On Sunday afternoon, the Quissett Race Committee of SEA Captain Jay Amster, Bioethicist Jill Garland, and PRO Doug Jones were confronted with contradicting weather forecasts and variable wind conditions as they wrestled with setting the course for the H12 Whiteley Trophy – an eagerly sought after gorgeous silver bowl.
With the wind blowing tentatively out of the SSW at 5-8 knots, the Race Committee dropped a couple of marks in various windward directions and waited until the last moment to declare the compass course for the W2½ course. By setting the legs at a relatively short one-third mile, the committee felt comfortable that slight changes in wind direction would have less effect on the competitiveness of the race; however, the quantity of legs could prove to be challenging and time consuming if the wind died as forecast.
At the start, the First family lived up to their name as Tom First in Olivia and Chuck First and Bernie Levesque in Allie Rose timed their starts perfectly and hit the middle of the line at full speed at the starting gun. Weatherly and Charlotte Dorris in Pani Baba chose the favored boat end of the line, but they were a few seconds behind the Firsts. The other three boats had to fall behind Pani Baba as she would not let them into the space between her and the committee boat—“bargers” beware—there is no buoy room at the start!
By the first time to the windward mark, Olivia held a slight lead over Pani Baba and Allie Rose. On the run to the leeward mark, Pani Baba and Allie Rose took advantage of excellent spinnaker work to close the gap on Olivia, but she was able to thwart their every attempt to pass and held on to her 5-second advantage. For the next three legs, this pattern repeated itself until the final upwind approach to the finish. Pani Baba tried to break away by choosing an offshore route, while Olivia held the middle path, effectively covering the fleet. On the final tack to the finish, Olivia tacked to windward of Pani Baba, bore off for additional boat speed, and effectively blanketed Pani Baba’s wind allowing Olivia to increase her ultimate lead.
1. Olivia, Tom First 42:10
2. Pani Baba, Weatherly and Charlotte Dorris 42:50
3. Allie Rose, Chuck First and Bernie Levesque 42:58
4. Found It, Mort Saunders and Kristen Karplus 43:59
5. Sea Breeze, Ali Rodin and Steve Chalmers 45:27
6. Bubbles, Scotty and Sheila Gordon 46:20