We didn't come in last...
Nor did we come in first either.
I almost didn't go racing with the LMYC people today. I reached the dock to see the stern of a sailboat retreating out towards the marina exit. It was a bit too far away to make out the name, but the thought went through my head, "hmmm. I bet that's them." In all fairness, I was a bit late. However, as they are all really nice people, they turned around and came back for me, so the racing was on.
During the hour or so before the race started, we wandered around testing the wind at various locations and points of sale. Basically, there wasn't a lot of wind to play with, and as we gathered at the start, the conjectures started. We settled on a strategy and they gave me the honour of helming for the start. Frankly, I screwed it up. So much for my experience with bigger boats. I was about a minute behind the start and on the wrong tack.
You see, there are two things you want to have happen on the start: What happens is that the officials will blow a couple of horns at 5 minutes and one minute before the start, and then another one to signal the start of the race. You want to be crossing the starting line about 1/10th of a second after the starting horn sounds. Furthermore, you want to be on a starboard tack (wind coming over your starboard [right] side. Otherwise you have to give way to other boats who are established on course (assuming they did it right and are on a starboard tack). There are some other details but that gives you the basics.
Due to the low winds, there were times that it seemed to be a race between inch worms, with cheers going up from our boat when we hit 3 knots of speed, and we were often down at 1 knot of speed. Still we ended up in a fun duel between another boat and ourselves, with the loser of the duel being the last boat over the line on our course (different classes of boats are on different courses). For all intents and purposes, the other boat and we entered our second (and last) lap tied, and chose different lines to the marker we had to round. We chose a course that was longer, but (we felt) would give us more wind where they chose a shorter, inshore, route. They were ahead for about 2/3s of the way to the marker due to having to travel a shorter distance, but then the wisdom of our course proved itself as we overtook them and rounded the marker first, turning 180 degrees and heading back out. They rounded after us and also headed outwards, with us still traveling further out than they did.
We were now on the downwind run and had our sails pushed out as far as we could, the main out to port (and slightly downwind) and the jib out to starboard. The wind was so light that we could hold the jib out by hand in that configuration. With the longest arms (and leg) of anyone, I was elected the living whisker pole. Slowly we opened more and more water between us and the last place boat, crossing the finish line a few minutes before them.