Whitall, a motley crew of friends and myself left Marina Del Rey aboard Cassiopeia at about 8am for a lovely cruise up to Malibu. As we approached the starting area, we could see all four of our racers milling about. We were all praying for the wind to come up so that they could have a solid start. It was so light that we decided to anchor for the start instead of trying to be a rabbit. There was barely enough wind for everyone to cross the start line, but they all did around 11am, and we watched them disappear off into the distance over a glassy sea. From there, the racers reported 4 knots or so at first, building to 6 and then 10 in the night. The forecast suggested they would be reaching, but from all reports they were close hauled instead. Larry pushed his boat and was pointing higher than he ever had just by playing with sail configurations. He had great success using his larger jib rigged on his bowsprit. He said, “just goes to show you just have to keep playing with things and you can always learn about your boat”. Joe was lamenting that based on the forecast, he left the sails he really needed at home. The first part of the trip for all seemed to be pleasant with just enough wind, a flat sea and warm conditions. From the sounds of it, the wind quit around midnight, though, and there was a lot of flopping about out there. Larry made the tough decision to retire Saturday morning and head to Two Harbors. Joe somehow had gotten way ahead of everyone by this time, and had over an hour lead. Everyone struggled with the light wind and strange flukey conditions, including a 100′ wind shift at one point. Joe rounded the rock at night, and Brian followed the next morning. Brian had a visitor while out there..a big shark came to say hello (see pic below). Joe ended up retiring with about 36 miles to go. The wind was nil and he was surrounded by fog. He said that when he turned on his engine to charge, “she was yelling at me to put it in gear”! I haven’t heard from Pavlova yet, but it seems she retired in the first 8 hours or so, probably due to the non-existent wind. Brian and Slowpoke finished Sunday night at 9:41pm after almost 50 hours at sea! When I was marveling to Brian at our meeting last night about his tenacity, he said with a big grin on his sun kissed face, “well, I love it out there”! I loved hearing that..a reminder of the beauty of being in the moment and relishing in the gift of being on the sea! My hat is off to all of the racers, whether you finished or not. Just getting out there is a feat, and a brave one at that!
P.S…..Our next race is Catalina to Port in the end of April. I will be there, and I hope we will have more boats in general, and maybe a gathering at Avalon after it is all said and done??!!
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” ~ T. S. Eliot