Heres my two cents worth on the Anacapa tripoint race put on by the PBYC.
Thanks to all of the attending fleet 42 members for an unforgettable weekend! Manny, thanks for the very nice accommodations and the great partnership on the water!
Jim and Julianne, Jonathan and Scott, Pete B, John S , Bob and Bob and company, Lee and David and Reesa, thanks for the competition on the water and the conversation on terra firma.
And thanks to PBYC FOR PUTTING ON A GREAT RACE!
Thanks to Lee and David for giving us something to point the boat at the majority of the race.
I’ve got a couple additional comments.
When we went in to the awards ceremony after the race and Richard C asked me why the hell no one protested anyone at the cluster £û€¥ that sufficed for a start. I told him that I didn’t realize that there was anyone else but me at the start!
And then here comes Martinez back through the line because he was over by about 10 seconds. If your racing Bob, and he asks you if you need a start watch, tell him NO.
So off we went. Lee and David out in front, of course. And up goes that blue chute! So Manny an I watched for a while to see how Lees boat would react. He had to fall off a few degrees for a little while, and wasn’t gaining too much, so we decided to keep ours in the bag to Gina.
As we rounded Platform Gina(oil rig), we ended up a couple hundred yards behind Lee and David so we started putting the Coon Toon on the rig. Oh, and we threw 270# of Manny’s arse on the wire . I started hiking HARD while still on the hull when the rig powered up. I kept telling Manny, “They’re getting bigger! They’re getting bigger!” Three times on the way out to the island, my lee rudder popped up, so with Manny on the wire running the chute, I handed him the tiller and, three times, crawled across the tramp to re set the rudder. I finally gave up and left the port rudder trailing, hoping that it wouldn’t break the head off.
I guess I need to work a little more on the rudders.
Also, as if this weren’t enough to deal with, at about this point, as we were screaming along, a freaking walrus, or sea lion, or other huge semi sea going thing of large mass, appeared right between the bows. It took one look at us and dove out of site. I looked over to the lee dagger board, expecting to see it take a quick sternward movement as it hit the diving beast, re locating my daggerwell. …… NOTHING. We somehow missed him. Or he missed us.
The backside. What a backside. A Slow game of chess.
Lee and David took the inside route, Manny and I got frustrated with that pretty quick and took the outside, away from the island. All of the smaller boats were still back a ways so we went on trying to get past the other I20 on The course. I don’t think we ever did get in front of Lee and David. We never stayed in close to the island, we tried to catch some breeze, off shore but within 1/2 mile. I was hoping that the current would not be bad within that distance. I dont know if it helped or hurt. By the time we neared west end of the island, the fleet had compacted a bit. Some, way too close!
When we got to the West end of Anacapa, we could see the wind line coming across in front of us. We watched as two big Monos that were right in front of Lee and David, reached the wind line, heeled over, and took off. First one… Then the other… And hen the Gumbee Green cat, off like a shot. And there we sat, 50 yards from the wind line as Lee and David ran up to the tip of the island, turned north, and just as they went out of site, up goes that blue chute. We were trying to stay in front of all of the other smaller cats that were slowly creeping up behind us, and they were getting a little to close for comfort!
SERIOUSLY??!!SERIOUSLY???!!! AND WE’RE STILL SITING HERE WITH NOTHING?!! …Not for long.
We finally hit the wind line and headed to the western tip of Anacapa, about 1/4 mile away. Rounded to the north, and were off, the waves were huge, but I got out on the wire while helming and sheeting the main, and Manny ran the chute up the mast. Manny got to the back corner, I got into the foot strap on the transom and hooked on the chicken line. BTW, we looked for Lee and David out in front of us and they were no where to be seen! $!-!]+ !
We ran the chute for about 5 minutes and BAM! A loud bang and the chute haulyard came loose in the swivel cleat at the base of the mast. Manny jumped across and ran the spin back up and re cleated, jumped back to the back corner, and sheeted in. BAM! Again! This time, we took a little closer look at the swivel cleat, and noticed that it had bent up at a 90* angle. This meant that the halyard wouldn’t stay in the cleat. Which meant no chute. We didn’t know if Lee and David had their chute up or not. We pressed on under main and jib. Manny running sheets, me on trap, strap and tiller.
