Friday, 16 January 2009

About Racing

Mostly Iris was raced last summer. We tried a week-long cruise on our lake, and mostly it went well, but to be honest, I think about 80% of the time spent aboard was racing. Thats great for me and LR, but not so much for Herself.

In racing you get be manly and push the boat hard. Often it is heeled over, crashing through and over the waves, making the best time possible. Iris is pretty good at this. Herself prefers cruising. In cruising things are a little more leisurely, and the boat can (often) be sailed upright, or at least with less heel.

LR likes racing Iris, and is a pretty good helper. She can guide the jib around the shrouds on tacks (often it gets hung up), and she can work the jib sheets and does a pretty good job of trimming. Plus she doesn't mind being out on the rails to help keep the boat sitting on her lines.

Since last season was our first with the boat, we were not seen as much of a threat in the races - in fact on our first two races, we couldn't even get the boat to the start line. Its not that sailing is hard, we just had no clue of what we were doing. On our third outing, we made it to the start, but promptly headed off in the wrong direction and couldn't find the first mark. We now had changed from Did Not Start (DNS) to Did Not Finish (DNF) in the standings, what an improvement!

On race 4, we actually made it about 2/3 of the way around the course before we headed to the wrong mark, another DNF, but we had made inroads. After that race I went out and bought a cheap GPS, and put all the race marks on the lake into it. Now I could chart the race.

From Race 4 to the end of the season, we never had another DNF and our standings steadily improved right through the summer. By the end of the season, we were the 4th fastest boat in our class on the lake. We even won a couple flags through the season.

For the coming season we will have to adjust our goals and try a little harder. The goal this year will have to be to at least get one first place. I doubt that this will happen in the mixed fleet at our home club. It is much harder for us to be competitive on a thursday night "Beer Can" race than it is on the Lake-wide series against the other clubs. This is because our club races only have one fleet, in which the boats all perform very differently, but the lake series has three fleets, broken up by hull performance.

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