Well… ok, maybe not quite…
Last weekend was the Regatta for Lake Champlain, a fundraising pursuit race held in Burlington, Vermont. Having read so much that the 70’s Tartan 41 was a hot race boat of the time, I was desperately interested to see how well it would fare against all the hot race boats of today.
So, I cajoled a crew of Strafford Dad’s, much the same motley group that helped me bring back Alchemy from Annapolis, and we entered the race.
Out of the six crew, including me, none of us had ever raced and we had not that much sailing experience between us. It was going to be interesting.
The outward leg saw us dueling with the only boat that started near us. It was a great opportunity to realize subtleties about sail trim. We would creep up level with them on the port of starboard side and then bugger something up with our sail trimming and in a matter of seconds fall back 2-3 boat lengths. Its amazing to realize how critical it is to get a trim that consistently gets high speed rather than brief trim sets that are great alongside botching it up.
As we rounded the last mark to start the downwind leg, the herd of J boats had begun to catch up. Remember, it was a pursuit race, so with their sub-100 PHRF ratings, they all started behind us. As their spinnakers started popping, I expected to be run down like an escaped chocolate delivery man at a hen night party.
Amazingly, we weren’t. It seemed we had been able to keep them at bay during the windward leg and then were able to stay just ahead of most with just wing on wing.
We finished the race mid way down the pack. Not bad for a bunch of newbs and up against all the shiny lake racing boats.