I don’t think the chute would have done us any good anyway. The waves were huge, and the wind was howling. We stuffed the lee bow of the I20 to the main beam at least a half dozen times! She barely slowed down. Alternately, when we crested the waves, the rear beam would get swamped, sometimes stopping us almost dead in our tracks. Manny was sent flying toward the front of the boat at least a couple of times. Other sets would nearly sweep my feet off the side of the boat, and yet others would hit me in the hip, so hard that at one time, I ended up hanging onto the tiller, with my foot in the footstrap at the stern, chicken line attached, and I was hanging off the transom facing outboard doing a spread eagle move that I never want to attempt again. I fought my way back to my normal position with both feet on the side of the boat, and we continued on. Manny constantly adjusting his position and actively running the sheets.
I don’t know about Manny, but I was getting pummeled by the waves,The spray coming off the from the bows smacking me in the face and eyes every time we crashed over another wave. My eyes were so sore and stinging from constantly wiping the spray out of them, I finally just quit wiping them and just drove on with blurred vision.
About 1/2 way through the final leg, we rolled by one of the big monos. The rail meat watched as we flew by, spray shooting everywhere. We were looking awesome!
More of the same till we got back to Ventura. Huge waves and great wind all the way back. I checked my GPS, we hit a top speed of 21.6mph. not sure where because i erased my track before I got a chance to load it on my computer. I think it may have been on the upwind to the island. We were glad to be back and out of those monster waves. I was beat. What a race!
10 cats on the start line, more than any other fleet.
BTW, A little bird told me that we will have a New and highly coveted trophy to race for next year for this race. Hmmmm, what could it be?
CAN’T WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR!!
BTW, Lee, thanks for the new pole. I would like to just leave it at that.
Thought I would also share a recap of the Tri Point Ocean race. First …why did I not buy a bigger boat and do this race sooner??? This long distance race around Anacapa Island is an absolute blast!!!!
F42 members drove to Ventura arriving Thursday evening, ready to set up and practice Friday morning. Scott and Katy drove their RV, while Manny, Julianne, Jim and Brett “RV-Pooled” with a double stack trailer for Jim’s F18 and Brett’s I20. Bob Videan drove from AZ with his son, towing their Prindle 18-2. Thursday evening, a marine layer rolled in, substantially limiting visibility, and as Friday morning began, it was slow to burn off, leaving us time to catch up with friends and leisurely assemble our cats. Lee Wicklund set a new standard for crew performance, having his crew tow his Inter 20 for 28 hours from Texas, and then assemble it before his arrival. His crew, David Cerdes, is an exceptional young man in his senior year of high school, who has been sailing with Lee for some time, and has become quite an accomplished sailor.
I purchased a new Go Pro to video the race, but after putting the mast up without the GoPro, and then using a ladder on the trampoline to secure it to the mast (without the wireless on), we decided to make Rocky Point the first video event.
Friday afternoon we made it on the water and out to the start area for a couple hour sail. Winds were solid, and waves were in check, though one person not to be named (it wasn’t me) was feeling a bit sea sick. The marine layer never burned off fully Friday, so visibility was limited, and it was fun when Scott’s GPS started to give us multiple conflicting readings. We were doing a bit of guessing on how to get back but made it in just fine. This lesson on how to get back to the harbor paid dividends on Saturday during the race. Next time I’ll also have a digital waterproof compass!
Skippers meeting was at 8:30am Saturday, with a start for the catamarans at 11:20am. Winds were extremely light in the harbor and the wind was coming directly from the harbor entrance, so we had a line up of boats tacking back and forth to get out to sea. Once out of the harbor the winds picked up, and grew steadily over the day.
The race started promptly at 11:20am, and Scott Agan and I seemed well positioned for the start, except we had the timing sequence off by one minute (late) and had to scramble to the line. Thanks to Bob Videan for sharing the timing to start with us! Not surprisingly, Lee Wicklund timed the start perfectly and took the lead immediately, and we were also staring at the back of Jim’s F18, Brett’s Inter-20 and Bob Videan’s P18-2 for most of the first beam reaching leg up to the oil rig Gina. As we approached Gina, Scott and I must have made some adjustments that worked, because we put the afterburner on and from that point to reaching Anacapa, screamed past many of the other boats, including most of the monohulls (some of which looked liked they were standing still).
As we reached the east side of Anacapa, the two Inter 20s were within sight, but well ahead. Winds were extremely light on the back side of Anacapa, with shifting conditions and occasional puffs. The eventual winner from the cat class, Bob Martinez, sailed these conditions perfectly in his Dart 18 catamaran. The shape and size of Anacapa proved to be very misleading from the water, and a tack “out to sea” followed by a wind shift and another tack, put us in a position where I think we sailed to the same spot twice (that’s what the GPS says). Many of the boats we had passed before the island gained and some passed, though we made up some of the distance over the couple of hours it took to eventually clear Anacapa. The slow sailing behind Anacapa also gave us time for a brief food and drink recharge.
