Nice Starts get better with age

Published on August 25th, 2020

Following the story, Earning a start the old fashioned way, we got the idea to ask for ‘Nice Start’ stories. Much like the fish we catch, these get better with age…here’s one from Marc Herrmann:

My memorable start story happened a few years ago when racing on a good friend’s Hotfoot 27 during one of Royal Vancouver Yacht Club’s Wednesday Night “Beer Can” race.

Some of us in the crew have raced together for longer than anyone cared to remember but as everyone knows, it makes it so much more fun when racing with people you enjoy being around.

We are not “grand prix” north of the 49th Latitude, but certainly don’t lack participation and enthusiasm when it comes to summer mid-week after work fun.

There is quite the mix of boat types, sizes, and shapes in our division and of course this is all handicap (PHRF) racing and about a dozen boats any one of which can top the leaderboard if all the stars align and a little “luck” doesn’t hurt as well.

Being the “driver” of the boat, we were in our pre-start and doing the usual jockeying for position. We were less than a minute from our start and made our final tack just to leeward (ahead and clear) of one of our competitors who was 34 feet (as said, we were 27).

As we approached the line near the committee boat end, we got a good gauge setting up on the line, competitors to leeward and of course the committee boat as a great reference when we felt a jolt on the boat along with me feeling a little “tap” on the back of my head (wearing a cap). I turn around only to find the bow of the 34 staring me right in the face.

As you can imagine there was a little commotion on both boats and once the dust settled and assessing that the damage was minimal (slight bent stanchion on our boat, no damage on the 34), we decided to continue racing. (Remember, not grand prix but for a good time).

Of course by this time the fleet was gone, however, as I am sure we all know, sometimes there is merit being a “little late”. We assessed the course, fleet and wind conditions and could see some big shifts on the left side of the course. We rounded the weather mark in first and never looked back (no pun intended). We ended up winning the race by over 2 minutes on elapsed time!

After the race the crew thought I should get bonked in the head more often. 🙂

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