JULY 9, 2013
It seems like our Catalina Tuesdays is finally getting some recognition and more boats seem to be participating. As all of our proficiencies improve, our starts seem to be getting more intense with the line getting very crowded. Additionally we are attracting new to Catalina Tuesdays, very competitive sailors which increases pressure on all of us to improve our game. This improvement in all of our abilities has been a goal of mine for a long time and I thank each boat and crew for their participation.
On this night, we had an excellent Easterly breeze blowing and decided on the Start, Blacks, SC3, start course. We had problems with our GPS and finally decided to use a horn signal at 5 minutes, 1 minute and at the start, which seemed to work well. On Pair A Dice, we did not geta a good start and ended up in the foul wind of Diver Down and Pacific Spirits on the way to Blacks. We tried to fall off to increase our speed and clear our air. This tactic normally works if used against boats of equal speed, but did not seem to work well in this case because the other boats were moving so well. We rounded Blacks behind most of the other boats and watched as they started their march to SC3, increasing their lead on us. We were really studying the conditions: "what could we do to improve our position?" We studied the wind on the water versus the other boats and noticed that all of the boats ahead of us were standing straight up, they had all sailed into a hole and there was more wind inside, so we tacked back in to the kelp line again. In order to round the mark, we had to return to the transition zone that was forming around it. As we were approaching the mark, the Jib didn't seem to be doing much good, flopping back and forth, so we furled it for a few minutes to let the wind sort itself out and we ghosted around the buoy.
The next dilemna was inside or outside? Would the Easterly fill in stronger than the northwesterly? We decided to go to the kelp line hoping for the Easterly, as the other boats were rounding the mark, the westerly seemed stronger outside and they all stayed in the westerly. We thought we had made the wrong choice, until we saw a boat inside further towards the finish mark heeled way over. In these conditions, the race is never over until you cross the line ahead of your competitors. On this night our "inside gamble" worked out well. Pacific Spirit came in second and Diver Down got third. In my opinion, this kind of night is when lighter boats often do better than longer waterline boats, since it takes more wind to move the larger mass.
I am looking forward to see you all out there next Tuesday.
Our next night that we can use the yacht club for an after race barbecue is July 23.