As we cleared Anacapa, winds immediately picked up to 15-20, and we basically took a straight route back to the harbor, 18 nautical miles away. Many of the boats, including the monohulls, sailed a broader reach, while we took a more beam reach route, reaching speeds exceeding in 20MPH in waves of 5-6 feet+. My new sail was cut too long, making it impossible to downhaul the main, so keeping the hull down was a work out and a challenge. We had some high adrenaline deep hull burying and a more than a few crashing waves to keep it exciting the entire way back.
Out of 30 boats, we finished 5th across the line (12 seconds slower than 4th) in a time of 4 hours, 47 minutes, and placed 5th of the 10 catamarans after Portsmouth. For the 4th time out on the Prindle 19, and our first time sailing together, Scott and I were both very pleased.
The PBYC fleet members were extremely gracious hosts and we enjoyed an awards ceremony, drinks and a meal back at their clubhouse Saturday evening.
For others in the fleet, my only regret is that I didn’t sail this event in years past. Hope to see you there in 2014, and on the water evern sooner!!!
A good night’s sleep finds us up and with an exploded trailer tire to replace. If we can get the spare resolved this morning, we won’t have to worry about it over the weekend- e.g. Sunday when we leave. I run to a couple of local places without success, and sit in a parking lot searching on my phone for not-so-local resolutions. Bill’s Trailer Parts in Ventura has a one-stop solution at a good price, and he is not far from the harbor. Yippee! I swing by Bob’s to grab the boat, and oh yeah, Cutter, and we head to the harbor to leave the boat with the resident AZ Fleet 42 folks in the dock parking lot. Our tire purchase is close and quick, so we find ourselves talking stories with the other AZ folks while we build our boats. Jonathon Magick has a new to him Prindle 19, and is curious about the stock jib block arrangement on my cat. It has been simplified on his cat, which is a common occurrence. He and Jim Tomes set to recreating it on his 19 with Amsteel and some blocks.
We raise the mast and begin to do some maintenance, setting the adjustments we cannot change on the water, for the anticipated weather- light wind. Cutter and I are about 30 pounds heavy for this catamaran, and because we are sailing in the waves, we need power from our sails. We set the mast upright to catch more wind, tighten our diamond stays to keep the mast from bending and removing draft from the sail and make a mental note to tie the battens a little tighter than usual to induce more draft in the mainsail. We reset the trapeze dog bones so that when Cutter is in the lower hole he is just above flat level with the decks/trampoline. This setting is best for maximum control, but requires that he hold the jib sheet all the time because he cannot cleat it from this position. The waves might require him to be in the upper hole to keep above getting tea-bagged by each wave (as in dunked in the water). This position also allows him to cleat the jib sheet and reach the barber-hauler. We test out the adjustable rear trap setup and realize that it requires a different technique to get out and back in. I have faired and rebuilt the tips on my rudders back to original specs (they are 25 years old…) and repaired my centerboards as well. All looks good, except for the fog that is rolling in… Who ordered that?
We hit the water about 4 PM and spend about an hour testing our settings and adjustments. Cutter exclaims that he had forgotten how much fun the trapeze is! The ocean is cold, 65° F and the waves roll by every 8 seconds. Wind speed is 6-ish knots and the waves top off at about 2.5 feet. Cutter’s borrowed short-sleeved wetsuit seems warm enough to him, and I am toasty in my drysuit. We come back in and realize that we need to go to Bob’s house in Fillmore to change clothes and meet the group at a local harbor restaurant for seafood dinner. We arrive late to find that they are adventurous and have ordered from all over the menu- calamari, shrimp, halibut and lobster. Bob Martinez and John Schwartz are also in attendance. Bob is a two-time winner of the race, on two different cats I might add, and John is the guy who talked Pierpont Bay Yacht Club into allowing beachcats (eighteen feet or longer) into the regatta seven years ago. Cutter and I opt for the cod and chips, which we know to be great.
We get up early to make breakfast at Carrows in Ventura to talk trash with/about the other multi-hullers. The camaraderie is high and the jabs fly back and forth. Lee Wickland shows, having arrived by plane the night before. His crew, David Cerdas, a high school senior, drove Lee’s boat from Galveston Texas with his sister Reesa- a 22 hour trip. Sis is going to crew for John Schwartz on his Inter 20.
