The Race Must Go On! (Severna Park Voice June 2022)
The Race Must Go On!
For Round Bay Sailing Association, Race Committee (RC) has the important job each week of setting the course and start line.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ANDREW TROY
Posted Thursday, June 9, 2022 10:17 am
Mary Marta l RBSA
For Round Bay Sailing Association, Race Committee (RC) has the important job each week of setting the course and start line. Other responsibilities include registering boats, periodically recording wind speed, raising class flags and recoding finish times. That fairly technical job became a bit hazardous on race three of the season. It was a calm night, a real drifter, which should have made for three easy starts, with a shortened racecourse to finish, with a few beers in between. But race three was nothing like that for RC!
Staffed by Lightfoot (an Olson 30) but using a borrowed powerboat, RC found itself with wet shoes – water was coming onboard at the first start. Lightfoot skipper Ken Shuart and crewmates checked the engine compartment, and a third start racer provided a bilge pump and bucket. RC found itself pumping and bailing their own boat as it started the second fleet. They were able to start the final fleet three about five minutes later but recognized that it would not be safe to stay on (or in) the water. According to Shuart, RC had the distinct feeling that, “Oh my God, we have to get out of here!”
While furiously pumping water out of the boat, RC pulled up anchor as soon as fleet three started and headed back to the dock. RC then put the sailboat Lightfoot in the water and headed back to station.
While Lightfoot is slower under power than the original RC powerboat, RC knew that it at least would not be taking on water. Maneuverability and speed are important for RC because in very light winds, courses are often shortened, and RC must move from the original start line to the new finish line. Indeed, RC shortened race three to just 1.1 miles, with three of 11 boats withdrawing before finish.
This drifter race proved to be memorable for a few things: the beautiful sunset, and that not all racers have the patience to sail in light winds, starting at 4, diminishing to 0.5 knots. Probably the most important lesson was that the race must go on, despite conditions on the RC boat.
Join us on Wednesday nights on the Severn River at Round Bay or online at www.roundbaysailing.com.