(Guest report from Teal.)
The forecast was for steady wind from the SE and rain. One of these was, with the benefit of hindsight, accurate. But let’s go back to the beginning.
Teal, Thalia (with Peter and a guest-starring crew) and Hermes (helmed by Mike Lidwell since Carole was on holiday) turned up to race. A good few other helms were on a jolly – sorry, at a regatta – to Seawanhaka YC near New York. The series was all to play for with Teal and Hermes on level points. Teal offered to act as the on-the-water Race Officer and so with the SE wind, and a preference from others for avoiding a downwind start, selected course H4 which would take us from Z on a fine reach to A, then a long run to D (N of Clynder), then – with good luck – a good beat back from D to the start line. At Z. Remember this. Z.
Thalia and Teal both hit the line well but with Thalia just upwind and ahead but with Teal possibly having the advantage of the inside if she could maintain the overlap. In the end Thalia’s position paid off and she broke clear to reach A with Teal following. Hermes following. Teal however rounded wide and got on top of Thalia and hoisted early to pass to windward. At this point however the steady wind seemed to abandon us and perhaps swing to the S. Difficult to be certain however as it became almost non-existent and D started to look very far away indeed. Teal gybed – thinking to perhaps get better wind and tide and headed across towards Clynder. Thalia then managed to get some good wind and looked very good and clearly ahead although a long way to the right. Hermes continuing to follow. At this point the wind decided to completely forget the forecast. Perhaps due to the rain front and a very cold mass of wet air approaching from the west? In any event the wind swung to the SW and Teal was clear on a fine reach to D. The wind shift was enough that Thalia had to eventually take down her kite early just to get there. She still rounded just ahead of Hermes.
It looked as if the excitement was over and a slow, long, wet reach in procession back to the finish was in order. However there were two further developments before we were finished: one natural and one man-made! The first (natural one) was that the wind kept swinging slowly S and eventually re-established back from the SE. Teal however still had the others covered and kept herself between them and the finish. No issues. You’d have thought. The second (man-made) development however was that Teal checked the finish and read that it was Y. Which made sense since that gave a fairly square finish line. At some point well past Z on the way to Y, Teal’s skipper decided to double-check and spotted that it was not Y but Z! (The confusion coming from the unique situation that the Light-wind course which went to C then finished at Y but the High-wind course – which we were on – went from D to Z.) After a sharp bear away and now reaching, Teal and Thalia were both going to get to Z at the same time. Teal had in the end realised her error just in time to make it inside of Thalia (with mark-room rights if necessary) and a sharp turn took her over the line ahead. So close to snatching defeat from the jaws of victory (of both the race and the Sunday series!).
1 Teal, 2, Thalia, 3 Hermes