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Thistle Nationals – Light winds again today

Published on July 30th, 2014

Sheboygan, WI (July 30, 2014) – The 2014 Thistle National Championship regatta at Sail Sheboygan is an exercise in patience. The fleet started on time as it looked like the wind would cooperate. General recall turned into returning to shore due to lack of wind. After waiting about three hours for the wind to come up, the AP came down and the teams headed back out. The race finally got off in 5 kt from the northeast. At press, the race committee was attempting to get a second race in the books for today. ResultsEvent website

Additional report on day 3 by Mike Mcbride…
The goal was three races with a 10:25. We left the dock at about 9:45 in a 5 knot easterly. The race committee set a start, and we were off. Or so we thought. What had sounded like a start with an individual recall was actually a postponement. We flopped around a while, the RC set “come within hail”, and planed off to the mouth of the harbor. The safety boats were kind enough to give us a tow in the dying breeze, and we had lunch on shore.

Around 1:15 the postpone came down, and we went out to brave the fickle winds once again. The winds were patchy from the south / southeast. The RC tried to start us under P flag to no avail. They then tried again with Z flag, again to no avail. Posting the bow numbers of the z flagged boats on the stern of the race committee seemed to temper the enthusiasm, and we were off with a Z over I starting rule. The wind was pretty unsettled. Our leeward telltales refused to stream. They would look like we were footing right up until the jib broke. It was a “pick a side” kind of day. We picked left. We chose poorly. The right came in strong at the top of the beat. Downwind was just plain patchy. Hopatcong comes to mind. Upwind was similar to the first upwind, but this time neither side seemed to pay. We followed folks down the first leg of the reach, couldn’t pass anyone despite being on the high road, at the gybe mark we couldn’t get inside and so ended up running low the second reach. We caught enough boats that Kyle Finefrock accused us of being the “creepy low road guy”, but the finish was still nothing to write home about.

Next race was from the same general wind direction. This was the steadiest breeze we saw since Monday! The fleet was tight the whole way around the course, but there were still holes to be found. One notable moment was approaching the gybe mark. We heard “don’t go in there”. We looked at the mark just in time to see the boat in front snag it with his mainsheet and drag it 3 or 4 lengths to weather. “looks like there is plenty of room to me”. Unfortunately he released the mark before we could capitalize on the situation. At the leeward mark, there was quite a crowd, and shouting and fending ensued. The whole rafted clump drifted to leeward. Several boats were able to capitalize on that despite a distinct lack of rights. By this time the wind had built to where depowering was crossing our minds, but the finish was so close it was hardly worth bothering. We were back on shore by 7 PM.Those with dinner plans at the Blue Harbor were happy to hear that proper dress included sailing attire, drinks were at 8, and dinner at 9.

With two races completed today, thus endeth the qualifiers.Tomorrow is a new day, but they are saying that the prezzies will keep their scores and everyone will still race together. Strange stuff that.

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