Spring Training Aboard Lucie

“We’re so lucky. On Day One, we had four knots to start, and up to 15 in the afternoon,” said Craig Healy, Lucie’s skipper. “That allowed us to go through the whole sail inventory.”

Lucie’s opening day of spring training started in 4 knots and ended with 15. Sailing photos by Jens Lange

In late April, Craig’s St. Francis Yacht Club team of John Hayes, Tom Ducharme, Isabelle du Moulin and Keith Stahnke arrived in Portsmouth, R.I., for four days of preparation and practice. Except for Keith, all had sailed Lucie at the 2018 6-Metre European Championship, and with two days of practice, finished 9th of 20 boats. This year, they are ready to take it up a notch as they head to the World Championship in Finland.

(From left) Craig Healy and John Hayes discuss sail inventory with Doyle’s USA Head of Design Glenn Cook and coach Ed Adams.

On that first day, with coach Ed Adams and Doyle Sailmakers’ Glenn Cook and Moose McClintock observing, the team set all of their sails—more than a dozen—then came ashore for a lengthy debrief. A 6-Metre can carry a wide variation of sails of different shapes, sizes, and weights, and discussion ranged widely, from mast bend and complementary mainsail luff curves to spinnaker shapes, stabilities, and cloth types.

Tom Ducharme goes up the mast to adjust tension on the runners.

Sailing in the 6-Metre’s Classic Division, Lucie’s mains and jibs are made of Dacron, which doesn’t hold its shape for long. It’s crucial, therefore, to choose the right sails and preserve them for the most important regattas.

On the last two days of practice, coach Wally Henry ran the team through lots of maneuvers and crewwork. Heavy, gusty winds on Saturday provided a good test, coupled with light winds on Sunday.

The team gets set for one of many mark roundings over four days in all winds.

“We did more than a dozen sets and takedowns on Sunday,” said Craig. “And we did our best to make it difficult for ourselves, with lots of jibe takedowns.”

Jens Lange, boat restoration expert at Baltic Boat Works and Lucie’s primary caretaker, spent the weekend in Lucie’s support boat. Jens had built a new wood mast for Lucie in 2018, and said, “This was the best test yet for the mast. The crew played with all the options—mast bend, stiffness, the jumpers. It was a better test than the Europeans because we took her out in 25 knots. The mast was fine, but my heart rate went up!”

One day, the breeze on Narragansett Bay piped up over 20 knots.

According to Craig, the crew will return at the end of May for three days of boathandling practice, sailing with one or two other 6 Metres. The California crew also plans to sail in the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta before the boat is shipped to Europe for the championship regatta in the first week of August.

LUCIE Wins 6mR Worlds Pre-Regatta

Team LUCIE went through two days of crew training and tuning the boat, we got accustomed to the local current and wind conditions and had some minor repairs at night and then headed right into the 6mR pre-World Championship regatta – The Westerleigh Cup.

The Westerleigh Cup was sailed in very light wind conditions with tide and current that was difficult to figure out. To give you an idea of the potential current the tide rise and fall is nearly 14’. 

The first start of the Westerleigh Cup found LUCIE very eager to get started. So eager in fact that Lucie was over the starting line early and had to return to the starting line to clear herself and start again – this put her in last place! What a great way to start a regatta, NOT!  Despite 20 classic 6 Meters in the Classic fleet, LUCIE fought her way back into the race to finish in 7th place. Not a bad result given her start. The second race went a little better for LUCIE. She got a good start, showed good speed throughout the race and was able to finish first.

Day 2 of the Westerleigh Cup had even lighter wind that started with a one hour Postponement ashore. The race committee finally got the fleet started in about 5 kt of shifting breeze. LUCIE came off the line just perfect, played the left side of the course and was able to finish 4th. The leader after Day 1, MAY BE VII, sailed by Dennis Conner, started prematurely but fought his way back to finish 11th. Day 1’s 2nd place boat was the renown “Goose” sailed by past 6 Meter World Champion Eric Jesperson won race 3.

After 3 races, the Olin Stephens designed GOOSE was still leading with LUCIE 2nd in the overall standings. The wind almost had died, AP went up, some waiting, more windshifts but finally by 2 pm the final start got off. LUCIE was able to get off the line and hold her lane. She fought hard with the Spanish entry BRIBON (helmed by HM Don Juan Carlos de Borbón). GOOSE unfortunately had an port-starboard situation with TOTEM and had to take a penalty turn which moved her back in the fleet. LUCIE struggled a bit on the last leg allowing the Finnish “Fridolin” to pass her but was able to hang on to a 4th place. That was just enough to give Lucie and her crew a hard earned 1st Place in the Westerleigh Cup in the Classic division, only one point ahead of MAY BE VII.


Lucie Takes First Place for Day 1 Metrefest

LUCIE takes the bullet on day 1 of the 2017 Metrefest regatta in Newport!

The Metrefest started with the traditional Race around Conanicut Island – a 14 nm course around “Jamestown Island”, a beautiful sight with plenty of Metre boats on the line. LUCIE got off to a great start and took the lead heading out the bay toward Beavertail, then defended her lead going up north through the West Passage of Narragansett Bay. As the fleet was turning back south heading down the East Passage back to Newport things got tight, LUCIE got seriously challenged by the Modern 6 DISCOVERY, lost the lead for a while but choose the better side when the whole fleet came to a brief stop in a big wind hole north of the Pell bridge.

LUCIE took the lead back and defended her position for the last two miles toward the finish.

We are looking forward to some windward leeward racing today – stay tuned.

More photos from Jens Lange