By Scott Nixon
Wednesday –day three in Key West–saw beautiful weather return after a very atypical first two days. Monday was very light where some classes did not get a race in and other classes like the TP52 class got in two races in some marginal conditions.
Tuesday was cold and wet. Large wind shifts with huge velocity changes from 5 to 30 knots made it challenging for the race committees to say the least. On Division 1 we managed to get one race in that had at least one major wind shift on each leg.
Our luck on the TP52 Interlodge ran out on Tuesday as the spinnaker drop line failed during a spinnaker douse in 20+ knots at a leeward gate. The drop line on the 52 is a complicated system that goes around a wheel down below driven by the grinders on the pedestals. When this fails you have to do a manual take down with all hands on deck. We struggled to get the spinnaker under control and lost it over the side. Not a good look with the spinnaker underwater and behind the boat!
Plenty of film crews around and on board Go Pro footage to assess the damage. Bruised egos and a disgruntled crew hit the dock quite unhappy with the boat handling blunder; but the key for our team was the leadership put forth by our owners and tactician to shake it off and talk it through so that we did not do this again on day three.
The team led by owner Austin and Gwen Fragomen talked through the mishap and put a plan in place for “damage control” when it starts to hit the fan. This was talked through in the daily post race debrief and at the team dinner. Our tactician Andy Horton also had us get the spinnaker up early on the way out to the course so we could practice a few string drops before race one on Wednesday and get our confidence back.
The effort paid off and the Interlodge sailed to a 1,2,3 and won the day in some great northwesterly 12-16 knot conditions. The direction by our leadership and the willingness of the team to work it out paid off.
In race two today during one of the spinnaker drops we had a sheet get caught again and it looked like things were going pear shaped. Some quick crises management by our bow team and a knife cut through the sheet to free the spinnaker kept us in the hunt with the top teams.
Definitely more smiling owners and faces on the boat this afternoon as it always feels good to move in the right direction.
Great conditions on tap for the last two days of Quantum KWRW leaves lots of opportunities available for our team on the Interlodge. Stay tuned. http://www.premiere-racing.com/