We ended the season on a high note in the East End Yacht Club’s Chowder Bowl Race.
I raced pretty much every Tuesday from May through September on Revolution, Sailor Steve’s Capri 25. With a real race boat, we stepped up into the spinnaker division and raced against other fast race boats…a few Santana 525s, a J/24, and an unusual Able Pointin 24. There was a bit of a learning curve, but we didn’t give up and were out there doing our best night after night.
Tuesday night racing ends in September, as the days get shorter and there isn’t sufficient light to complete the normal course, but there is a fall series on the weekends as well as a few one-off races. Although I’m technically a member of the EEYC I don’t really know much of their lore—this race had something to do with a Chowder Bowl, alternately referred to as the Chowder Cup. I had little interest in the chowder aspect, but it was nice to sneak in one more race.
In typical Delaware River fashion, the wind was light and fluky. The wind died at the start and the tidal current, though near slack, was pushing us away from the starting line. The wind eventually picked up enough to allow us to beat against the tide and we had a reasonable start, considering. We did have one problem identifying the windward mark: we thought it was around the corner of Burlington Island, but there was another much closer nun that was the actual mark. That might have cost us some time, although we weren’t that far behind Boomerang. Once they went around, they set their spinnaker, but the wind had shifted and their kite wasn’t much help on a beam reach, allowing us to catch up with our big composite 155.
Once we reached them, Sailor Steve sat on their quarter and stole their wind, deflating their already oddly set symmetrical. We then snuck around them and made for the leeward mark with decent speed…and then the wind went down to nearly nothing again. Boomerang made a headsail change and eventually caught up. Those Santanas really make the most out of a slight whisper of wind, and they were back in the lead as we tacked around and headed for the finish. It was a pretty good duel, but they got a puff before us at the end and crossed just ahead of us (and then we got a really slow horn which made the victory look more convincing on paper). Still, this was one of our best races of the year, and we were happy to have been competitive with our second place finish.
Now that we have some more experience with the spinnaker and trimming the boat in light wind, we should be in much better shape next year. I’m looking forward to more racing and learning in 2013.