Wednesday, May 15, 2013

MAY 14, 2013

Another Tuesday, will there be wind?   As we left the harbor, there were rumors of an Easterly blowing just an hour or so earlier, but all we could see was a north-westerly that was attempting to fill in to the inside.  After four defeats, Sailing Pair a Dice needed a win.  We decided on  course 4 with a start of 6:10, everyone was in agreement.  Our problem on Pair A Dice was we were too far from the start buoy to make a proper start and by 6:10  we were about 30 seconds late to cross the line, but everyone was stuck in the predicament of trying to get their boat moving in the light northwesterly with the chop right on the nose, stopping us every time we got any forward momentum.  It was a real struggle, with Aeolian and us fighting our way outside to where there was some wind. We find it best , when faced with a swell on the nose, to crack off a bit so you can take the waves at an angle.  This prevents them from stopping us.  You never get this discussion in sailing magazines, since many races are on smooth, lake waters.  I often say that, when racing in Santa Cruz, what you do with waves will lose or win races.  We all tacked our way toward wharf and ultimately Aeolian and PAD ended up there at the same time.  PAD with an inside overlap (Rule 18.3) at the 3 boatlength zone had rights to room at the mark.  We immediately both started our move toward Gov, with PAD trying to climb on top of Aeolian to steal their wind.  Finally we succeeded and with our greater pole length, were able to extend our miniscule lead over Aeolian.   We were feeling rather smug about this until we noticed Andiamo rounding wharf rather late and using the outside wind to work their way East to a narrow transition zone, while we were stuck in the doldrums.  One by one, all of the boats were getting frustrated with these flukey conditions and started going in, so it was Andiamo and Pair a Dice fighting it out to the finish.  Man it is a long distance from GOV to start and on this night, it seemed like start was a mirage, way off in the distance, as both boats attempted to use each lift and header to their advantage, inching our way to start.  Finally, we were both on port tack making our way up to the SB tack layline.   PAD tried to use every wave to steer closer to the mark and was closing the wide gap between ANdiamo and PAD.  Finally, at the SB tack layline, we had converged and were right next to ANdiamo.  When we tacked, we were directly behind Andiamo.  With their bad wind, we slowly fell behind and came in about 2 boatlengths behind them at the finish mark.  We love tight races.  

Lessons Learned:

Don’t get blinded by your closest competitor.  We were so focused on rolling Aeolian, we didn’t see the wind outside that let Andiamo get ahead of us.  It was a brilliant move Andiamo made and all of us on PAD were envious of their position.   As an afterthought, on the final SB tack layline to the finish mark, we should have sailed a boatlength or two further.  We could have avoided the bad wind and possibly fallen off to steal their wind.   It was all good, because we love tight races, its what keeps us alive and craving to learn more!

Please note,

I will be gone for the next two weeks on vacation, but the crew will take PAD out and hopefully win a few in my absence.  The absence of a blog and recaps does NOT stop Catalina Tuesdays and a good time. 

Sail on and Fair winds!

Barry Keeler

Sailing Pair A Dice (PAD)

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