Bridge Too Far sailboat race on Stillhouse Hollow Lake, 3/15/08
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Stillhouse Hollow Sailing club has a Bridge Too Far race every spring, and it is my favorite race. It starts at the marina near the dam, then someyears around a buoy, and up the lake around the buoy at the boat ramp by the bridge, and back to the marina. The course is over 20 miles, so a lot of things can happen, and usually do happen in this usually windy race. It's a good test of sailing on all points of sail, as the lake winds back and forth to the bridge and back.
With time corrected by the Portsmouth handicap, boats of all sizes can race. This year we had boats from Sunfish to a Hunter 28.5, and one catamaran. It was a fast race in 2008, with winds 10-15 mph and gusts to 20, boats started finishing in 3 hours and 2 minutes, 4 minutes faster than in 2007, with an average speed of about 7 mph. I had Dr. John Carter and Dusty and Devon Offutt for crew. While Devon is only 6, he is capable of taking the helm or any other position, and awesome addition to any crew!
Race started at high noon, and with the north wind we had a downwind start and leg to buoy E on the south side of the Stillhouse Hollow Lake. Alison filmed the start with our new camera, a PV-GS320, that's the first video.
Our start didn't go as planned, with us far back, but Rick Powers was out in front instantly. After getting out of the cove, we raised the spinnaker and proceeded to chase Rick, Mike, Jim and the catamaran to buoy E. Felipe Payet on his Laser 2 raised his spinnaker too and sped past us.
It was a good day for the centerboards, after passing the first point with all the trees, the catamaran left us behind and disappeared up river. Felipe and Jim slowed down and after I finally caught up with Rick and Mike we traded 2nd place many times on the way to the bridge, where we found the catamaran apparantly broken down. The three of us rounded the buoy, I think Rick first, followed closing by Mike and then us.
On the way back downstream, the three of us continued to trade 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Mike lured us toward the shortcut to the south of the island, but then saw all the trees and went back to the north side. I decided to chance what appeared to be a shortcut, but the island blocked the wind and the three of us met up at buoy E for the final upwind leg.
The windward leg to the finish was hard, with high shifty wind and big waves. The heavy chop slowed down Rick enough for Mike and I to take the lead, and were neck and neck coming into the cove, but Mike's last minute capsize gave us a slim lead at the finish.
Six of the racers carried GPS and recorded a trail, I forgot to turn mine on before the race so my trail doesn't start until part way through the first leg. Felipe has combined the tracks so you can watch the entire race for these 6 boats (as soon as Rick sends his track to Felipe there will be 6). The most interesting part is watching the boats tack upwind, you can watch it here on sailhack.net.
Broadband version, 21 MB
Pictures from the Bridge Too Far 2008