I have learned the lesson before and was glad I remembered it yesterday– current and tide trump the wind every time. We had a long race yesterday and the last part was a long beat against the tide. Those of us who have enough local experience to know better took the long way around, going quickly to the shallow water across the channel and staying there, beating close to shore. Some of those less familiar with the waters set a course that kept them in the channel too long, earning a conveyor belt trip backwards. So, at least I got that part right, although maneuvering in the shallow water required a constant lookout at the depth – I had to pull up the centerboard a few times and at one point, I was being very clever to take a short cut next to a sandy spit but was not quick enough and jerked to a stop as the centerboard dug into the sand – at least it was not rocky. I was also pleased that I was alert enough to notice during the part where we finally had to cross the channel, that in the eddies behind a small island, the current was in the opposite direction and I sailed straight into it and got a great, if shortlived, boost.
It was an all day race with two legs and a lunch stop in the middle. The second leg had a downwind start in a relatively narrow channel – never done that before. Very little jostling at the line with everyone on a very broad starboard reach and with a couple of dolphins appearing soon afterward as a bonus.