Cruiser Challenge Race Day (Part 2)

This is the second post about Cruiser Challenge 17 (2016) Race Day in Monterey Bay, CA, 23 July 2016.  For Part One on the Race Day CLICK HERE.


The Second Race –

Between the 1st and 2nd race I sailed a bit away from the start/finish line and conducted a hove-to test of the Sage 15 sloop.  With main sheeted to the leeward aft quarter, jib backwinded (ie, sheeted to windward) and tiller pushed to leeward, ASOLARE settled in about 60 degrees off the wind and side-slipped with a great ‘oil slick’ of water coming off the keel to the windward side.  She performed the maneuver much better than a Sage 17, Montgomery 17 or Montgomery 15.  I also found that with the tiller about 10 degrees to leeward the boat would far-reach some and ‘noddle’ along at a slow comfortable pace.

With ASOLARE hove-to I enjoyed my light lunch, used the head and watched boats finish the race and the Monterey scenery … including a large column of smoke from a forest fire.  The wind was increasing during lunch so I, and almost all the other boats still on the course, put a reef in the main.

The race committee sent out pre-start warnings over the radio and I headed for the start line.  I zigged and zagged finding  the side of the line I felt had the best line for the first tack.  The wind was really up and I was moving fast.  As a result of the high speed I ended up heading for the less favored side of the line and luffed to slowly approach and not go over early.  Dan and Dave B. (D&D) in SIX approached to my lee and we hit the line within seconds of each other (D&D or I may have been ahead … it was very close).

Off we headed toward the Monterey Marina.  I pulled away and was ahead of SIX by ten or so boat lengths upon reaching the breakwater.  I tacked and headed, I thought, on a good line for the windward mark.  AGAIN I made the same error as during race one and didn’t tack back in to the shore  meaning current and wind blew me away from the windward mark.  I definitely didn’t have my head in the Race.

About halfway through the windward leg most everyone shook out their reefed mains in moderating wind.  Yes the racers were focused on going fast!

I rounded the windward mark in only three tacks … seven minutes behind D&D who had kept to the shore and sailed a much shorter distance.

At the windward mark only SIX and ASOLARE were representing the small boats; all others had retired the race.  This time I nailed setting the whisker pole and ASOLARE surged forward off the wind.  Surfing the waves ASOLARE at times showed eight knots on the GPS!  I was gaining on SIX; but there was not enough distance to make up for my windward leg error.  After rounding the leeward mark and crossing the finish line D&D secured the regatta win with a five minute advantage.  Again, SIX sailed the better race and congrats to her excellent crew!

The results with finishing times are located on the Cruiser Challenge www-site. CLICK HERE to see the details. 

My next post about Cruiser Challenge XVII will cover details on how ASOLARE handled the windy conditions and high sea state.

– Dave

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