December 19, 2015
A pale and ashen coating of frost caked on the deck of each boat this morning served a chilling reminder that we are well into another Shackleton Series, which seemed appropriate as the first official day of Winter would be less than 48 hours in the future. This season there have been zero complaints about the mild temperatures that we have been favored with. Overall, today would be no exception to our good fortunes for despite the slick stuff on our boats that always makes pre-race prepping a bit more fun (in the Shackleton Series, Danger = Fun) there would be no cold point awarded since the sun would heat us up to the low 50s today.
Race 4 would offer all kinds of excitement and plot twists. With light 5-10 northerly winds predicted, much better than the harrowing light and variable prophecy we received for Race 3, we opted for a short upwind course, followed by a somewhat lengthy downwind leg, and returning to Sale Creek with another upwind skirmish. The first horn did not even resonate before we saw our first surprise of the day - a light southeasterly breeze upon our ingress to the Race 4 battlefiled. So much for a long leisurely spinnaker run today. The other concern about this is often times when the wind is coming out of a completely opposite direction than expected, we get some strange and unpredictable stuff until the wind finally does fill in from its scheduled and anticipated direction. "Often times" became definite today as we would witness "light"...
(As a side note I don't think that Andre is smiling above because of the light air but rather, he surged ahead of a couple competitors at this point.) And I guess "variable" not only includes varying wind directions, but varying speeds?
E, NE, SE, W, SW, and NW winds were all noted today with some good puffs and gusts. Not unheard of when sailing inland waters surrounded by hills from time to time. Although frustrating at times it DOES tend to keep skippers and crew a bit more focused and give those sentenced to foredeck duties lots of exercise. And it does make things kind of fun in terms of building big leads and making amazing comebacks. Taking respective PHRFs into consideration, at some point in time today it seemed every participant thought, "wow, if the race ended now I would be in first place!" And a few minutes later think, "wow, if the race ended now I would be in last place!" So with all that, what more could one want out of a race? As they say, variety is the spice of life.
It was fun to see Luna Teak, the younger brother of the bigger J29 Mainiac, shadow their moves like a kid brother would. It was also fun having The Blue Pearl, Dutchess, and Hasta La Vista all meet and charge towards the finish line in the last half mile of the course after having been separated by vast distances earlier in the race. Today's victory would go to Luna Teak. This is no shocker as Captain Chris and crew have sailed extremely well all season and we congratulate them for their victory today and for their success. But yet another development to the story is that by having both Hasta La Vista and The Blue Pearl correct out for 2nd and 3rd respectively, Maniac has now been knocked off the top of the standings, the likes of which have never before been witnessed. Although the unassailable J29 has finished below the top spot in Seasons 5 and 6 (and did not sail here at all in Season 4), they had missed races those years and were never in the top position and thus, never dethroned mid season. Although my studies of him were brief and a number of years ago, but didn't Nostradamus foresee this in one of his quatrains? Regardless, there is still half a season to go and anything can happen! See you at Race 5.
RACE 4 RESULTS