AUGUST 15, 2017
Checking the Predict Wind web site through the day, it was apparent we were going to have wind. Approaching the harbor confirmed there was a strong northwesterly blowing and we changed down to our 135 jib in anticipation. There was no hint of the wind dying or changing so we optimistically chose the longest course for this direction of wind W1: Start, Wharf, Mile, Blacks finish. We gave a 5 minute horn at 5:55 for a 6 o’clock start.
Pair A Dice was a little early to the line and had to stall to not be OCS but eventually started on SB tack right at the Buoy. In this position we had several boats slightly to windward of us and had to stay on this tack until the other boats had tacked over. Meanwhile several boats had started on Port tack to take advantage of the smoother water inside. Ultimately the inside boats prevailed and rounded Wharf first. At wharf Sagitarius was first followed by Pacific Spirit, Perfect 36 and Pair A Dice.
It was an easy reach to Mile and as we rounded Mile we set the pole for the run to Blacks. We were a stone’s throw from the stern of Perfect 36 but despite our best efforts (and wishes) we could not catch them and they rounded Blacks just ahead of us.
At the finish it was Sagitarius, Pacific Spirit, Perfect 36, Pair A Dice, Aila (Beneteau 32), Andiamo (good job Katie!), Aeolian, Kicks, Toad and Nidaris II.
CHOOSING THE BEST TACK:
It is common knowledge in racing circles to sail the longest tack first; sailing closer to the mark. In Santa Cruz most boats will get on port tack as soon as possible trying to capitalize on the lift experienced on the approach to wharf mark after tacking toward it. This port tack also has flatter seas, taking waves on the beam rather than on the bow. Also, frequently there is a westerly flowing current that is stronger toward shore which helps also. It takes some unusual circumstances to overcome these advantages.
Many people realize you should steer a boat in a straight line as much as possible when racing. I originally thought this made sense simply because a straight line is a shorter distance. This is true, but when you think of the foils that pull the boat forward over the course, anything that disturbs the flow of air and water over these foils will slow your progress. The sails are one big foil and when going to weather, the flow of air on the outer edge of this foil pulls the boat forward. The thought is that while going to weather for every pound of pressure pushing on the windward part of the sail there are 5 pounds of pressure on the leeward side pulling the boat along. The same foil effect is working below the water line as the water flows around the foils under the water: Keel and Rudder. If your steering is erratic, it only serves to destroy the smooth flow around these foils. It is the undisturbed flow that is most efficient in propelling the boat forward. Using the Race QS app on your cell phone and watching the results on a computer is a perfect way to tell how you are doing in your steering.
Next weekend is another regatta. The first part of the regatta is on Saturday starting with the double end regatta. Boats will start in both Santa Cruz and Monterey and sail around a buoy out in the middle of the bay then sail in to Moss Landing harbor. After this race on Saturday, the first race of the fall Santa Cruz SCORE series will be the race from Monterey to Santa Cruz. This should be a very fun regatta. Check out specifics on SCYC.org under regattas.
See you next Tuesday.
Sailing Pair A Dice