We get to skipper’s meeting early and find that we will be an 11:20 start, so we plan to hit the water by 10 AM. The forecast says 5 to 8 knots of wind and fog. They are correct. We get the cat together without incident and leave the dock at 10:10. The fog is clearing to a couple miles visibility, but still thick. As we get past the harbor mouth, the wind dies. Déjà vu. Last year the same thing happened and we started 26 minutes late. This year I have a paddle and use it for the next 50 minutes, with Cutter at the tiller on the gradually increasing wind. I sit on the front crossbar, straddling the hull and paddle on the waves as they pass. We are on a close reach to fetch the staring area, and I am impressed that Cutter sails so well by the jib over the waves. We check in with the committee boat over the radio, and set our watch to the start sequence, getting to the line 9 minutes early. Yahoo!
We get our bearings on the line, and start to maneuver for position. Martinez goes over the line a minute early at the warning gun by mistake and some people start to follow him, including the Hobie 18 who has barged me from windward. I yell “Up Up Up” at the Hobie and “30 seconds” to the rest of the fleet as Martinez comes around to start again. There is some minor touching of hulls in the confusion but no one hoists any red flags. We are here to race, not argue! Almost everyone gets a decent start and the fleet begins to spread out immediately on the beam-ish reach. I give a quick glance around to see if any “rules lawyers” have popped their protest flags, and am pleased to see none. At this point, we can just make out our first mark, oil derrick Gina, through the fog in the distance. She is more of a blurry outline than an image. We stay a bit high initially to enjoy the clear air and notice that the wind is building.
Over the next 30 minutes it goes from the forecast 5 knots to about 15 and single trapeze. Some try to use their howler/second foresail (sorry, don’t have one and don’t know what to call it!). But the wind oscillates to nearly close reach and back, and it is interesting to see crews come out and back in and sails do the same. Jonathon and Scott on the P19 get it right and start to blow by us all with their new square top sail. We hoot at them as they pass. Cutter and I round Gina way to close, and we stop in its lee air like we have been hit by a truck. I was watching the other boats and not paying attention to our course. Pretty dumb considering how big Gina is. We lose three minutes drifting through the derrick’s shadow, and discover that the wind is continuing to build. I’m glad to have tightened all the shackles vise-grip tight. I learned that from Brian “Finger Tight” Heffernan.
We are now on a close reach to Anacapa Island and I am thinking about double trap. As I ponder this, Cutter gets his feet wiped off the boat by a rouge wave and flies around and behind me to the back of the boat between the hulls. He is still on the wire and climbs aboard over the tiller and rear crossbar. The look on his face is sheer amazement. I steer down wind for a few moments in the trough of a wave to allow him to regain his position up front and get reorganized. The wind is now 18 knots, the waves have white caps and most of them seem to end up in my face. $190 for a Gath helmet with a retractable visor will become a point of conversation a number of times today. We are excited to have such great racing conditions, and talk constantly about the other boats and possible tactics. Rounding Anacapa, we see a lot of cats in close to the island, as we were last year. But there is considerably more pressure on the water about 500 meters out. Here is the quandary of this race- close to the island or not. The monohulls go way out, a mile or more, but the cats usually bite the bullet and go in close. There are risks! The island edge is cliffs, rocks and crashing waves, there are kelp beds so large that a local university tracks them, and the wind close to the island can disappear for hours.
Monohulls want nothing of the crashing waves and rocks in no wind conditions, but the more maneuverable catamarans hang in close. Cutter and I went to the higher pressure area and it petered out 20 minutes later. We then spent an hour and 20 minutes chasing little puffs, tacking crazily a few times and ending up within thirty feet of where we were a half hour ago (verified by GPS later). During the doldrums, Cutter and I talk about the changes we will make for the down-wind light air run when we round the island; pull up the centerboards, bag out the sails, crew up front and alee to keep the bows down… We are checking in with the Safety Boat every hour on the radio and catch news that John Schwartz and Reesa have capsized a second time and have left the race. Having chosen our own course, we find ourselves watching the boats really close to the island find the wind and begin to leave us around Cat Point on the third part of the island. Within minutes we get the breeze too, and just barely squeak around the point behind them. As we make for the end of the island the wind builds rapidly, and we change our thoughts on tactics again.
