Fall Fun Racing Series Added at HHSA

Filling the gap between summer racing and frostbite season

The Herrington Harbour Sailing Association (HHSA) racing season has a packed calendar on Herring Bay from May to September but enters the doldrums before the Frostbite Series begins in late October. This year, the crew of one of our fleet boats, Knot Home, wanted to keep the season going. We asked around and found there was interest in an informal evening series to fill the gap in the schedule. There were additional considerations—shorter days and the desire to eliminate the need for an RC so as many boats as possible could race.

Sunset finish sailboat racing
Knot Home (1985 J/27) practicing spinnaker skills into the sunset finish of a HHSA Fall Fun Series race.

Leveraging work done on the Sailing Instructions for a similar series during Covid, the HHSA Fall Fun Series was established as five independent Wednesday evening races using a Rabbit Start. This involves a designated boat that will be a part of the race positioning itself near a mark of convenience and making some maneuvers that define the starting line and start time. The rest of the fleet are constrained in their maneuvers until all boats have “crossed the rabbit.” Each boat self-times its finish. It took some getting used to the unconventional starts, whether as the Rabbit or being in the fleet trying to assess the Rabbit, but it was all in the spirit of having fun, learning, and getting as many boats racing as possible.

With a single start, boats could choose and change between spin and non-spin classes in each race. This was part of the motivation for Knot Home. We had less than a year’s experience on the boat and had not yet gotten the spinnaker out in a race. The Fall Fun Series provided several races where we got the chute up… and even one race where we shouldn’t have put up the chute but already had (hey, it was all about the learning). The sailing was always fun, the sunsets were always amazing, and the good times after the race at Skipper’s were always flowing.

Come and join us next season! HHSA is a great place to race, and new ideas are always welcome, as we showed.

By Jim Watson