Notes to all:
Finally a good breeze with only one ship passing
through and no real difficulties keeping two racing fleets clear of each other.
Protest: #7 protested #1 for not keeping clear of leeward boat, resulting in contact at masthead/backstay. #1 withdrew as result
of on dock discussion before the beer course.
At issue here was the responsibility of boats running down to a leeward mark to keep clear of boats coming back up to
windward. #7 was close hauled on starboard tack and hailed #1 (also on
starboard tack) to keep clear. It appears that the crew on #1 saw #7 and heard
the hail, the skipper did not and #1 continued on her course across the bow of
#7. #1 almost made it, but then a puff hit #7 and when
she heeled over, her masthead caught the top of the backstay of #1 spinning
both boats around until they came clear of each other.
The dangerous nature of this type of contact is
easily understood by all. One or more masts could be lost in such a situation,
not to mention possible injury to sailors involved. Happily neither occurred.
Lessons for all.
First lesson. Trailing boats on a running leg
need careful lookout for boats coming back up the course. Even if you are on
starboard tack on the run, a boat approaching on starboard tack close-hauled
will likely be leeward boat and you need to take evasive action to avoid a
collision. The proper course in most cases is to go astern of the boat coming
up the wind at you.
Second lesson. Communication on the boat. Crew
should be sure skipper is aware of an approaching situation. "Do you see #7
coming up at us? Did you hear the hail from #7 to leeward of us?" Are helpful
ways of stressing an impending dangerous situation in a calm fashion.
Another seamanship issue to review is the wrapped
In blustery conditions like we had, it is not a
bad idea to leave the jib up, as it can act as a "spinnaker net" preventing
the spinnaker from wrapping around the headstay. But you still need to trim
the jib loosely so it doesn't wrap itself around the headstay, compounding the
If a wrap should develop, the skilled
helmsman/woman can sometimes rock the boat back and forth with the helm to
unwrap the sail. Pulling down on one edge of the sail (not both) can help
unwrap the sail, but you have to be going down wind to make any of this work.
Since we frequently sail across the harbor, there
isn't much extra space to leeward of the turning mark. That makes it doubly
important to recognize that you have a wrap and begin to undo it at once. The
alternative, as one team found out on Wednesday, may be intimate acquaintance
with the tug boats moored on the East Boston Shore
Captain Herb Motley, BHSC