Woods Hole Knockabouts 0914

Hecate, 345, wins the race, just ahead of Scup.

Downwind is nothing like Down Dog. If sailing can be said to be like yoga in any way, it’s in the way that—okay: it can’t. Let’s try one of those SAT analogy approaches: Sailing is to Yoga as Hammers are to (a) Nails or (b) Thumbs. In the fall, when the ol’ southwest gives way to all the other points on the compass, the racing gets fascinating. On this evening on Wednesday, September 14, there was a west wind, anything between 5 and 12 knots, and a west-going tide. The course was E, J, E, with the start and finish in Great Harbor. It was a run (more on this presently) from Great Harbor out past Juniper Point to mark E, a ball floating off the east end of Nobska Beach, then a short beat back to the entrance of Little Harbor, a short run back to E and then a medium beat back to Great Harbor, with the favorable current.

Most of our races start with an upwind leg. Even when the harbor is the most upwind part of the course, we often set a mark a little ways upwind, just to ensure the upwind start. This season, we’ve had a couple downwind starts, and this was one of them. When all the boats go downwind, the general lore is that boats behind catch up and the fleet stays rather close. This can make for some tight roundings at marks and other things, so we’re talking among ourselves about sharing the Zoloft and maybe not having these kinds of starts.

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