OCTOBER 31, 2017
THE LAST HURRAH OF THE SEASON
I love showing up to the harbor and seeing the flag on the Crow’s nest showing a stiff breeze. I had anticipated very little wind and a short night creating the conditions for a miserable race, but these fears dissolved when I saw the flag! My crew came and we left the harbor.
The question always comes up: great wind, but will it dissipate? On this night, in addition to sailing dice (sailing Pair A Dice), I decided to roll the dice and called for a rather ambitious course: Start, Wharf, finish with the finish line between Gov and the end of the wharf. With all boats out and ready, we started about 10 minutes early and gave a 5 minute horn at about 5:45.
We had about 10 boats out and on Pair A Dice, I wanted to start toward the end of the 10 boat length zone so we could be windward of the pack getting clean wind. We accomplished this, though it required a last minute tack, not a good move for approaching the line with speed. We had the whole fleet to our leeward, but ultimately Pacific Spirit was able to tack over in front of us and clear us. Kudos to Homer on Equinimity who saw that he was 4 seconds early over the line, did the honorable thing and went back to dip the line! On Pair a Dice we were on a good line and seemed to be sailing into more wind, we stayed on this tack out to the layline for wharf mark. Pacific Spirit and Equinimity were tacking back and forth further inside. Ultimately, our sailing to the corner (usually a bad move) worked out for us and we rounded Wharf just ahead of Pacific Spirit and Equinimity and Nidaris II.
In the run to Gov, the perils of an extemporaneous course call prevailed. Was the finish to be 5 boat lengths from Gov or was it the “line between end of the wharf and Gov”? Homer was first over the line, but Pacific Spirit was closer to Gov. All boats finished and it was a gorgeous sunset to boot.
We had a great barbecue at the club and celebrated the last hurrah of the season!
TACTICS, TO THE CORNER OR NOT?
Normally in racing, it is not a good idea to “sail to the corner”. The thought is to take advantage of headers and lifts by tacking up the center of the course. On this night we sailed to the corner because we saw that the seas were flat so we were not being stopped by waves. We also noted that the wind seemed to be increasing as we moved further out AND we seemed to be sailing into a lift. We overstood the layline a little, but made it up by not having to pinch to make the mark. Another consideration was that while the boats inside were searching for headers and lifts and more wind they had to tack several times, while we only tacked once when we were on the layline. It does not work often, but on this night it worked for us and we were first to the wharf mark.
THE PERILS OF THE EXTEMPORANEOUS COURSE:
This night was an example of why I love the course charts that Fred Molnar, Chris Hofmann and Don Radcliffe helped me design this year. On these course charts all situations are delineated. I am always checking the chart to make sure we “following the rules”. The impromptu course we called tonight was perfect for the time and conditions, but the “sailing instructions” were not there yielding to confusion.
I am very proud of our fleet and the progress everyone is making in their sailing. I have always said the quickest learning curve in sailing is achieved when you race! All of you have improved this year. I would encourage all of you to get a PHRF certificate (form available at the club), and participate in the Midwinter series of races put on by SCYC. The first day of racing is Saturday November 18. It is time for all of us to experience a real sanctioned race with a real start line.
SANTA CRUZ YACHT CLUB:
The SCYC is a prestigious yacht club without an intimidating initiation. I have been a member since 2009 and it has been very beneficial for me. The steps to membership are simple: two current members need to sign your application and $1000 gets you in. Since many of our group are members, getting two signatures should be no problem. Once a year the dues are only about $500. We have many sailing events, social events and learning seminars that make it well worth this minimal effort to join!
THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND PARTICIPATION THIS YEAR!
Sailing Pair A DIce