Dear Friend of CHARIAD:
The CHARIAD team dominated the 1st race of 2016 season. Two races – two guns. Light to medium spotty wind. On corrected time, we finished 1:16 min before #2 boat in 1st race and 2:21 min before #2 boat in 2nd race. Very fast upwind and held on enough downwind.
Rich Hersey on Native Dancer captured this image as we were coming down the last spin leg of the 2nd race. Our competitors are behind. We have a terrific crew on the boat who put a lot of effort into getting her ready for the season and then practicing to build our capabilities as a team.
Mary Hennessey is holding the bottle of rum that was our trophy presented by the Boston Yacht Club in Marblehead. We will save the rum for you end of the season crew dinner.
I have to admit to being a laggard on Facebook. But if you want to hear quickly what is happening on the boat, join the Friends of CHARIAD group on Facebook. That is where the action is.
Our competitors going upwind shortly after the 2nd start. Moments after this picture was taken, we tacked onto starboard. The first boat just cleared in front of us, but the second had to duck us. We lead them for the rest of the race. There were moments when the boat to boat competition was closer than these pictures show. Remember, this is the first race of the season and our goal was to build our proficiency handling the boat. At the first windward mark, CHARIAD is coming to the starboard lay line on port with these two boats on the starboard lay line. We tacked just below and in front of the leading boat. Luffed them enough to slow them down and then lead them into the first mark rounding. Spin up and we are away.
These boats are a little faster than we are downwind. We met the leader of these two with the spin up twice on the last leg of the first race. We were both on port gybe when they tried to sail below and in front of us while staying on their gybe angles. But we blanketed their wind and got below and in front of them with a straight shot to the finish. After separating from us, they had to gybe back onto starboard to come back to the finish line. Visualize the two boats finishing at the same time. We are on port and they are on starboard. Their bow is next to our stern. We made it across with a very small separation, go the gun and the rest is history.
The wind was spotty and shifty in the second race and we picked our way from wind patch to wind patch putting a big lead on the other boats. On the downwind legs, we changed from the light reaching spin to the mid-range running spin at least four times as the wind went up and down.
We made a very conscious effort to put some of the new crew members into real roles so they would have first-hand experience doing those jobs without the training support they have gotten in our practices. Kathy G, Doug Mullen and Stuart Starkweather were essential and generous with their time and efforts.
Kathy “the Goddess” is such a master at the pit position that you do not realize how difficult that job is until someone else trains to do the job. Being a powerful communicator between the front of the boat and the back of the boat is a big part of the job.
Sandy Campbell is trimming the spin. I am calling to see the curl in the sail – show me the curl! Look like there is no wind, but there was good wind 20 feet off the deck.
We are finishing the last race of the day with the spin up. My advisors are telling me to cross the finish line at the committee boat. Curve around the bow of the committee boat and slide down her side so we capture an extra second or two on the boats behind us. That is what we did – just brushing by the committee boat without hitting her. BOOM the cannon goes off. Our ears are ringing.
We have a lot of sailing in front of us. But we could not have had a better start to the season. The power of this team working together to their jobs done was just amazing. There was a conscious effort by the leaders of the teams to assume responsibility for their part of the crew and remove the crew coordination responsibility from my shoulders. If I am fussing with the details of crew work, we are off course or going slower.
Before we left the mooring in the morning, we had a team meeting. At the end, we put all of our hands together and called out “Go CHARIAD!” She is a great boat, but the CHARAID team is what will make her a winning boat.