Cruiser Challenge Race Day (Part One)

Saturday 23 July 2016

The morning’s Captain’s Meeting covered the race course, rules (starboard over port, leeward of windward, give room at the mark, play nice), and the start sequence. Past years there had been a lot of challenges getting each race started do to confusion between the start boat and the fleets. This year each fleet has an assigned start time. For the Sage 15s this was the small boat fleet starting at 11:30am, race one, and 1:30pm, race two. Each race would be signaled with a 5-minute warning and then radio calls up to the start. No flags, no race course changes, and only limited use of horns.

captains meeting

Jerry Montgomery, on the right in the long sleeved white t-shirt, checks his racecourse notes during the Captains Meeting.

Once the meeting ended crews headed to their boats. I first went to a favorite sandwich shop to get lunch to be eaten on-board between race one & two. The sandwich shop had only disappointment … the cook had called out and there was no one to make my lunch. I made do with a bag of trail mix and jerky.

Once I arrived on ASOLARE I confirmed the cabin was set for racing and cast off.

Out of the marina I raised sail and headed for the start line. The wind was blowing 12-15kts and the ocean swell was up with additional 1′-2′ wind waves. I tacked around the start line to get a feel for the boat and sea and then headed towards the marina to meet Jerry in SageCat. Jerry the main up and was getting the outboard out of the water when I arrived. I sailed past and then tacked to match his course, a bit to his windward side.

SageCat was moving well with the single sail pulling hard. Then … BOOM! (yes, the rig made a boom sound.)

CLICK HERE to see the video of the mast going down.

Down went the mast. I luffed up and looked to see that Jerry was OK. He was sitting in the cockpit a shocked look on his face. I hailed him and he said he was unhurt and OK. I dropped sail and motored close to see how I could assist.

Jim ‘Goose’ Goseman(sic), the event coordinator, arrived on the scene in his modified Potter 19 and was talked with Jerry. Both turned to me and said, ‘we got this, go sailing!’

SageCat at Monterey

SageCat is in the center of the photo, right of the Potter 15 with the tanbark sail and to the left of the Potter 19 with the yellow hull.

At this point the 1st race is starting in five or so minutes and I quickly raised sail and headed for the start line.

I started about 10 seconds behind and to leeward Dan Phy in his Montgomery 15 SIX. During this leg I chased SIX down and reaching the Monterey Marina breakwater ahead, but to leeward, and tacked. I crossed SIX’s stern about thirty seconds later headed, I thought, on a good line for the windward mark.

In order to pass the windward mark I realized I needed to go a good distance to weather. Dan had a better line and reached the weather mark with a much shorter third and fourth tacks. I missed the mark on my third tack and needed a fourth and fifth to make the mark. I was about two minutes behind Dan.

Heading for the leeward mark I had some difficulty getting the whisker pole in place … single handing makes going forward off the wind challenging even with a TillerClutch to hold a course. Dan was sailing with Dave Bacon so they quickly set SIX’s sails for the downwind leg.

While heading down wind to the leeward mark I did well and gained back half the time I had lost when not clearing the windward mark in four tacks.  Clearing the leeward mark I executed a quick jibe and crossed the finish line one minute behind SIX.

Good sailing Dan & Dave B.!

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