I raced in the NOODs Friday on the J120 racing yacht Valkyrie. There was a huge weather delay as the sky was black as night over the city and north of us out into the lake. It looked as if it was bearing down on us so we battened down the hatches and dropped our sails in preparation, but nothing except some rain ever hit us.
We waited from about 10 am until one or so, just bouncing around on the lake, I snoozed in the cabin and chatted with my fellow crew members, many of whom I’ve known for four or five years and more, racing on the same boat. It is bonding, going through storms and such together, races, post race parties, and generally spending a lot of time together. Tends to bond folks. Eventually the race committee decided things were ok to race as the wind settled down and they set a course. We decided to practice putting our spinnaker up and were very nearly late for our start, making it at the last second and fouling another boat which protested us. The second race we managed to botch as well. We have several new guys on the crew and they aren’t as practiced as the veterans. Makes a difference in the small things. Mistakes add up, small and big and contribute to winning and losing. Fun day all in all, learning experience for us and good practice. To win races you need to be smooth at all positions around the boat, have great driving, run the boat to the very edge in terms of maximum (or better said, optimum) sail out for the conditions, make solid tactical decsions, and be in the right place at the right time, meaning be in the spots with the best wind and clearest air. A bit of luck is involved as well. Check the clip below for a small bit of racing action.