Kenai wins the SORC 2020-21 Islands In the Stream Series

The Kenai crew including LYC Members Chris and Karen Lewis, Bill Zartler and Brian Shores were thrilled to win the SORC 2020-21 Islands In the Stream Series with a 1,1,2 score. The races were varied with light conditions for Races 2 and 3 and then a real blow for most of the 340 nm Eleuthera Race that challenged all the yachts. The team won the series through sheer determination at times and some good decision making. For example to get to Key West we tacked the 145% genoa 114 times and gybed the 0.5oz VMG kite 28 times. Chris commented "I guess that was good for the sailmakers! Although I am amazed at how today's carbon sails stand up to offshore conditions if properly handled."

"The first leg to Eleuthera was a tight reach in moderate conditions across the Florida Straights allowing for a Code Zero flown off Kenai's 2m sprit. We sagged below the rum line with the Stream on our stern quarter. By reefing the main and reducing drag in the puffs the boat was faster. Then dropping to a Heavy #1 sheeted to the rail we were able to foot up to Little Isaac over the last 20 nm with less north set current. From there we were on the wind with a 200 nm starboard biased beat changing down to a #3 jib and finally the #4 jib. In both cases with a reefed main. The seas got to be 6 to 8 ft and confused going out into the Atlantic passed the northern tip of Eleuthera. We moved the #4 jib sheeting to the outboard track and saw boat speeds of up to 8.7 knots. Great for the race but not appreciated by the off watch crew as Kenai launched off and through the seas. Finally we turned to a fetch down to the southern tip of the island and set the A4 for the finish line. We knew it was tight with the TP52 on rating but the old girl hit 13 knots with 25 knot gusts on the VMG run to the finish. We corrected out by 22 minutes in the race with the RC selecting the ORC Predominantly Upwind Rating.

It's truly amazing that a 23,500 lb 30 year old design with 175 sq. m kites and an overlapping genoa has been able to be competitive with a variety of race boats in SORC under a wide range of conditions during the series. The key is knowing your boat and keeping near to 100% of your speed throughout the race. We do a lot of sail changes. We were also fortunate that the J121 Wings never got to fly down wind for very long!" 
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