by Steve Benjamin

Race 5 was a short course around St. James Island in about 15 knots TWS.  The start was even, and the M24 BUDGET MARINE was over early and had to re-start.  DECISION was a little faster than the Farr 400 MAGNITUDE to leeward and lead to the left, as MAGNITUDE tacked to port to clear wind.  DECISION headed and tacked to port also.  The Farr 400 BLADE was to windward and going well, and also tacked to port.  Several more tacks ensued with the three boats and DECISION stretched into the lead.

By the end of the second windward leg DECISION had a good lead and set the 2A with an hourglass, which eventually came out on the gybe but cost some time.  At the downwind finish, DECISION’s elapsed time was 41 minutes and 26 seconds, which was 1 minute 54 seconds ahead of MAGNITUDE, and MAGNITUDE won the race on CSA corrected time by 25 seconds.  BUDGET MARINE and BLADE corrected into a dead heat for third and fourth, so both boats scored 3.5 points for the race.

For the last Race 6 the Race Committee signaled a longer course into Pillsbury Sound.  There was a right shift at the start and the windward end was quite crowded.  DECISION approached the line with speed and cracked sheets.  The Class 40 ICARUS was ahead and turned to leeward to go down the line.  At the same time DECISION luffed to go to windward of ICARUS.  Disaster struck as tip of DECISION’s bowsprit caught the port stern pushpit of ICARUS and broke one foot from the tip.  A major miscalculation on my part and I accept full responsibility and apologize to all concerned.  DECISION withdrew from Race 6.

As it turned out, BUDGET MARINE placed third in Race 6 which was good enough for the Class win by 0.5 points.  MAGNITUDE missed the downwind finish line and had to sail back upwind, taking fifth in the Race and second overall.  Third was FIRE WATER another M24, fourth BLADE, and DECISION ended up 5th.

The racing was fantastic and the Race and Regatta Committees all did superb work making this International Rolex Regatta one of the best.

As for DECISION, the bowsprit is on a plane to be repaired in the US and we’ll be repaired in time for the next event at St. Barths.  The boat is fast, really fun to sail, and shows great promise for the new HPR concept.