7.0 nm, average speed 6 knots, elapsed time 1:15:32
Wind warning was in effect for the Northumberland Strait later in the afternoon with mid day winds from 15-20 knots, gusts to 25. The race fleet agreed to start the race with reefed mains over a shorten course (Start - UD4 - BHYC2 - UD4 - Finish).
We had a full crew (Alan - Judy - Daniel - Mark and Alison M - and Allison) who looked great in their new Exploits t-shirts. Allison later commented that she was happy we got the quick dry fabric since she spent the race on the rail and got more than one wave over the bow!
The adventure started as we tried to leave the dock. Strong gusts pushed us sideways and almost into the finger pier. While we made it out with no damage, Fly-Bye-Wire did take a dock in the side and put a nasty mark in the Awlgrip. I believe she also left the marina stern first after getting bucked about in the gusts. Once out in the starting area, we struggled with the reefing set up on the main (which I subsequently changed the minute we arrived back in the marina). The gusts made it a challenge, however the roller furler made setting the headsail a breeze!
The fomat for the race was a Pursuit start with boats starting according to their handicaps (slowest to fastest). It's a fun race since in theory, everyone finishes at the same time. Abigale started 3 minutes ahead of us, followed by Between The Sheets, a minute after them. Gaila started with us and Fly-Bye-Wire was next and Nut Case, the fastest baot in the field, started last.
We battled with Gaila the whole way around. She got on the inside at the first mark (UD4) and took it with ease. Abigale was still out in front as we made our way to BHYC2. Nut Case worked her way up wind on the return leg beautifully and shorten the course by almost a 0.5 nm from the rest of us. She crossed well ahead of the rest of the field. Fly-Bye-Wire struggled to get the headsail furling to hold and dropped off from Gaila and us.
Gaila had to tack just short of the finish line in order to take the mark on the starboard side. We opted to fight up wind for the last 100 feet and nosed out Gaila for second place. In fact the crew noted that our nose crossed first, but Gaila was completely acrossed before we were. It was an exciting race and an even more exciting finish.
A positive start to the racing season for Exploits. Many stories were told on the docks after the race as we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon with the great folks at BHYC!
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