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2023 Mike Gurish Regatta Results

A great time was had by most of the sailing fleet on Saturday August 26th while sailing, or maybe just floating, in the Mike Gurish Regatta. Many thanks go out to John Hill, Sailing Fleet Captain, for organizing a great day on the water. And thanks again to Walter Deacon for volunteering his boat as the Race Committee boat at the starting line. The course was set, we were going to sail the Short Course in a Clockwise direction

The wind was predicted to be very light for the afternoon, and the predictions weren’t wrong. There were a couple of park-ups where the fleet just all seemed to park when the wind died.

Wind for the Mike Gurish Regatta as reported at the Hull YC

As you can see in the wind graph above, the wind went well below 5 knots, and seemed to not really know which direction it wanted to blow from until it finally decided to blow from the West by the time we were all back at the club enjoying a fun cookout.

With the 1200 start time, Walter Deacon setup his boat as our Race Committee just off of the Western Way RG-WW Buoy. As the fleet collected for the start the wind looked like it may hold and we had a chance to be able to sail the course, slowly, with a east-north-easterly breeze hovering around 4 and 5 knots.

Just as Ray Richard on Windsong II got off the line, the wind started to fade. Much of the rest of the fleet started near the WW buoy end of the start line, and as the wind got lighter the boats all started to slow and clump up.

A couple of boats got away, the two J/35s (Black Seal from the South Shore YC and Tempo) saw the park-up forming and started closer to the committee boat, and to windward. Back Beat, another SSYC boat, and Paul Chroniak on Regard seemed to be able to break out first and lead the fleet to GC-5 near Hull Gut. Riding an outgoing tide helped all the boats make it to this first turning mark. It was so light that this first leg, which is 1nm, took the fleet about an hour to sail. That’s not fast. But there were still smiles on the faces of the skippers and crews.

Turning the corner at GC-5 and heading towards Bumpkin Island meant pointing our boats directly downwind. As the wind was getting even lighter we saw a couple of different strategies for going dead downwind with hardly any breeze. A couple of boats had whisker poles or spinnaker poles to pole out their jib and go wing-on-wing. Other boats tried to sail hotter angles, hoping the speed and apparent wind would keep them trucking along. Still other boats chose to sail the rumb line directly towards the RG-CF can at Bumpkin Island.

Once we got to Bumpkin Island we all saw how Black Seal sailed away from us in the lightest of light air. Eventually the wind went to zero and they stalled in the channel between Grape Island and Sheep Island.

Back Beat tried their luck heading towards the Hingham Yacht Club and sailed over some shallow water near Crow Point Flat. Tempo and ReLAXing tried to heat things up and sail back towards the north and the Sheep Island side of the channel. Windsong II ghosted past the mark and got caught in some tide pushing them closer and closer to Bumpkin Flats. Icon and much of the rest of the fleet turned the mark and patiently waited for their puff to come and get them moving again.

At around 1400 hours, Ray on Windsong II was the first to call into the Race Committee to report they had no forward movement and were being pushed towards a rocky area near Bumpkin Island, so they were turning on their engine and retiring. As the wind got even lighter the fleet kind of spun in circles with very little movement forward, doing anything we could think of to keep wind attached to our sails.

Then wind turned off completely and the thought of finishing the course before the cutoff time seemed like a tall task. Back Beat reported there was a mutiny afoot and their skipper had to turn on the engine and open the beer cooler. More boats retired, having had enough of sitting and bobbing with no motion under a hot sun.

As time moved on and tide started to shift to a flooding tide, John Hill on ReLAXing thought it best to try his luck on the north side of Sheep Island, where he could get into the main channel and ride the tide towards the finish.

As some boats motored out of the racing area/parking lot, Icon caught the tiniest of private wind puffs and started moving away from the RG-CF. Somebody on my boat thought maybe Icon had their engine pushing them, but on closer inspection their outboard engine was in the up position and out of the water, they were really sailing, and closing on us fast.

The wind died again, and at one point we saw what looked like Black Seal off in the distance even pointing back up the course towards us. Icon and Tempo traded places a few times going down the small boat channel, each thinking they had the answer when they found a puff…only to slow down again and watch the other sail by.

By the time Icon and Tempo got to the green day mark off of the west end of Grape Island (Q-G), we could see ReLAXing moving smartly down the main channel, and Black Seal with her jib poled out sailing towards Raccoon Island off in the distance.

Just as we reached the mouth of the Fore River, somewhere around 1545, the wind picked up to around three or four knots. There was a chance we may actually finish before the cutoff time of 1700. Fasten your seatbelts, we’re going to start racing at the breakneck speed of 2.5-3.0 knots. Tempo seemed to catch the new breeze first, and with more sail area and longer waterline started sailing away from Icon and ReLAXing. Harry Jensen on Icon had other things in mind, and kept right on Tempo’s stern, while ReLAXing just kept getting bigger and bigger in the rearview mirror.

Black Seal, after getting pretty close to Raccoon Island, jibed and had a great line to carry speed to the finish line at the WYC docks. We found out that Jeff Kent, skipper of Black Seal, grew up sailing at the Wessagussett YC, so he clearly knew where he was going and how to get the best angle to a fast finish.

Icon and Tempo were in close contact the whole way up the river in a tight battle for second place. Tempo seemed to get that one, last puff and ghosted over the finish line just in front of Icon. ReLAXing, not wanting to give up, crossed the line in fourth.

Back on the WYC deck, the burgers and hot dogs were grilling and the drinks were flowing. The 50-50 raffle, which raised $90 to be donated to the Mike Gurish Scholarship Fund was growing and growing, and more than a few competitors went into the dinning room to enjoy the comforts of the club’s air conditioning, while everybody enjoyed the entertainment of DJ O’Malley on the deck.

The final results were:

First Place: Black Seal (SSYC) – Jeff Kent

Second Place: Tempo – Kevin Moylan

Third Place: Icon – Harry Jensen

Fourth Place: ReLAXing – John Hill

DNF: Windsong II, Dea Latis, Regard, Starlight, Moonlighter, Back Beat

DNS: Vela, Yggdrasil, Solana