The John Pitcher Memorial Regatta lived up to its reputation here at Coyote Pint. Today, Saturday March 3rd was a beautiful day for mermaids, girls in bikinis, but not so much for sailors NOT ENOUGH WIND! All the participants of the race want to thank Matt Neumann for volunteering Pineapple Girl II for race committee, along with Chuck Johnson and sidekicks Carly and pal, for spending the day on the water. Rumor is that we have pictures but they haven’t arrived by press time.
Winds were nonexistent at Noon so the race committee delayed the start by a half hour. The winds were light and flakey all day, so staying out of the wind holes was of critical importance. The race was a zig-zag course up and down the bay. We started at a temporary Z mark, the up bay with the ebb to A mark, followed by a spinnaker run to Channel marker 8 fighting the ebb, back up bay to Channel Marker 6 then finish at Z mark. The start was clean and all the boats got off the line in a reasonable fashion. The light air boats started the day extremely well. Mike Haddock, single handing Hot Ice did very well to the first mark, along with Luther and Mike Finn aboard Paradigm, Sea Biscuit, Mark Neumann, was sailing well. Sweet Grapes and Mist were behind but the day showed great promise. Rounding the mark and heading back down the bay, things began to spread out. Only two boats did it right and they crushed the field.
Most of the fleet cut back towards the airport trying to get the best boat speed in very light wind conditions. At one point downwind it seemed that Luther had run aground for the 3rd month in a row. A claim he vigorously denied at the bar this evening. Instead, he spent 30 minutes talking about the fine art of gibing an asymmetric spinnaker. Result of the story is that he sat dead in the water trying to unwrap his spinnaker from around the forestay. It only appeared he ran aground because he stopped moving. Fortunately for Luther, and unfortunately for the rest of the field, he and Mike fixed the problem then came back to finish second.
Going back to rounding the first mark, two boats took a different tact and that made all the difference. Joe Pratt skippering Ada Helen 2, along with Carrie decided that nothing could possibly induce them to sail a course which required a spinnaker gibe. So instead of heading towards the airport they blasted their way down the ship channel. Jack Verducci, Vita Bella, followed Joe and the rest, as they say, is in the history books. While the majority of the fleet struggled with patches of zero wind, Ada Helen and Vita Bella walked away from the field to victory in the Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker divisions, respectively.
Early leader Hot Ice faded with the downwind leg, clearly competing short handed makes it very difficult to compete against full crews. Zingara who did well on the first leg just is too heavy to do well in this very light air. At one point we saw 7 knots of breeze but by the time Sweet Grapes finished the wind was dying stranding the balance of the fleet. Rather than be late to cocktail hour these brave Coyote Point sailors changed priorities started their engines and headed in.
Memorable events of the day:
Torin lost a sail bag when it blew off the deck into the water. Fortunately Zingara’s crew Cody Lynch came to the rescue and fished it out of the drink.
Race committee asking Mike Haddock, who was single handing, to pick up the temporary mark on his way in. Recognizing the difficulty Mike would have, Zingara Once again,came to the rescue and recovered our mark. Thank you Jocelyn and Steve for your help.