Warm and Sunny Who’ld Have Thunk?
What is it about sailboat racing that is so addictive? I really have no clue as Saturday’s club race could have been dull BUT this is Coyote Point and rarely are things all that they seem. The winds were light, the sky overcast and the weather cool. Luther and Torin were off chasing single handed dreams ( that really doesn’t sound right, does it? ) while the rest of the fleet prepared to do battle. What I meant to say is that Luther “Paradigm” our series leader, and Torin “Jet Lag” currently 3rd, were sailing in this weekends Single Handed Sailing Society race.
A new entrant emailed in his entry page prior to the race, Haro Bayandorian, of Sail La Vie, a Catalina 36 Mk II. Haro told me he has been at Coyote Point for seven years but hasn’t yet joined the yacht club. We missed him at the post race wrap up meeting, AKA, the bar, after the race but hope to see him again soon. If you see him on the docks say hello.
The day started out well with good attendance at the skippers meeting. After the traditional argument over whether the Regatta Chair has the rights to mess up everything within his area: the course, the type of race, which way to round the marks, etc …. All valid questions but since this is not a democracy and no one else is willing to herd the CPYC cats, the Regatta Chair got his way.
What was agreed on was an 11.8 mile course out to channel marker “6”, which is across from the airport, over to the birdcage, down to “8” and back to CP. Three boats were in the spinnaker class: Sweet Grapes, MIST and Vita Bella. Kudos to Captain Jack for flying his chute! Three boats were in the Non-spinnaker Division: Zingara, Hot Ice and Sail La Vie.
This month’s race format was a pursuit race. Which sends the slow boats out first and theoretically ally boats finish at the same time. All boats had start times ranging from noon to 12:30 and the winds were 4-5 knots. The sun cleared, the water was flat, all the boats were moving leisurely into a flooding current as we clawed our way towards the first mark. It was agreed that if the first boat did not make the first mark by 2:00 PM the course would be shortened. We just barely made it! Most boats took a western track hugging the shore trying to get out of the current. Sweet Grapes chased the wind line towards the east.
Personally, I thought three boats had an advantage: MIST, Hot Ice and Sweet Grapes due to the conditions. It looked like I was correct when Hot Ice, being single handed by Mike Haddock, marched past most of the field to the west and when he tacked towards the mark was easily ahead of Sweet Grapes. At “6”, the first mark, Hot Ice was leading the fleet by at least 20 boat lengths. Mike would have had an even bigger lead but had to “crab” to get around “6” as the current was flowing strongly at the mark.
MIST had decided not to fly their 150 due to its decrepit condition and flew a 110 jib instead, which was not enough to power the boat in the light air, they faded to the rear of the pack. Zingara and Vita Bella, both heavy weather boats were handicapped by the light conditions and were well back at the first mark. Sail La Vie will have to mail in a report since I could not see where they were in the field.
From “6” to the bird cage was a reach and Sweet Grapes made some ground on Hot Ice. We were right on his tail at the rounding. But Hot Ice went wing on wing rounding the mark and Sweet Grapes took our time getting our spinnaker flying ( you would never think that this was a race? Errrrrr). Hot Ice built the lead back to 15 boat lengths by the time Sweet Grapes started to pick up speed. It might have been a Hot Ice day but the wind began to build to 12-15 knots and the spinnaker boats began to move up in the fleet.
Don’t you love it when you begin to hear the water bubbling off the transom as the boats begin to pick up speed! Best part of sailing. But I digress…. –
Hot Ice got passed going downwind. Vita Bella started to close the gap on the leaders. Zingara started moving well as the conditions turned in her favor. MIST, well they do have the best looking spinnaker in the fleet BUT today was not their day.
Sweet Grapes gybed their spinnaker and main before “8” and was set to simply harden up for the final upwind leg. The final leg from “8” to CP is always fun as the winds build because of the transition from downwind to hard to weather is always such a shock. Sweet Grapes with a crew of six was set up for this but Mike Haddock was fighting for control as the winds built.
The first, and only, reported injury of the day occurred when the person manning the pit aboard Sweet Grapes failed to secure the spinnaker halyard to a winch before opening the clutch. Can we say rope burns anyone? Now you know why this report is taking so long to type. But heck, we were winning so I guess that makes it worth it.
The final order of finish, hopefully correct as certain skippers neither reported in nor bought beers:
Sweet Grapes, 1st spinnaker
Hot Ice, 1st non spinnaker
Vita Bella, 2nd spinnaker
Zingara, 2nd non spinnaker
Mist, 3rd spinnaker
Sail La Vie , last seen at the skipper’s meeting ……..
What started out as a cold day turned out to be a delightful, sunny, warm sail.
Thank you to Former Commodore Steve for helping to set the start line with Ex “Beer Wench”, now “Golfer” Liz. A sarcastic thank you to skipper Mark Green for pulling in the temporary mark then retrieving the boat hook which he dropped in the drink while retrieving the former.
A special thank you to Vice Commodore Chuck for taking OD duties post race while your Regatta Chair went home to crash with his grievous injuries.
For those of you who sit home on a Saturday night instead of frequenting your favorite yacht club, shame on you! Bring something to Bar-B-Que and come join the festivities. We don’t bite much and would really love to see y’all……..
Jim Manishin, Regatta Chair