Another example of the chop, flat looking water, but short wave action has Peck leap from the water.|
|Chuck North's Little Best, very fast!|
|Peck cuts through the downwind boats on starboard, tricky business!|
|Bob Piper (#65) and Brig North (#34) from the TRYC.|
|Close action at the mark rounding.|
|Another example of the pitching motion prevalent.|
|Peck in 4th heading down on the run! The high aspect swing rig will power him up here...|
|Peck...and Peck! My photo.|
|Fleet after start moving to the port tack. My photo.|
|Eric's Wahoo making time on the beat. My photo.|
|The fleet heads towards the offset. My photo.|
|Uncle Peck Wants You! Obligatory Peck photo bomb...|
|Me during a break...My Photo.|
|...and the keel damage, note the twist in the fin and the 20º skew...My photo.|
|Pretty bad, going to replace the fin & bulb. My photo.|