A-Log: Aurora breaks record to Halifax!
News flash: Aurora was one of three boats that broke the 1984 course record and it looks like we came 1st in our class under ORR rules. We were the third vessel to cross the finish line, following Bella Pita and Valkyrie, which were both very well sailed and very fast. On corrected time we finished 5th in our IRC class and 13th in IRC fleet overall. In our class it was a very tight race were all the boats corrected within 10 minutes of each other. Gus is psyched that not only did we sail very well and have fun but placed well. We are all still pumped up from last night’s thrill ride and relieved to have finished so quickly with a milestone for the history books. Aurora’s Corinthian sailing program puts a premium on learning, safety and sailing as well as possible. Earning trophies for the shelf is great, but not what determines our success.
Our wind speed registered 25 kts a few times on the last leg. While that velocity was 88 feet up at the top of Aurora’s mast and velocity on the water was slightly less, it was still enough to generate white caps and following seas. The final leg was a real adrenalin rush. I was right in the center of the action helping John Gladstone from North Sails trim the main. That meant grinding non stop for four hours as we eased and trimmed the sails in a rhythm to help catch the surfable waves.
Our boat speed exceeded 17 kts numerous times while sledding down the 4-5 foot waves. We pushed the boat as hard as she would go, riding the edge between sailing as fast as possible and wiping out. Fifteen minutes before the finish, wipe out is exactly what we did, rounding uncontrollably into the wind under spinnaker and staysail. But after a huge ease of the main and spinnaker to let off wind pressure, we righted the boat, steered back down to the reach then sheeting in again to renew the sprint to the line.
But the excitement was not over, for as soon as the sails filled with wind we blew out a second spinnaker, the No. 3 chute. With not too much fuss and hot-shot crew work, we quickly got the giant shredded sail down and pulled it into the cockpit. Within 5 minutes we had also taken down the staysail and hoisted the No. 2 genoa, which we carried to the finish. Upon finishing we noticed the the head and top 1/4 of the lost chute was still waving in the wind from the top of the rig, so young Taylor North, the mid-bow man, was hoisted up the mast to free up the halyard jammed at the sheave.
Too bad the folks on the committee boat did not get to witness the thrilling spectacle of Aurora screaming across the finish line under chute and staysail. But the wind had slackened anyway as we came into the inner harbor. On the dock it was all “Welcome to Canada.” Before letting us step off the boat, customs, immigration and race officials climbed aboard to clear our passports and do a final verification that we had all required safety equipment on board.
– Alden Bentley, Reuters