Friday, July 5, 2013

Catalina Tuesdays: Sailing Santa Cruz July 2, 2013 MEA CULPA

Tuesday July 2, 2013


Finally, we had a night with wind and no fog. Those Laser sailors really missed the best of Santa Cruz conditions by only one week. There was not even a hint of an Easterly beginning and therefore, there were no transition zones to deal with. We decided to use course #1 with a start time of 6:10 with Iris starting 2 minutes earlier. On Sailing Pair A DIce, we decided a port tack start would be best and further from the start mark being better than right at the start mark. Watching Iris take the same approach confirmed our thoughts that this would be the best approach.

We were early to the line and had to stall and run the line and harden up for the start, with Diver Down on our starboard quarter. Pacific Spirit started right at the mark, so they were about 4 boatlengths to windward and behind us, but slowly closing the gap. My goal on this run was to pinch up, without loosing speed to steal their wind. I kept the Jib inside telltale almost flying straight up without loosing much speed. With the help of the flat seas, I was able to accomplish my goal and Pacific Spirit had to roll us to leeward. As we tacked for Wharf mark, Pacific Spirit was ahead of us,but lower. Iris had sailed further inside and may have fallen into a hole (of less wind). On the way to Wharf, Pacific Spirit was able to roll us to windward just as we approached the mark and Diver Down was breathing down both of our necks. We rounded Wharf just behind Pacific Spirits and followed by DIver Down. On the way to Mile, DIver Down passed us, as I cheered them on: "go gettem Vance", hoping she could do something to slow Pacific Spirit down. We all rounded Mile with Pacific Spirit, DIver Down and Pair a Dice in quick succession. Pacific Spirit and Diver Down left a little inside room at Mile and we were able to slip inside, between the mark the their boats. In the progression to Blacks, all three boats were in a dead heat, with PAD somehow sandwiched between Pacific SPirit to windward and DIver Down to leeward. PAD finally made a move and quickly got to windward of Pacific Spirit, which stole their wind and they immediately fell behind. Then it was PAD and Diver Down neck in neck and in very close quarters. Our boom over the SB side and their whisker pole over their port side were like dueling swords, though never quite touching. I was steering from the rail, like I am prone to do and sensed that we were getting very close so attempted to compensate, but "compensated" in the wrong direction! With my back toward Diver Down, I was clueless until I heard Vance scream "heh, heh, HEH!". They immediately compensated for my dumb error, which really caused them to fall behind.

Let it be known, Sailing Pair A DIce is not perfect, we pay attention to details and we do well, but we do make our share of mistakes. The sound of two boats colliding is abhorrant to me, thank God, Vance was able to clear us without a collision. One big lesson for me from this incident: WHEN IN CLOSE QUARTERS, STEER FROM BEHIND THE WHEEL. This prevents the confusion of turning the wheel up or down and also gives better vision of your proximity to the other boat. Mea Culpa.

This also showed me, that you can have better tactics (setting up for an inside overlap at the mark and passing boats to windward) and mess up and lose a race. The proper thing for me to do would have been a 2 turn penalty after not yielding proper right of way. A two turn penalty was not even in my thought process at the time, I was so embarassed with my stupidity. In our discussions at Johnnies after the race, it became apparent to me that this would have been the proper thing to do. This race was definitely won by DIver Down with Pacific Spirit second. Way to go guys and gals!

We will see you all next Tuesday!,

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