I am extremely proud to announce that WBYC and the crew of the Brilliant have won the Schooner class of the 29th annual Pat West Gaff Rig and Schooner race.
The race consisted of 25+ boats of varying sizes. Winds started out light and variable, but picked up right at the start. Brilliant and her major competitor Juno charged out of a very hectic start. All WBYC crew worked furiously to raise additional sails to take advantage of the wind at the start.
Captain Nick Alley sailed expertly, timing the start to perfection, and working the current to our advantage. Juno had a speed advantage at the start, building a five boat length lead. Brilliant then came on strong, closing the gap and building a five boat length lead of her own as we charged into a fog bank. Wind remained the issue, coming and going as both boat speed and visibility dropped in the fog.
Brilliant emerged from the fog on proper course to take advantage of the current. Juno emerged from the fog immediately behind us, and immediately tacked to try and gain an advantage, which would be their undoing. Juno was pushed far off course by the current and was forced to drop anchor to maintain position.
Brilliant jibed right on time to make the first mark, while all other boats struggled taking more than 2 hours longer to reach the mark. The RC called for a shortened course and declared Brilliant the winner.
The trophy and Pat West Cup will return with Brilliant to Mystic Seaport for the year. Congratulations to Captain Alley and the WBYC sailors in bringing home the hardware!