The wind direction at the start line was coming from behind so it was obvious (to most - not so much to this writer) that we'd be hoisting a spinnaker to start the race; the only question was when. After watching our 8 competitors size up the start line and figuring that most, if not all boats were going to run the start line (which was from Brotchie Ledge to the race committee boat on the pin end) on a port tack and then bear away to a spinnaker hoist we decided to run against the fleet and come at the start line from the opposite direction. This would put us on a starboard tack giving us the right-of-way and the advantage of being able to gybe on top of them and grab the clean air; provided, of course, that we timed everything right, didn't over-shoot the line and end up on Brotchie Ledge or have one of our competitors decide to copy us and push us up over the start line too early; but those are only minor downsides...
Fortunately for us, at the blast of the start horn at precisely 10:05, we found ourselves right at the committee boat end of the start line so we immediately bore away as planned, gybed on top of the fleet, hoisted the spinnaker, dropped the foresail and found ourselves ahead of the pack and in clean air; exactly as planned (or probably more accurately stated, exactly as hoped). What a great way for String Theory to start out! And just to make sure there is no misunderstanding among our family and friends on Palapa and Margaridaville who joined us at the start line to provide a very much appreciated send off with cheers, shouts of encouragement and one last wave goodbye, we knew exactly what we were doing. All of String Theory's starts are like that (we're just that good!)
But alas, while we were able to maintain our lead for a while, it wasn't long after the start that the wind started to lighten and the faster and/or lighter boats in the fleet started catching up to us; particularly after the wind shifted around and caused everyone to switch back to white sails. String Theory's strengths are definitely not sailing into the wind in light wind conditions. By the time we made it to Race Rocks, the wind had all but disappeared and we had fallen back into the fleet. A fluky gust of wind from behind and localized to our area, allowed us, and only us, to briefly switch back to a spinnaker and make up a remarkable amount of lost ground in a short period of time - which must have had our competitors cursing mother nature at that particular moment - but to no avail; that was just Mother Nature toying with us. She decided to more than even things out with a fresh breeze that filled in from the west and arrived at all but two of our competitors at least 20 to 30 minutes a head of us and carrying them through Race Rocks and well beyond. By the time we made it through Race Rocks, 6 of our competitors had gained about a 4 NM lead and the two behind us had largely caught up.
After an hour or so of 10 to 15 knot winds, we had managed not to lose any further ground but as our watch was relieved by the next to allow us to take a rest (and me to write this blog) the wind was dying. Now, as I sit here
and write this, the wind has completely died and the wind seeker is up. Boat speed is 0.0 knots. Without the ebb current giving a helping hand, at 0.3 knots, we'd probably not be moving at all... We're now slowing trying to
make it over to the Canadian shore with the hope of a) finding some wind caused by the shore compression effect or b) to find somewhere shallow enough to drop an anchor should the wind not come up before the tide turns
and starts to work against us. But we can take solace in the fact that all of our competitors are in the same boat so to speak (no, this is not meant to be a bad pun; it's just a happy coincidence) and the weather forecast does suggest great winds will be on the way by tomorrow. And given we've only just scratched the surface at 22.8 NM out of 2308 in total, the race has barely begun.
Signed: Being A Narcissistic Ass Never Allows Broad Reaching Execution And