Monday, August 23, 2010

Kathleen Gets Her Conditions

Those pre internal combustion engine builders knew a thing or two. They valued light air performance much more than we do. Any vessel can get her cargo to market when there is a breeze but it takes some special qualities to accomplish this when there is only a wisp of a breeze and no engine to fall back on. All those boats with fine entries and easy straight runs were about performance at the very bottom end of the power spectrum where the unit of measure is the human rather than the horse.  A human with an oar, or a large sail and a light hand on the helm, can get such a boat and her contents where she needs to go on a barely perceptible breeze.  Silent Maid may have been so named because she had no engine but her owner also had a power boat dubbed the Noisy Lady. I’m sure the Noisy Lady saw employment more than once towing her quiet companion.  Kathleen is a pre gas engine boat and her performance in light air is a testament to that, she would be getting home on the power of her sails no matter how light the breeze.
The starting line was crowded; the Arey’s Pond Regatta had attracted nearly a hundred cat boats. They were staring in several classes but there aren’t many places to go in Little Pleasant Bay so starters and non starters crowded the line. Kathleen took the start and forced the Maid to chase her through the narrows. In the light breeze she showed her stuff and as the fleet  spread out into the open water of the Pleasant Bay she had a pretty good lead. She opted to tack downwind as Silent Maid headed straight for the mark. The breeze was up a little and Silent Maid closed the distance so the two boats met at the next mark with Kathleen on Starboard. Silent Maid jibed over, then back to make the rounding. There was a little breeze now and the Maid showed what she had, pointing higher and sailing faster she gained the advantage and headed back to the narrows in the lead. There was a swift ebb tide running through the narrows as the boats headed that way. The bigger boat strove to avoid grounding while the smaller took her chances outside the channel. It was a risky move, depending on the wind staying favorable and the current on the lee bow as well as staying off the bottom but for the trailing boat it was the only move.  It was a risk with a large return and Kathleen surged ahead through the narrows. She was able to keep Silent Maid in her turbulent air as the two boats headed for the finish. Kathleen completed the course with two minutes over her competitor.
Kathleen is now up two races to one in the series and it is on Silent m
Maid to show what she can do with her size and speed.

Photos:   ©Land's Edge Photography

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