Two World Champs, an NA Champ team returning after a two decade hiatus, and the most Class’s most charming and handsome pair started the 2021 505 East Coast Championships on the outside of a 30 degree righty that never came back. The degree to which each recovered was the measure of the final results at this year’s ECCs. Mike and Carl bailed out earliest and went on to win the regatta, Mike and Pete took a while to figure it out and got 2nd in the event, and Ethan and Chris took the early thrashing and came back for 3rd overall. Parker and I can still fall back on our looks and charm.
In a rerun of the classic “you shoulda been here last week!” boats rolled up to WRSC late Thursday afternoon, got rigged, and suffered the worst part of sailing at West River (the long sail out to the course) to practice in a beautiful 13 to 16 knot breeze on the Bay. The race days weren’t quite as windy, but PRO Heidi Bay and her RC team made the most of what each day had to get 9 quality, challenging races in.
Day 1 featured a soft southerly with the top mark set up against a point headland. It was so frustrating that Holt and Carl pulled out all their hair, but sacrifices must be made and the burnt offering gave them the early event lead. That evening’s debrief focused on patience in these conditions, not over-responding to pressure changes, and letting the boat respond to the new pressure before changing sail or weight trim.
The second day’s top mark was at the confluence of two small coves. Not challenging at all. Brian Bay, driving the gate launch, wisely adopted the technique of physically keeping the rabbit moving through weekend Bay chop. This allowed clean-ish gate starts, but Barney and RJ sagely figured out that gating early, gains often was the go-to and smoked a 1-2 on the day. Ethan and Chris tap danced around the course pretty well, as did Zani and Alarie. Despite their enhanced waterline length, Mike and Carl had a bit of a shocker day, setting up a 4 way scrum for the overall title on day 3.
Day 3 threatened to give the trap wires a workout with a fresh WNW and we wire ran out to the outside course for some classic open course 505 racing. Zani/Alarie, Ethan/Chris, and Mike/Carl showed they were ready to duke it out, and Henry and Russ shook off some dust to post a good one in the opener. Mike and Carl got “looks and charmed” on the final run of the second race to drop a valuable point to both Zani/Alarie and Ethan/Chris. A strange Sunday highlight was the rays swimming in the Bay. Nearly soiled my trousers the first one of those I saw.
Once we got the final race successfully gated, the breeze was starting to crumble. A near glass-off at the top of the second beat made the final outcome anyone’s guess, but Holt and Carl held on to win by a point over Mike and Pete and three over Ethan and Chris.
Thanks to WRSC and all the RC volunteers for running a great event in challenging conditions, and thanks to the Bay family and Barney for letting dirty vagrants use their cruising boats for housing.
Next stop for the east coast circus is Wickford Regatta on June 5 and 6. There are still a few registration spots available.
For east coast boats wishing to sail Buzzards Bay Regatta on August 6-8 and/or Newport Regatta on August 20-21, you can leave your boats in the area between those events and the NAs, and there will be at least one pre-NAs practice weekend after Labor Day and before NAs. Let me know if you want in on that.