Finally, it was time to get started. Our IRC 45 class had a good mix of competition, including a King 40, Farr 40, Swan 42, and a J/133. With a building southwesterly setting up for the first afternoon of the race, we were concerned that the sprit boats would have an advantage. Fortunately, our IMX 45 was carrying both symmetric and asymmetric spinnakers. With any luck, our A-sail would help us hold off the sprit boats until the wind really came up and we could square back and hoist a symmetric kite. The start was almost a non-event. Our class was evenly spread down the line, and soon everyone was finding their own lane. Our goal was to try to sail in mid Long Island Sound, where we believed we would find the best wind and current. Just below us was the Swan 42 Orbit. She would be a good test of our speed, as we figured out the best pole height and angle to optimize the new asymmetrical kite. In our own little match race, we'd gain a few lengths, only to have Orbit claw them back. As we fought it out, the other competitors were falling back. The game was only broken by a tug and barge. Not wanting to be caught in its wind shadow, we sailed above it, while Orbit went below. On our own for the first time, we made our first mistake of the race. Feeling good sailing slightly higher and faster, we soon found ourselves too close to Long Island and in a hole. As we desperately tried to gybe back to mid Sound, all of our competition sailed away. The gains made in the first hours of the race were gone. Heroes to zeros. The only bright side was that we passed them once and there was a lot of racecourse to pass them again. We just needed to be smarter.