Twenty score and sixteen years ago, our Fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all SAILORS are created equal. So in this spirit of nationalistic fervor Coyote Point Yacht Club hosted our 2012 Stars and Stripes Regatta. (My apologies to Abe but he is no longer in a position to complain about my plagiarism.)
Although totally lacking in super soakers and water balloons, the day was perfect. The skies were blue, the water flat, winds light building to moderate, less than 18 knots. Several skippers threw up their biggest headsails and not a reef was in slight.
Prior to the race, at the skipper’s meeting the input to the race committee, yours truly was:
- The race is too long, how are we going to make the Sequoia race in time?
- The race is too short.
- You should go to “6” first since it’s flooding.
- The birdcage is better first, since it’s flooding.
- We want a reaching course.
- No, we want an upwind downwind course.
- Sailing tradition is that all marks should be taken to port.
- Never have a course which overlaps.
As you can tell there is no way to herd these cats. So the course was a rabbit start, due to a lack of a true committee boat, to the birdcage, a reach to channel marker 6, a run dead down wind to 8, then head to weather to finish at the outer channel marker. All marks to be taken to starboard, a logical approach and a backwards compliment to Dave Few, Chablis IV who has missed the last few races. Skippers to record GPS time when crossing the outer channel marker. Only times delivered at the bar, post race, would be considered valid.
Well some things worked great, some just plain stunk. The absence of a committee boat forced a rabbit start which would have been great if the wind hadn’t chosen to drop below 5 knots at the start, that stunk. Liquid Asset, with the Regatta Chair at the helm, was the rabbit and exited the channel within 30 seconds of the 12:00 start time. As the wind eased it forced Liquid Asset to point down leaving Hot Ice and most of the fleet with no way to cross our stern. Vita e Bella & Rehydrator made a clean start but since no one had an advantage the rabbit tacked and the race was on.
The leg from Coyote Point to the Birdcage is directly windward under typical wind conditions and even though the wind wasn’t very strong it was coming from the normal direction. Given the low tide there were concerns about running aground as the fleet approach the birdcage. This was by far the longest and lowest speed leg of the course as we were fighting a flood current the entire way.
The entire fleet took a starboard tack up bay. Mist, Sweet Grapes and Hot Ice were pointing well and took an Easterly tack. Vita e Bella and Liquid Asset were more westerly. Luther came by to mess with the fleet. With the wind around 5 knots the fleet started moving but Rehydrator liked neither the heading nor the light wind conditions and was left behind. I saw the Santana 22 at the start but quickly became consumed with racing and lost track of them. It would take Matt Martell & Chuck Johnson, aboard Rehydrator, 1 hour 45 minutes to make the birdcage …… so much for the superiority of Cats, but then again there was no beer spilled aboard.
From my view at the back of the pack there were lots of boats fighting to make the birdcage. Sweet Grapes was neck and neck with Hot Ice. Mike Haddock dragged Steve the Cop off the dock as crew so that Linda could catch up on her reading. MIST, Vita e Bella and Paradigm were in the mix. The wind finally picked up to 15 knots and Liquid Asset made it around the birdcage in time to see the vanishing sails of the leaders rapidly approaching channel marker six. In a case of the Bermuda Triangle, MIST and Paradigm disappeared from the fleet. Luther wasn’t participating so I didn’t think anything of it. Keith & Robert obviously were getting schooled and must have decided to take their ball and go home. Since neither showed up at CPYC before closing to refute my versions of the facts, SO they have to live with their shame.
The leg from the birdcage to channel marker 6 was a beam reach, great speed but you had to stay above the mark as the current was quite strong on rounding. Crabbing to the mark hoping the wind would freshen was one of the only stress points on the day. Downwind from 6 to channel marker 8 was beautiful, warm, sunny, no chop, all female crew, wine, food …… oh yeah we’re was I? Well it was a glorious day!
The wind began kicking up on the final leg from channel marker 8 into Coyote Point but just enough to make it fun. After experiencing significant current crabbing around channel marker 6, I thought that making Coyote Point without a tack would be difficult. To my surprise, the currents had eased and we made the channel with ease to finish the race.
At the dock I found out that Sweet Grapes, in order to make the Moonlight Marathon race out of Sequoia, had abandoned our race by skipping the final mark, to earn a DNF on the day. Shame, as it would have made less than a 10 minute difference judging from the 2:06 finish time of Hot Ice. This was in order to pick up a crew member who then proceeds to call for a spinnaker hoist just before dinner was served with the usual disastrous consequences. Really Mark B., spilling beer and dinner is truly a party foul!
We even had some exciting racing towards the back of the fleet. Sail La Vie beat Rehydrator to the birdcage by a considerable amount but once the Cat got on the reaching and downwind legs the race was on. At the end Haro Bavandorian brought Sail La Vie in just seconds in front of the big cat for his first ever finish in a club race! Good Job!
Our Santana 22 entry took the Dave Few school of sailing i.e. “if you can see him, you’ve lost” by correcting out ahead of Rehydrator and Sail La Vie.
It was great to get some small boat participation and to see both Matt & Chuck out on the water.
Finish Time – Corrected Time
1. Hot Ice 14:06:30 – 14:07:14
2. Vita e Bella 14:16:45 – 14:15:42
3. Liquid Asset 14:48:14 – 14:17:02
4. Day Spring 14:48:14 – 14:19:10
5. Sail La Vie 14:37:55 – 14:24:29
6. Rehydrator ( PHRF 150?) 14:38:23 – 14:27:04
8. MIST & Sweet Grapes DNF
Lastly, our prayers to a speedy recovery of two club members who are having a rough time. David Few and Brad Jones. Our thought and prayers are with you.
- Jim Manishin, Regatta Chair