As we tack onto our last reach of the race, it is blowing 18 knots with gusts well above 20. The Speed Puck has been diligently awaiting our arrival on the port side of the boom the entire race and is giving us speed and heading info. I don’t care how fast we are at this point, what I need is direction, so I set it to give us the heading and have Cutter try the trap as we trim big for a broad reach. My face is slapped with cold salt water about every 6 seconds and I take some in each time as I am breathing through my mouth with the exertion. We hit the potato patch and Cutter comes in off the trap. The Patch is about a mile of confused and chaotic sea (on this course) caused by currents converging around large Santa Cruz Island to windward, and Cutter is taking a beating. When we are back to sort of regular waves, I begin to surf as best I can, as we are about 50° off the wave’s vector trying for the harbor 20 miles away. This gives us an s-shaped course down and up the waves to allow the water to help our VMG. At least I hope so. My paddling arm from before the race is now my aching tiller arm, and I am constantly pulling against the waves and weather helm to steer us over the 5-foot waves.
Head’s up! We stuff the leeward hull into the back of a wave up to the front crossbar. Eight feet of knife-shaped fiberglass disappears, stabbing into the green water. I crack the mainsheet and watch for the result. The hull pops up immediately through the wave and we keep driving. Wahoo! On my old Prindle 16, I once did that and pitch-poled so fast that my trapeze shock cord parted and I landed about 15 feet beyond the tip of the mast. Not so on this catamaran. I can’t tell you how relieved I was. We stuffed it another two or three times with the same amazing result. I am smiling right now writing this. We decide we are doing well enough siting on the back crossbar, that we don’t use the trap any more. We have made no adjustments to the boat as planned during the light air and have more than enough power. We are gaining on the three sails that we see in front of us and we focus on that. I tell Cutter to stop apologizing about spitting salt water on me. I have been spitting on me all morning. He shudders from the cold during the entire run. Next year, longer wetsuit.
We talk constantly about our trim and the other boats actions as we slowly gain on them over the next hour. I am trying my best to use the waves, sailing up the back and down the face to use the speed boost they offer. The relentless pounding of the waves on the underside of the trampoline breaks the fold-up paddle out of its bungee and dacron mount to float away. We get within 200 meters of two cats and realize that one is Bob Martinez and the other is Pete Begle, from Big Bear Lake, CA. They are fighting it out and we are chasing them, but now we are all in the same wind and its going to take something drastic to change our relative positions. As we get closer to the harbor, a fourth cat appears from higher than us toward the harbor. It is Jonathon and Scott on the P19, and boy do they have speed. Pete and his crew, on a P18-2 like us, have moved forward on their hulls to level out the boat and get their transoms clear of cavitation. They have pulled out all the stops to catch Robert and it looks to be working!
Disaster! Pete pitchpoles- the front of his leeward hull submarines and the boat smacks the water face first, and then rolls over on its side. I crack my mainsheet to slow a bit and check their situation. One of them is already on the hull and the other is only a few feet away swimming to the hull. They are OK and I have just gained a place in the standings! I sheet in and we take off. It looks like we have passed Martinez too, but the wind lightens toward the harbor and Bob is on a beam reach to our broad one and his crew is on trapeze, which we cannot due in this lighter wind. They are driving hard and they drop in behind Jonathon and Scott who have sailed so well.
We finish 23 seconds behind Bob and are all smiles! This is great racing no matter what the final stats are! Pete and crew cross the line a few minutes after us and we all converge on the docks. Cutter and I are elated! It was exciting, fun and more wind than I have ever completed a race in. We hug and hoot and holler for a bit before we realize how soaked we are and how close the restroom is. The two super fast cats have finished 35 minutes ahead of us, and with the handicap I think that we might overall be forth or fifth. I had already decided that if we trophied, I would give it to Cutter, because I couldn’t have done it without him.
We get the cat broken down and on the trailer, and as we are cleaning up John Schwartz drives by. He had capsized and withdrawn from the race and he is walking on a sore hip from the crash. He has unofficial times and places to share. Bob Martinez has won for the third year in a row. Cutter and I have finished second.
That so rocks! I make John repeat it, and Cutter rounds the van to pound my fist! I haven’t won a sailing trophy in this century (of course this is only my second race in this century…)! I’m so excited that I am speechless. This is Cutter’s second regatta ever, and only the forth time he has sailed in the ocean. We get cleaned up, find dry clothes and head to the Yacht Club for some vittles.
