The Virginia Governor’s Cup Regatta just ended a few hours ago.  Ware River is known for big..  Big fleets, Big winds, Big shifts, Big Fun…

 

This year’s regatta lived up to its reputation.  There were around 100 boats sailing in this event across many classes.  The Buccaneers were joined by Hampton One Designs, Albacores, 420’s, Lasers, Optimists, and a Portsmouth Handicap mixed fleet with Sunfish, Mutineers, Catamarans, 505’s and a couple of foiling International Moth boats.  (pretty awesome to see a boat literally “Fly” by you!)

The RC set us up with really long courses, with legs approximately a mile in length, the 4  and 6 leg races lasted between 40 minutes and an hour.

The conditions were very shifty on Saturday with moderate breeze, probably around 8 knots.   There were thunderstorms approaching in the early afternoon, so we sailed one race and return to shore to watch the natural light show (lightning) and start the party early..

The conditions on Sunday were quite a bit more steady, with winds coming out of the North, quite a bit cooler than Saturday, and much stronger.  The current was flowing out the river rather steadily and sailors who figured out where the “fast lanes’ were made out heavily.

Sunday’s races were very tight, and there were many lead changes as the 6 boat fleet sailed the course.  Race 1 started off with a crowded start, and Jeff Moore’s “Spanish Mackerel” taking the first tack out to the right side of the course, and with it the first lead.

That lead he held for the majority of the race, only to be passed by Rick Scarborough’s “Sanguine” on the last run.  Jeff Neurauter, “Irene”  was closing the gap on both boats quickly, and  Jimmy Yurko, “Honey Badger” was closing the gap on Irene as the fleet approached the last leeward mark rounding.

By the time the boats turned the bottom corner, Irene had lost a position to Honey Badger, and Sanguine began to pull away from Spanish Mackerel.

On the beat to windward, Spanish Mackerel again sailed to the right side of the course, separating from the fleet, and finding a ‘fast lane’ recovering the lead from Sanguine.  All the while Honey Badger, who had capsized during the reaching leg due to rounding to windward with the spinnaker up, was finding favorable windshifts and closing the gap on both Sanguine and Spanish Mackerel.

As the four boats approached the finish line, it was still very much anyone’s race.  There was strong breeze, (approximately 12 knots) whitecaps had formed and were steady at this point..but there were several spots across the racecourse with lighter winds  which could play a significant factor into the boats position.

On the final beat to the finish line, Honey Badger and Irene approached on Port tack, while Sanguine and Spanish Mackerel headed in from the right on Starboard.   A large shift came across the course with approximately 30 seconds before the boats crossed the line.  The new wind was coming from the left side of the course and quite strong..sending the boats on Port Tack on a plane towards the finish line, while the boats on Starboard tack had to bear away.

Spanish Mackerel sailing nearly parallel to the line crossed first, approximately 3 seconds ahead of Honey Badger who crossed on Port less than a boat length ahead of Sanguine who like Spanish Mackerel was having a hard time getting to the line from Starboard.  Irene came across just a few seconds behind Sanguine..and within the next minute the rest of the fleet finished.

For race 3 the wind had built and become even more powerful.  Only Irene, Sanguine, Spanish Mackerel, and Honey Badger entered the starting area.  Though the fleet was smaller, the race provided much of the same excitement as races one and two, and after 55 minutes of racing in 12-15 knots of steady breeze with the occasional 18+ knot gust ended with again a 3 boat overlap at the finish, as Honey Badger edged out Sanguine by about two feet, and Irene crossed seconds later.