Key West Race Week - when it rains it pours

Struggles from the Farr 40 fleet - story by Sean McNeill, for Quokka Sports
Sailing is a game of inches and luck. If you don't win the close battles and have a few things go your way, life can be very difficult. This the crew of Solution found out on Day 2 of Key West Race Week. Key West Race Week is renowned for its splendid weather, but some rain must fall in each person's life. Today, it poured on John Thomson's Solution in Farr 40 class Races 3 and 4. Race 3 started OK. We got off the line in decent shape and sailed in some narrow lanes to round the windward mark in 15th. We were disadvantaged a bit by being to the left of a big shift to the right, the wind shifted from 40 to 70 degrees, but still got around the mark in good shape. The shift was the result of a squall rolling across the course, which also made for a lively rounding as the windspeed jumped to 20 knots from 14 knots and rain began to fall. With the wind so far right, tactician Tom Whidden called for a jibe set. We got around, popped the .5-ounce polyester kite and took off down the 2.0-mile run at 12 to 14 knots. The Farr 40 proved once again a thrill to sail in windy conditions, as its light-to-moderate displacement allows it to surf easily. Some crews had trouble, however, with Chris Doscher's Twister broaching a couple of times. We rounded the leeward mark in 15th, and picked off one more boat over the next two legs to the finish and placed 14th, a result we were happy with as some of yesterday's leaders were behind us. We felt good. We liked our boatspeed and set-up, and felt a first place would set everything right. The wind dropped to about eight knots for