Pierpont Bay Yacht Club has put on this regatta for over thirty years. It is well organized, well run and a pleasure to participate in. There is a hot meal awaiting us at the YC and cold drinks. The beachcat folks wander in and eat, and Richard comes around to double-check the fleet’s DP-N ratings in my binder before announcing the race results. Richard and Su begin the trophy presentations, and are very excited that we had 10 multi-hulls in the race. We were the biggest of all the classes that raced today. Five boats came from AZ, one trailered from east Texas. They have a surprise for us- dual trophies for each place. Both the skipper and crew get a trophy! This is unexpected and very thoughtful. Most of the crews on the beachcats are not family but friends, and the trophies are much appreciated. So is the Safety Boat.
It is real- we are called to accept second place trophies! It is fantastic to stand up with Cutter and be honored for our performance, with such great competition and hairy weather. I will not forget this moment. Later, we go to McDonalds to use free WiFi to video chat with our girls at home and share the news of our success. We celebrate with Oreo McFlurries. And for one night there are five Tri-Point trophies in Bob Martinez’ house!
Sunday morning Bob helps us remove the twin to the exploded tire on the trailer, and replace it with the new one. I’m taking no chances and want an uneventful ride home. We get one, with the same 113° F desert temperatures and the A/C turning on and off. Until we get about an hour out of Phoenix, and the plastic panel just under our radiator comes loose and drops to being ground down by the asphalt as we travel. We stop to investigate, and I tie it back into place with some extra batten ties I have handy. Cutter laughs, having been the driver for nearly the entire trip, and pulls out to get up to speed. I have to remind him that I have TIED the car together, and he should take it easy until we get home.
Kids. [head shaking]
2013 Tri Point recap;
Lucky for me, I had David and Reesa Cerdas more than willing to drive the boat to Ventura, all the way from Texas. That whole family has been more than supportive in so many of our sailing events, I can’t even begin to repay their generosity. Without them, I’d not be able to do even half the events we get to do. Thanks David, Reesa and Mom and Dad!
Most good regatta adventures start with the road trip there. This one was no different. David was giving me updates from the road so I didn’t worry. At the California border, he sent me a picture of the trailer tire with a nice bubble in it. It was a pretty new tire but these things happen. In the spirit of competition, I suggested he keep going so we could see how far it would make it in that condition and placed bets accordingly. I bet he’d make it the remaining 300 miles. Others weren’t so optimistic. I won, he made it.
I flew into Burbank on Friday night and took a nice pungent Supershuttle ride to Ventura. Upon stepping into the van, I was immediately (mentally) transported to the Middle East by the aroma of rancid curry and body odor. Oh, well, it’s all part of the adventure that was under way. One smelly hour later, I arrived in Ventura and was greeted by some of my long lost Fleet 42 brothers and sisters. That alone was a big part of why I wanted to do this race with David in the first place. Fleet 42 was the first group I met when I started my sailing adventures and I wanted David to see what a special group they were. I don’t mean helmet wearing, window licking special (maybe some) but true friend special. I was handed a bottle of Sailor Jerry Rum and a can of Gingerale and the trash talking started! This is what I came for. David had the boat rigged with help from Reesa and the gang. I did next to nothing but drink (which I am a true champion at). The next morning, we had our traditional breakfast/trash talk session at the local Carrow’s restaurant that John “Nazi” Schwartz and I started over 7 years ago. It was great. We then got registered at PBYC and were greeted by Richard and Suzan Countess. It was great to see their smiling faces again. They are the backbone of the racing at PBYC and we are all so thankful for the effort they put into helping the beachcat class be a reality in their racing series.
The weather report called for light winds, which is unusual for August around the Channel Islands. We launched and started the 2 mile sail to the start line without any issues. The boat felt good. We set the mast rake for light wind and everything seemed to respond well. We crossed tacks with AFTERBURNER on the way out of the harbor and received nice greetings from some familiar faces like Bill Gibbs and Mark McNulty which was adding to our already fun experience.
The Beachcat start is always the last start after all the bigger boats. This makes it nice since we don’t have any traffic but our own to worry about on the line. We all got a great start. It was great to see everyone being so aggressive at the line and even one boat over early. I think, just by luck, we got in the best position and nailed it right at the horn.
