Monday August 27, 2007 05:57PMon
As preparation for the race, Mike and Noel swam to the mooring in the cold Nantucket waters. Mike, ever the preparer, had Noel scrub the bottom with an abrasive pad while Mike pumped the bilge and gave encouragement from the cockpit and removed the cover. Later, Blake arrived from Cape Cod on the morning ferry and the Three Amigos attended the 11:30 Skipper's Meeting in the Club Banquet Hall. They swam back to the boat, attached the sails and took inventory of the required safety equipment only to learn the plastic whistle was missing. Since this could result in a DSQ if the Club were to hold a safety inspection, Mike swam back to shore to retrieve the whistle. They got underway in 8 to 10 knot winds, weaving their way out through the hundreds of moored boats to the channel filled with passing ferries, sail and power boats, on slack tide.
Sailing downwind they passed the huge anchored Nantucket fleet, including the red Lightship "Nantucket", now a floating bed and breakfast, surrounded by the fleets of Rainbows, Indians, Marshall Cats and Alerions moving down the harbor for the 1:00 pm start. By the start the wind had built to 15 to 20 knots with higher gusts and the tide was rushing over the starting line, so conservative starts were in order. The three races were a variety of multiple windward leeward courses around inflatable and town marks with offset finishes upwind. The Amigos had agreed to change positions each race with the lowest finishing skipper buying drinks. With Blake's help calling the line, each of the Three Amigos had good starts at the pin end with good boat speed. Throughout the day, all three hiked hard to keep the boat flat and were able to pass boats with lighter crews in the heavy breeze.
In the end, it was a dead heat between the Amigos for drinks with "Toni Too" finishing Second in each race, despite being overtaken by two boats on the downwind legs. The accomplishment is highlighted by the fact that First Place was taken by the legendary Rhodes 19 sailor Skip Willauer who has not lost a single race in years. After the races, over communal shared drinks, the Amigos finally realized that they had forgotten to loosen the back stay and had sailed downwind with the mast bent. They rejoiced that, at least with the backstay on, they were ready for each upwind leg in which they did better.
Mike claimed the Second Place day flag in his daughter Sophie's name as the registered skipper (in Nantucket the registered boat can be sailed by different skippers in each race and the registrant need not be aboard). The consistent performance of the Amigos on race day and the strong showing by Sophie during all the other August races allowed Sophie and "Toni Too" to get Third Place for the series. The next day Blake went on to sail IODs with Richard Werdiger and the Alpha Syndicate, got First Place, and qualified to sail Bermuda Race Week, a prestigious opportunity.