Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April 23, 2013

APRIL 23, 2013


It was a sunny beautiful day on the Monterey Bay and once again Sailing Pair A Dice leads the two other boats around the course NOT!  That was years ago, this is NOW.


On this night we came to the cold dank harbor.  The wind was blowing out of the northwest, but it was so chilly, even I was wondering “is this what I really want to do tonight?”.  Put on more clothing and get the boat ready!  As we left the harbor, there were already three boats out and two more following us out.  The participants this night were: Sailing Pair a Dice (PAD), Aeolian (A), Diver Down (DD), No Name 27 (NN), Free Spirit (FS), and Andiamo (AND).  We used the new course card that all of the boats had to set the course and with the wind, we decided on course two (Start, Wharf,Mile,GOV and finish).


With a port tack start heavily favored, all of the boats came in on port for the start except PAD, which all of the boats had to duck.  On PAD, we felt we had made the right choice because we thought we were getting in to better wind heading outside.  We were getting stopped by the bigger seas, so we tacked over and were running parallel to the fleet inside, maybe a quarter of a mile further out than the rest of the boats.  While  DD was roughly following our lead, the rest of the fleet was inside and had to tack out when they got to the wharf.  It was very apparent to PAD at that point that the gap between us was closing, as the inside fleet was getting lifted and we were getting headed.  PAD eventually tacked over to take advantage of the lift, at which point it was very apparent that FS was definitely in the lead.  Wharf was a very difficult mark to pass, with all of the boats needing to tack multiple times to round except A.  I have to hand it to Mark on A, though he had to pinch to make the mark, he rounded without having to tack which  gave A a substantial lead.   The rest of the fleet rounded just about in unison, then it was off to Mile, with a very tight group of boats, all trying to steal the wind of their competitors.  A was able to round Mile ahead of everyone else and, once again, the whole group rounded together just after A.  It was interesting with the different points of sail, how the boats ranked in speed.  To weather AND and the rest of us were dead even.  DD was waterlining all of us with good speed on all points.  Off the wind, on port tack, PAD was able to get a lead on AND and was just off of FS’s starboard quarter.  As we rounded GOV, PAD had inside overlap on FS and were able to get ahead after rounding GOV.  DD had rounded just ahead of us and just behind A, as we all marched toward the finish line.  Once again the winner was Aeolian, followed by Diver Down, then Pair A Dice, Free Spirit, Andiamo and No Name 27.  This night was the tightest grouping of boats I have seen on a Tuesday night, with No Name 27 coming in less than 5 minutes after Andiamo.  For this night we did not give No Name 27 a PHRF offset which could have placed her very near the front of the fleet!  What a great night, seeing everyone so tightly grouped together!


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It has been thrilling for me to see the fleet come together so well.  For all of the boats to be sailing so close to each other shows that all of us are bringing our game up.  All sailing is, is doing a thousand things just right!  Gone are the days when we could sneak up on another boat because they weren’t trimming their sails.  Being associated with the yacht club as many of us are, many of us know very good sailors and they are also getting involved, which ramps the game up even more.  Who would have ever thought that Catalina’s could be raced so competitively!


I am looking forward to seeing you all out there next Tuesday.



Barry Keeler

Sailing Pair A Dice


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