This was my first Offshore 160 out of Newport Yacht Club. The race is a qualifier for the Bermuda 1-2 and the longest single-handed race in New England. Twenty Two boats signed up and were divided into three classes. Kincora was the slow rated boat in class one, with the Class 40 First Light (Sam Fitzgerald) being scratch boat at -6, Kincora is 108 so a huge spread. The race had a lot of talent with multiple Bermuda 1-2 veterans and past winners.
First time sailors in our class were Kristianna, Olson 30 (John Manderson), my trekking buddy, Spadefoot, Randall Saunders (Schumacher 28), Alchemy, J/121 (David Southwell, and Dune Buggy, Nick Bracket (Pacer 310 Sprint) rounded out the class. So a lot of great sailors and boats to make for a competitive race.
We started at noon on Friday 13 July with SE 6-9 kts of wind off Goat Island. Right away Samba and First Light took off with great starts in max current. I stayed hight thinking I would use my Code 0 which was hoisted and ready to unfurl. Well it worked for 1 mile then the Castle Hill header, which I knew would come, so fast furl and lost but a minute or two. Then I settled in for the 60 mile beat on port tack. We went East of Block Island with the option to go either side.
A great beat with Kincora going well and finding a few new modes with a fleet to gauge by. Wind was 10-15 kts true and a fetch if you kept in the right mode at times hard on the wind, and most times 1-3 degrees off.
Rounded our weather mark which was 23.3 miles SW of Block Island, at 08:54 just behind Samba, Breakaway, in my class. I still had all of my class in sight and a few bigger boats from Class two had come up. Seagate, Hanse 400 with Michael Dimelta went trucking by to leeward, thanks Mike for not rolling me to weather. Also Meridian, Tartan 4600, Murry Beach rounded with Samba and Breakaway. Murry also went West of Block Island and made it work.
Then we were off on a 63 mile tight reach to the mark off Gay Head. I set the Code 0 and Kincora was happy, till 02:00 when the wind started to die. Just East of the Block Island Wind Farm I had down to 3 kts of wind and 60 degree shifts. With the wind back beyond 90 app I went with the A5. Sure an A1.5 would have been great, but my only A-sail is an A5. Jibed on a 60 degree lift and jibed back about 45 min later.
Just before sunrise it went very light and aft so I went with my very old masthead runner, get the theme. This worked for about 45 min then back to Code 0. At sunrise it settled in a bit at 80 app and 6 kts of wind, ok for the Code 0. Took three 7 min naps in cockpit about hour after sunrise and could still see the class up ahead.
Coming to the mark about 4 miles out I was knocked till it would be close to fetch. With only 103% jib I kept the Code 0 going which meant an extra knot of boat speed. I can carry it to 40 app in that breeze which I was doing. 3/4 mi from the mark the knock increased and up went the jib and down came the Code 0. Now I had 3 kts of wind and current against me for a short time so big loss (15 min) not fetching. Four tacks and then finally around.
I set the old (ugh) MH runner and crept away from the mark with Meridian, Tartan 4600, Murry Beach who I had just passed an hour prior. Murry was carrying a jib and fetched, nice job, and won class two. Murry was my guiding light ahead all night.
The first part of the final 18 mi leg was very light, but it was obvious there was going to be a Southerly breeze with the gradient direction and heat. So I kept moving and trying to stay low and not sail extra distance. The class one group ahead of me were all using A-sails so I had a chance to make up some of my loss time at the mark sailing less distance. As the leg went on the breeze slowly came on, and with ten miles left I was on the edge of planning at the mark. And the last 5 miles I was going well in 15-17 kts true wind and tight for the MH, but no time for change.
Finish time 12:03 and second in class one by one minute to Samba. Nice race Tristan.
I brought along my video gear and still camera, but to be competitive I had to hand steer 95% of the race. Kincora is tweaky and needs the attention to stay in the game, and that was my plan from the start. Trekking footagae and In and Out of the Boat Shop episode coming.
I learned a ton of new modes and have better crossovers. Also knowing now the sails I am missing to fill the range.
Thanks to Newport Yacht Club, Roy Gauy, all the volunteers, and of course the sailors who make this a great event. One week we do it again in the Solo/Twin. Only a few signed up for solo, come on guys lets build the solo fleet.