June 14, 2012.
Its not all work for us while we're here. Its close but there is some time for some fun. On Wednesday evenings here in Annapolis racing takes center stage. One of my co-workers has a slip right near the center of the action. On breezy Wednesdays we grab some drinks and join them for pizza and race watching.
For me the most interesting part of the race course is the section that transits the mooring field just 300 yards short of the finish line. From week to week the wind direction is often different and that combined with the amount of boats on moorings it can make the finish not so cut and dry.Sometimes the last 600 yards is a downwind drag race while other times it becomes a tacking duel through an obstacle course.
This week the wind was such that it was a bash towards the mooring field and as they turned towards the finish line the spinnakers popped out. Dozens of boats in different classes attempting to overtake each other under full chutes while blasting through a crowded mooring field made for some exciting times.
Time and again trailing boat would attempt to pull off a pass in front of our “reviewing” stand. Boats would cover the lead guy and as they caught up to him they would pull out to windward only to have the lead boat use one of the moored boats to shut the door on the attempt. Then every trailing boat would veer across their stern and try to slingshot past them through their lee.You can see it in this 3 picture series. The red spinnaker is trying to hold off the overtaking white guy. The white guy hits the reds lee, luffs and its sayonara sappy.
It was the same thing over and over. One unsuccessful pass after another as every one of them had their spinnakers luff as they struggled to pass on the leeward side of the guy they were chasing.
It was as if each trailing boat was only watching their owns sails and the position of the guy they were chasing. If they would only look 200 yards ahead of them they would have been able to see how their attempt at passing was going to play out before they had to suffer through trying it.
Finally one guy covered the guy he was chasing and then as the door slammed on him he veered out to starboard and roared down the opposite side of the moored boats. He had a bit more distance to cover but he had slowed his opponent enough and literally blew by him as he drove for the finish line.