Good to see so many boats Saturday. Here is a recap of the race from the deck of Biohazard.
Last month race (Waverider Buoy) was a close finish between Ginger Lee and Biohazard. Earlier this week, Greg and I exchanged a couple of emails and Greg mentioned that he was probably going to race double handed due to an old injury….That was a bummer. I like racing against Greg.
For some reasons, there aren’t a lot of singlehanded racers this summer while the double handed fleet remains strong.
I tried to find a crew and take the Class 40 out but was not able to.
Early Saturday morning, with high tide helping the maneuver, I launched Biohazard and was pretty much ready to go around 9:30am.
While I was finishing up the details at the dock, a sailor stopped by and asked me if I was racing today. This is how I met Thomas, who sailed down yesterday from Ventura on his new-to-him Hobie 33.
We had a great conversation as Thomas explained that he got the boat from SF in February and slowly but surely was able to put it back together. The boat is clean, and simply looks fast at the dock. The Hobie 33 is well known in Southern California to do very well. Many of them are highly modified, but I have seen stock Hobie 33 on a full plane downwind at 15 knots plus. Obviously Thomas is learning the boat, and was very humble about this expectations racing with PSSA today. We talked about the rabbit starting sequence, and which buoys to go around. With a rating of 81, this boat is going to do some serious damage…and Thomas is looking forward to participate to the last PSSA race in October as well as the Winter Series.
Before casting off Lenny came to say hello (we keep our boats nearby). Lenny’s boat rates 228, so I don’t envy anyone racing against him because his little has more than meet the eye. If I was in his class, and during this race, I would have had to finish at least 42 minutes ahead of him!! Looking at the results, Lenny actually corrected on me by a minute and 30 seconds!!
On the water, I was happy to see Steve on his Ericson 35-3. I found out later that it was Steve’s first single handed race! Congrats!! I was also surprised to see Steve’s rating at 120. Steve explained that all Erickson 35-3 are rated at 120 in the area and that there’s basically not much he can do…
The double handers were all hot during the starting sequence, and with the smallest boat in the fleet, I have to take a start that is clean of other boats and separate quickly to avoid being rolled right away by the larger boats. I think it was one of the most challenging start I have seen with PSSA. Thank you to Ginger Lee and Twelve Bar Blues for giving me room at the start. I would have probably had a real close encounter with Rubicon III as Rod was opening the starting line.
With now light but clean wind, I was able to extend from the other boats behind me.
This is another super stressful race on Biohazard, due to all the upwind sailing before we can take the corner back home under spinnaker. I have to stay on the top of my boat speed and it is simply damage control until I can get my spinnaker up.
I was able to separate and sailing in clean air, the boat was also able to lay 2ES, which was great, for me but, as a whole, for the entire fleet: having to tack to leave 2ES to port is usually not a good sign “wind-wise”.
DistraXion was quickly able to pass me. I am pretty sure Jeff hold back at the start considering the line was a little clustered. With 44 feet of waterline, and a boat that’s very well prepared and sailed, there’s no boat in the fleet that can beat him upwind. To minimize bad air, I unfurled my code 0, sacrificed point to 2ES but kept the speed up and therefore kept distance with the other boats behind. Five minutes later, now out of DistraXion disturbed air, I furled the code 0 back in and got the boat back on a closed haul to round 2ES in second place. I was very happy about this, but the battle was clearly not over.
Twelve Bar Blues on hot on my heels. With the code 0 up, I could keep the speed up and worked my way down to separate. The last thing I needed is another boat disturbed air. Chuck hoisted his spinnaker as well and passed me. As I was a few boat length to leeward of him, it didn’t affect me too much, if anything at all.
Now, the one I wasn’t expecting that early in the race was Thomas and his Hobie 33 Velocity!! Thomas, sailing under Genoa and main was trucking along and passed me as well to weather. The wind had increased since the start but wasn’t quite enough for my boat to plane on a reaching mode yet. I was therefore limited at 5 to 6 knots when these 2 boats were easily sailing to their waterline speed at 6+.
Finally, we rounded the King Harbor buoy. Twelve Bar Blues and Velocity rounded the mark pretty much together, with Chuck ahead of Thomas. I was one minute behind.
It was tough, I was first at the start, 2nd at 2ES, and already 4th at King Harbor. Three boats had passed me, with more to come on the last upwind leg to Palos Verdes.
After rounding the mark at King Harbor, I stayed on a starboard tack, but the code 0 away (my mistake) and got the A2 spinnaker on deck, ready to go. I sailed on starboard until kelp was going to be an issue by the cliff, and tacked to port. Thomas and his Hobie 33 hadn’t separated too much – with more practice, I don’t think Thomas will ever give me the chance to sail by his side upwind again 😉 – but Chuck was gone. Now sailing on port, Greg, double crossed ahead on starboard. About 10 minutes after Greg, Zulu, also double handed passed me too. Finally, on the lay line to PV buoy, Rod was able to sail inside my boat and the buoy. Finally, I rounded also.
Since the start, six boats passed me! Ouch !!! As a reference, Twelve Bar Blues had extended over 15 minutes since we rounded the KH buoy.
Not thinking straight, I hoisted the maxi spinnaker up. Clearly, it was the wrong wind angle. With the keel canted, main sheeted out and travelled down, I couldn’t get the boat to sail flat and fast. It didn’t take long until I had to take it down. When I did, I also run into some kelp. I quickly cleared the kelp out of the rudders and inspected the keel. There was a bit left but nothing to worry about.
I couldn’t sail another 10nm without a spinnaker so decided to hoist my A5 which is much smaller and flatter. It worked at first, but the wind moved forward of the beam, and increased as well. Because I had to drive the boat down in the maneuver of hoisting, dousing and hoisting spinnakers I was close to the beach, and could not even leave 2ES to starboard on my way back. I left the buoy about a boat length to port. The boat was slow, being overpowered. I took the A5 down and finished the race under main and jib.
After finishing, I kept sailing upwind towards SM pier, then offshore for 30 minutes. I was able to put the spinnaker again, for fun and headed back into the main channel.
At the dock Thomas came to say hi. We compared finish times and it seems that I had corrected over him by 5 minutes. Thomas was happy about his race, disappointed about his upwind performance but practice and boat tuning will correct that very soon.
It was another great day on the water, but I still had to put the boat away. After some hesitations, and because the tide was high again, and the wind shutting down, I lifted Biohazard out of the water and back on its trailer. An hour later, a cold beer at the YC was a perfect time to draft this little story before my memory fades it away!
Jeff, congratulations on another win. It was impressive to see how you disappear over the horizon on your way back from PV!
Thank you all for coming. I am looking forward to our last race to the Isthmus and the bbq !
Mini 6.50 “Biohazard”
USA 577