A Matter of Seconds

Friday June 15, 2012 - In between False Creek Thursday races -- in which Krikkit managed to pull off bullets in both the fourth, windiest race of the season and the fifth, lightest race and then take third in the next race after fouling the start -- Krikkit wound up heading over to Bowen Island for the Round Bowen challenge, despite having written the race off the calendar. But a last minute inquiry from Kevin, followed by an text message from Miguel and some encouragement from our competitors, convinced Simon to enter this perennially entertaining race.

And entertaining it was once more. We'd originally decided to run the race double- or triple-handed, but within minutes of arriving at the dock (and not even one dark-and-stormy into the evening) we'd picked up an extra crewmember from Maritime Diva (she was apparently on board to carry out espionage according to www.maritimediva.com), and then on race morning a couple of extra crew from Natural High hitched a ride.

The race itself started with decent wind, and Krikkit nailed the start, powering into the front quarter of the fleet. But after about half-an-hour of racing we rounded Cowan Point and sailed into sloppy leftover chop and rapidly diminishing wind that soon had us becalmed in the big waves, bobbing slowly backwards the way we came. Oh, the frustration!

After almost an hour of flogging and flailing and not going anywhere, we finally caught some zephyrs of breeze and fought our way towards the wind, then started moving towards Cape Roger Curtis. The breeze, meanwhile, decided to fill in most strongly where we'd been rather than where we were, so we got to watch boats that had been behind us slowly pull ahead. But at least we were moving! We rounded Cape Roger Curtis in the top third of the fleet and in close company with Natural High, which was fun for all given that we had two of their crewmembers aboard.

(Photo: Start of the 2012 Round Bowen Race. Krikkit is somewhere off to the left of the photo.)

We then had a great run up Collingwood Channel, duelling the entire way with Natural High and a big catamaran, and teaching Arinn from Maritime Diva the subtleties of spinnaker trim, until we hit the next big wind hole at the north end of Hutt Island. Where we sat, seemingly forever, as all the slower boats caught up and parked almost on top of us. But then

then wind started filling in ever so slightly, so we got underway again, and headed towards Hood Point, now in the top half of the fleet, and with Maritime Diva within sight behind us. With minutes to spare we finally popped our nose out into the stiff inflow breeze blowing up Queen Charlotte Channel, and beat our way back to the finish line, finishing ten minutes before the cutoff, 50th out of 67 finishers, but with a further 57 boats behind the last finisher that got DNFs. We beat Natural High by a minute corrected, and will never know how close Maritime Diva might have got on corrected time because they ended up missing the cutoff and being scored DNF.

The party that night was epic, and we met the crew from Silik and generally caroused, and then had a great close reach home on Sunday.

(Photo: Arinn trims the chute coming down Collingwood Channel. Emma is hiding behind the mainsail, with Miguel, Adam and Simon in the cockpit.)

We then closed out the Spring FCYC Thursday series with an epic battle. Krikkit was only one point back of Rhumbline for first overall, and neck-and-neck in terms of potential tiebreakers, so it was pretty much a case that whichever boat won the last race would take first overall. The two boats got very close starts with Krikkit reaching the first windward mark just behind of Rhumbline but passing them just before the first leeward mark, just in time to have Nimue come barreling in at the mark and steal the advantage, forcing Krikkit back again. We headed to what we thought was the favoured side of the course, but Rhumbline split and gained a boatlength, and then opened the gap on the next leg-and-a-half. End result: after 56 minutes of racing we finished about 57 seconds behind Rhumbline, but they only owed us 42 seconds so they beat Krikkit for second place in the race by 15 seconds, taking first overall leaving Krikkit in second overall. A great race, but ... 15 seconds!!

Which just goes to show that in sail racing, seconds count ... but of course second place counts for something too!