We were off beam reaching to the first mark, Off Shore Drilling/Production Platform GINA (I’ve done a lot of welding on that monstrosity) with great boat speed. We were watching the other boats getting settled into their proper trim and seeing who was going to jump out and make us worry. The P-19’s and P18-2’s are basically a scaled down version of a Tornado Cat, so we knew not to take them for granted in these reaching conditions. They all settled into a fantastic pace. John Schwartz and Reesa Cerdas were on the only F18 and were easy to keep track of with the day glow yellow sails. With the pace everyone had, we knew there was no room for mistakes and we weren’t going to have an easy race. This is what I was hoping for and wasn’t disappointed. Now for the even more exciting part. We decided to throw the chute out and do some power reaching and try to put some distance on the fleet. Once we had it up and got out on the wire for some double trapping, we noticed the other Nacra 20 in the fleet did the same and were driving down on us pretty hard. This was Manny and Brett. I wasn’t sure what to expect from them since I knew Brett was a little new to the N20 but not new to sailing catamarans. As far as Manny, well I think he’s just plain crazy and will find a way to make anything go fast. Together, they made a hell of a team that pushed us as hard as any top catamaran team has in the last few years.
When we got closer to Platform Gina, we dropped the chute and prepared for a closer reach to the East End of Anacapa Island. Once we got out of the wind shadow of it, we were close reaching to the Island with Brett and Manny slowly gaining on us. By this time, we definitely had entered “Windy Lane”. This is a wind lane that is a few miles wide and is channeled down from Point Conception to Point Dume on the inside of the Channel Islands. Sometimes you can see it before you get into it just by the condition of the waves. It was a fantastic ride but we were having a hard time finding our groove and properly de powering the rig. This is due to the fact that we stood our mast rake up a little too much in anticipation for the light wind forecast. We worked on other avenues to de power including mast rotation and as much downhaul as we could get on that mast. By now the wind was in the 17 to 19 knot range. We expected 5-7 knots! Oh well, deal with it, this is distance racing and it’s what we live for. One by one we had passed most of the bigger boats by now that started as much as 20 minutes ahead of us. On the horizon, we saw AFTERBURNER take a huge left turn and new they had trouble. We later found out it was a rig problem and they had to drop out of the race. I was disappointed to see this but half the battle in ocean racing is having a rig in perfect shape. Sometimes you just can’t foresee these things. A couple of glances back revealed to us Brett and Manny had us in their sights and were gaining on us….fast! We made other adjustments but nothing was going to change. The mast rake was killing us. In higher winds, a little more mast rake can help with keeping the boat under more control…more control=more speed. They finally rolled us like a couple of fish tacos but the race wasn’t over yet. It was just starting and I hadn’t run out of tricks in my sleeve yet. We were coming to the wind shadow of Anacapa Island and now the race was going to turn into a chess game on the water. By this time we both passed the big FARR 400’s and one FARR 40 which were leading the race since ‘BURNER was out. We drifted in and out of wind shadows for about an hour or two on the back side trading positions with Brett and Manny the whole time. I knew the only thing that was going to help us was the time proven tactic of hugging the inside lane. By this time, the big FARR 400’s had managed to squeak by us since their weight and momentum carried them through the lulls better than we could. As we approached the West End, we had a spectacular view of Santa Cruze Island through the patchy fog. It was amazing. The wind was filling back in and the big FARR’s were about a mile or so ahead of us already leaning hard and leaving spray. We could tell it was going to get frisky in a hurry. We set the chute and held a course of about 225 degrees on the digital compass. Usually this time of year we can see the Ventura coast line and have the huge oak tree on the mountain to aim for but not today. It was fogged in enough that we couldn’t see squat. I asked David to set a way point on his GPS as we were leaving the harbor. He pulled it up and we could see what we needed and adjusted accordingly. By this time, we were full on in the wind channel and had to drop some sail area (the chute) so we could hold the course we needed. The wind piped back up to around 17-21 knots and made it a fun beam reach back. David called out mileage to the finish and we began clicking them off and running down the three big FARR 400’s. One by one we drove past them in our own wall of spray. By this time I was really kicking myself for not bringing my goggles. I could barely see anything. All the crew on the FARR400’s were waving and I’m sure enjoying the show of a 20’ open dingy screaming past them doing 20 knots in 6’ seas. We were literally getting air born off about ¼ of the waves. They waved and must have thought we were snubbing them for not waving back but the fact was, we couldn’t without falling off the boat. It was all we could do to hang on and still work the controls. One particularly big wave hit David so hard, it knocked him into me as we got air born and launched me off the deck. I was hanging onto the rudder arm and took it with me as I flew up, which unlocked the rudder. Big fun, though. Time to drop speed and lock it back down, then get back under way. The most difficult part was trying to keep from grinning and laughing as much as we did because in doing so, we found too much sea water would enter our mouths, making it difficult to breathe normally. Laughter always finds a way out.
