Sunday, May 7, 2017

May 2, 2017: Inside, Outside

MAY 2, 2017
When I approached the harbor I could see that an easterly wind was working very well.  Once crew issues were sorted out, we headed out and the prediction was that the wind would not die so we chose the longest East wind course: Start, Blacks, Mile, Gov and finish at start.  We gave a 5 minutes to start horn and everyone set up for their start.

There were several boats that were early to the line and had to run the line to not be OCS.  Hats off to our vice commodore, Joe Altmann on Rosie for being closest to the pin and an excellent start. Pair A Dice was leeward of Pacific Spirit and Homer was also out in front.  Getting bad wind, we could not point very well and had to tack over to round Blacks.  Kicks was sailing directly to the mark in clear wind.  Equinamity and Pacific Spirit were first around Blacks followed quickly by Kicks and Pair a Dice.

On the long slog to mile, most boats were bucking waves which were directly on the bow.  On Pair A Dice we set the pole and tried sailing slightly below the line to Mile. As I observed the boats with waves on their bow, it was apparent that lighter boats took waves better than heavier boat.  Lighter boat glided up and over waves while heavier boats were at a stand-still.   At mile Equinamity and Pacific Spirit rounded very close to each other.  It was a relief to be on a better point of sail toward Gov.
By the time Equinamity rounded Gov they had quite a lead on Pacific Spirit and the rest of us.  On the way to Gov, Pair a Dice was slowly closing the gap with Pacific Spirit.  As soon as Equinamity rounded Gov, they headed outside thinking more wind was outside.  Pacific Spirit headed further in toward the beach, as we did.  “How far shall we go in?” someone queried on Pair a Dice.  “Clear to the rocks” was the reply from the helmsman.  We all tried different tactics to find more wind.  As it turns out the boats that stayed inside found more wind than the ones that stayed outside. At the finish it was Pacific Spirit, Equinamity, Pair A Dice, Nidaris (Santana 30), Perfect 36, Kicks and Aeolian.

Dealing with waves:

Waves are a fact of life in Santa Cruz.  How you deal with them has a direct effect on your performance.  When Pair A Dice took a lower line than the other boats, we were thinking of improving our performance by using our whisker pole.  We may have done better on this point of sail by taking the wave at a different angle.

Finding the wind:

On this night there were huge gains made by reading the wind correctly.  We are sail boats: it is critical to be in the most wind available. How do you tell where the most wind is?  You can always look at the surface of the water looking for darker water.  You can observe how the flags are flying on the Crows Nest and casino and the wharf. As far as direction of the wind (are we headed for a header or a lift), you can look at anchored boats which are always pointed directly into the wind, unless strong currents are at play.
See you on Tuesday for another night of fun.

Barry Keeler

Sailing Pair A Dice. 

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