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SanDiego505 - Coronado YC Small Boat Regatta

Saturday-Sunday, April 13-14 2001

Santa Cruz Spring Open

Team Weasel

Some 20 boats showed up for the second Northern California Container qualifier held at Santa Cruz this weekend. With the realization that there are more boats than space in the container everyone was interested in scoring some much-needed points.

Saturday racing was in the 8-15 range, starting off light, increasing in velocity and then dropping off for the last race. Most people raked at 8, dropped to 5 and then back to 8. The Weasel day was uneventful as we finished mid pack most races. Typically we were fast upwind but usually lost a few boats on the reaches. Our only equipment screw ups were a bungee that jammed in one of the spin halyard blocks which caused us sail past the leeward mark (losing 4 boats in the process) and our spin halyard which developed a nasty twist which resulted in a twist at the top of the spinnaker every time we launched. The reach mark was set in bit (approximately 90 degrees) making the reaching legs very manageable. In general there was more wind on the top of the course. RC managed to squeeze 4 races in on day one. Sunday morning everyone was sure that it would blow, however the wind did not materialize until race 2.

Race one was postponed in the hope that the wind, which started from the South, would shift to its typical NW heading. All was calm in Monterey Bay, however we could see whitecaps outside the northern point of the bay. Having postponed for half an hour RC got the race going in drifter conditions to the South. At one point it looked like we would round the weather mark in first when we were about 7 boatlengths from the mark, however the fluky winds had us round in 5th. The downwind leg was a hate mission with choppy conditions and light wind making it nearly impossible to keep the chute filled. The North westerly began to fill in turning the downwind leg into a reach and then a beat to the leeward mark. At the leeward mark we set the chute and headed for the finish line. Definitely not a stellar race for us. The wind built quickly as RC went to reset marks. Bill and I took advantage of the time and headed to flat water so Bill could suit up for the pending conditions. While heading in out mainsheet splice gave out. Bill did a masterful job jury rigging a knot of stupendous proportions. Figuring we wouldn't have to sheet in all the way in the 25-knot breeze we headed back out to the start line in time for the second race. Rake at "0", flattening reef in, lot's of ram, board up, and barber haulers on we went right to get into flatter water. For the first time I can remember we were in control going upwind in 25 knots of breeze. Before the start we made a decision to not set the chute on the reaching legs no matter what anyone else did. Lucky for us no one did. I watched as Mike and Howie rounded the weather mark, get hit by a wave which knocked Mike off the boat causing them to immediately capsize. We passed them and set out on the most edge of control experience I can describe. The speed was incredible, water flying everywhere, and I was doing my best to stay trapped and with the boat. The acceleration the boat would experience when surfing down a wave would cause my feet to slide along the rail. At one point my feet got swept off the rail and I went flying to the back of the boat. Amazingly I landed feet first back on the rail behind Bill. The scariest part was losing sight of the boat when the spray would cover it and then feeling my feet begin to slip. Despite the fact we trying to hold it together, Mike and Howie, who capsized at the weather mark, passed us on the same reach leg to leeward. Man are those guys fast… As we approached the reach mark we watched as boat after boat blew the jibe and ended up blown over. Bill called for a tack instead of a jibe and I didn't argue. We managed to get around the reaching mark in one piece and upright and set out for the leeward mark. Conditions were difficult to trap with the wave angle and I opted to sit on the tank instead. Bill who was going to give me crap about it realized most people were doing the same. The trick was to sit far enough back to keep the bow from stuffing into the wave in front of you. Amazingly we rounded the leeward mark without capsizing and headed back up wind. Bill, suffering from severe arm pump and me not willing to lose the rig on the next downwind decided to head in after passing through the start line. What an awesome experience…

Over the course of the weekend we were able to check out some of the latest developments for the "long luff" spinnaker rigging. Most of the Santa Cruz boats have opted to go with the Waterat set up which is simple and seems to work well (this is the setup that has a second small shroud run through a modified spreader tip that is swept back). The shroud is typically slack upwind so it doesn't effect the fore-aft bend characteristics, but becomes taught when the spinnaker puts side and forward load on the upper portion of the mast. The only disadvantage I could see was that the swept back portion of the spreader pokes into the main sooner and sharper than the normal spreader. It did cause at least one main some damage on Sunday. Mike and Howie and Jeff Miller had a double spreader set up that looked pretty slick. The system was another set of smaller "floppy" spreaders up higher which provided the same support as the Waterat system, except they did not punch into the main. In discussions over the weekend most people agreed that some sort of support is needed higher up. Some reported some ugly looking bend both at the St. Francis Event as well as the Santa Cruz event (those without some sort of upper mast support) however no one broke a rig at either. One other note was that Ryan Cox split his mast at the new halyard height in Long Beach in 15 knots of breeze. The mast was modified with the external block on a pad eye attached with rivets. No one has come up with an explanation yet but most suspect the weld was too thin to hold the pad eye and the rivets had worked loose. The feeling now is that a sheave is probably better because it reduces the side moment. I can't wait until the 2004 Worlds…!!!