After getting past the big boats now, we were back in the lead and had to only concentrate on not making a mistake. Our goal was to finish first. We couldn’t do that if we flipped or one of us got washed over board. We were leading but not out of the woods yet. We could see the skyline of the city and knew we were sitting good. We couldn’t back off because I knew Brett and Manny were out there somewhere and could easily capitalize on even the smallest mistake we made. We had to keep sailing smart. We didn’t fully relax until we entered the break wall in Ventura Harbor and crossed the finish line. We got the horn and slugged each other in the arm for our own way of congratulating each other. These boats take team work and it’s only going to go as fast as the slowest person on the boat. David and I both know this and that’s probably why we do well together when things get rough. We loaded the boat on the trailer and enjoyed watching the other cats come in with everyone having their own expression of relief and victory on their faces. Those are the trophy’s that we get that make this type of racing worth while.
Lee Wicklund/Team Chums
Here is my new Vinyl Lettering and Vinyl Image I put on the G-Cat 5.7. Just thought I would show you what I can do for your boat.
Posted for Brett Johnston:
I have 3 Ariba hot sticks for sale. $70 ea. new in the plastic/ factory seconds with cosmetic blemishes. Sold at Murray’s new for $152 plus shipping. Smoking deal.
These are the strongest, simplest and most popular hiking sticks on the market. The Arriba tiller extensions feature a crosshatch textured grip with molded rubber end and a locking mechanism that has no moving parts. Integral cams lock one way and release the other. Includes yoke assembly for attaching the stick to the tiller crossbar. Arriba’s fiberglass sticks are class legal for Hobie® racing.
The FX3 (#44-FX03) is a fiberglass tiller extension perfectly sized for 8′-wide boats, including Hobie® 16, Hobie® 18 (without wings) and Turbo 14, Prindle 16, Nacra F17, and other 8′-wide boats where the skipper will be trapezing. With 50″ collapsed length, the FX3 is easy to maneuver while sitting on the boat, plus its 92″ extended length allows the skipper to trap forward comfortably while retaining full maneuverability. The FX3 comes standardly equipped with rubber end grip and stainless steel hardware to attach it to the tiller crossbar. Extends from 50″ to 92″. Weighs 28.7 oz.
If you are interested in getting one of there, please contact me at: email@example.com
Good Afternoon Everyone,
Just trying to see who might be interested in attending this regatta. Looks like a LOT of fun!!!
Tri-Point Ocean Race (Island Series #3), Ventura, CA
August 17, 2013 – All day event
40 mile race around Oil Derrick Gina and Anacapa Island. The finish is nearly 18 miles and a straight shot to the harbor as a beam to broad reach. PHRF racing, so bring your spin/howler/whatever and try to hang on! Chase boat is provided, VHF marine hand held radios required. Registration here as race date gets closer:
For more information, contact:
Richard Countess at 818-889-2669 or firstname.lastname@example.org
So far, we have the following boats going:
- Brett Johnston/Manny Dagnet on the Inter 20
- Jim Tomes/Julianne Berge on the Bimar F18
- Jonathon Magick/Scott Agan on the P-19
- Bob Videan/his son on the P18-2
- Lee Wicklund/David Cerdes on the Inter 20
I just wanted to let everyone know that I have a Vinyl Cutter. If you want your Boat Name, Sail Numbers, or a design put on you boat or sail it can be done. If you would like to add some “BLING” to your boat, contact me at scottagan@fleet 42.org and we can get started on your design.
I have made a lot of WWW.FLEET42.ORG stickers for your boat or cat box. I am also working on making the Fleet 42 logo to put on the back window of your vehicle or on your boat as well.
I am also bringing back the GREEN CACTUS to put on your main sail. This decal was used to let everyone know that you are a sailor from Arizona. Let me know if you would like a set by contacting me at email@example.com
Welcome to the new and improved web site for Fleet 42. Please go through the web site and get familiar with the new layout. It is easier to find what you are looking for. We also added a new place to post your own comments. Please use it to talk about the fleet and its activities.
You must “Log In” in order to post to this site. Please e-mail me your request to be able to post and I will send you your own “Log In” and “Password” for this site. You do not need to “Log In” to the site in order to view the site, you can do that at any time. My e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you enjoy the new Fleet 42 web page!