SanDiego505 - Bay to Bay 2001
Saturday, June 16, 2001
US 7773 Team Kitty John & John BillingsThe Kitty stayed near the Weasel and Bob, ahead of 88th Planet and FD Doug and TGIF until about 3/4 of the way down to the first mark. I was surprised by Team Fevers disappearance, but as it turns out they did have some mechanical issues . .prior to Buoy #3, Green, outside of San Diego Bay.
We lost it, getting very hot. First the boots came off, then the Pfd's (yea, we took em off & never looked back!). Some mechanical issues, like a reversal on the spin sheet lead reeved through the ratchet block made chute work a pain for John, so we relaxed. Having looked at Dave's email on water consumption, we had taken a gallon jug from the kitchen just prior to heading down the club. Great stuff!
TGIF was about 300 yards back of us at the first mark (Bouy #3) when they rounded.
Then . . TGIF rolled us to leeward when we actually started look about a half hour later. We put up the chute, cleared the kelp (again) and started to race.
Then, what luck, they took lunch! Considering how they were dressed, we figured they were overheated too. So, when a keel boat was near, we altered course to try to pick TGIF. They were picked, and we took off. TGIF nearly force me to exercise the new shore line rule, and call for room, but as Steve was at the same SDYC seminar, he knew about that one....
A new race. We were feeling rather pleased with ourselves, until another keel boat crossed us both and TGIF picked us clean!!
TGIF lead by 50 yards at the bridge.
We rounded and rested again.
As it was a long beat to the finish, both of us got very board. So, to kill the boredom, I decide to put ol' 15 year old John into "training mode" Dad will demonstrate boat speed to weather. This was after John was kicking me, and trying to knock the tiller extension out of my hand, which he did do . . while trapped out. After a major tea-bag we look up and saw TGIF and Bob ( Team Bob, who magically appeared about 100 yards to weather! ) both "straddled" with new sails. Hey, I could be a hero!
A regular light air sailing seminar. Well, to my surprise, we moved past TGIF and caught up to within 20 yards of Team Bob. It really helped out to have Bob as a target. We did not know we had passed TGIF until we had caught up with Team Bob, because, they were both sporting new sails of the same age and manufacture.
Bob woke up, and stayed ahead, but TGIF look like they were still having "new sail" boat speed problems so we finished between them for a 4th place overall. 88th Planet and Weasel musta had coolers on board! Just another day sailing in San Diego, sunny, warm with a nice breeze.
Thanks to Chris, our Fleet Captain, for making this race happen.
Saturday, June 16, 2001
Team Sneaky Pete (Chris Shand and John Henke)The day looked promising as Team Sneaky Pete (#4233) left the dock with an hour to go until the start. As we trailed the fleet out the jetty, I warned John about the known weak points on the boat. (You should never tempt fate. Bad idea.) Within five minutes, John pointed at the mainsheet block and said, "we have a problem." The block was pulling the wood right off the centerboard casing. So we moseyed on back to MBYC and did the whole drill repair thing, then headed back to the start line for our (late) start.
Within a few minutes, John discovered a loose rudder gudgeon, but it was too late to go back and fix that. Then I looked down and saw a small water fountain shooting up from the bottom of the boat. Apparently we lost one of the bailer bolts. (What an odd thing to lose.) Duct tape rolled like a cigarette fixed that one, and miraculously stayed in place the whole race.
We finally made it to the starting area around 1:30; an hour or so late. The question of whether to go outside the kelp bed or stay close to shore never really came into play. We both agreed sailing between the bed and the shore seemed the most logical route to take. From that point on, the next couple of hours consisted of us pointing out stray clumps of kelp, and asking each other about sails we saw in the distance, and whether they were 5o5 sails, or not. Turns out they were…
Eventually all good things must come to an end. That's how I felt when we finally had to cross the kelp bed. When we found ourselves hopelessly enmeshed and immobilized in the stuff, we took out the rudder (centerboard was already lifted). Then we skipped like a rock on a lake over the "clump clump clump" sound of the kelp beneath us. That was pretty cool.
When we finally exited the kelp bed, John re-attached the rudder and we sailed around our first mark. At first it seemed we would cross Taz, but no such luck. Taz rounded the mark first, but ended up going low with their kite fully set. With our board up, we sailed high, slipping over the waves and trapping most of the time (like sailing over a bowl of jello). Gradually Taz disappeared from view, and was lost amidst the myriad of sails in the harbour.
We finally dropped the board and Pete lifted into a nice humming plane. Trapping most of our way through the bay, we eventually hoisted the kite and headed to Pier 19.
After rounding Pier 19, John cleverly played the shifts and stayed away from the city-side shore, which worked well with the current. We tacked our way to the finish line, hoping to cross Fever Pitch and Butt Crack at some point - we eventually made it across Butt Crack, but were unable to cross Fever Pitch.
Thanks very much to Chris for organizing this race, along with everyone who helped coordinate the party that night. And a big thanks to John for some great driving, quick on-the-water boat repairs, and cool t-shirts from Sailing Supply.
Bill Jenkins - A Weasel's perspective.With the sound of shattering gel-coat that accompanied Weasel’s start last year still clear in my mind, I approached the start with some nervousness. During the postponement, Dan and I relieved the tension by lightening the ballast 12 oz at a time. The night before we had thoroughly examined the chart so that we would be able to recognize bouy #3, south of Point Loma, from the most likely approach angles. Having previously missed the turning mark two years in a row, we were finally taking the navigational aspects of the race seriously. Sporting a recently mounted a deck compass and also carrying a hand-held, we felt prepared and well instrumented.
Now everything seemed to be up for grabs again. The wind was light and blowing from the south, the kelp bed could be seen, even from the MB jetty, to be extending much further out to sea than usual, and a fog bank seemed to be developing with the threat that all of our pre-race navigation, which was entirely based on lines of sight, would be worthless.
And then there was the start. With the wind blowing from right to left along the starting line, it was hard to predict how people would react to the racing rules. Early on, everyone set up well above the layline to the bouy. We came in below the crowd, but Rob Waterman (88th Planet) set up even lower. As the seconds ticked off, some of the boats to weather slipped ahead of Weasel and Planet and dropped off to leeward, never to be seen again. In the final seconds, only Chris and Michel (Bob) were between the bouy and us; Planet somehow failed to luff us up. We sheeted in a little late for the start, but soon had our bow out below Bob. (Note: since there was no RC, the start was self-regulated. Dave Eberhardt established the 5 minute warning with a whistle and called out the next couple of minutes. As near as I could tell, the start was fair in spite of the lack of adult supervision.)
After the start we sailed high, anticipating a long climb around the kelp bed. Bob, just to weather of us at the start, was soon forced to tack out to sea. They tacked back a few hundred yards out but soon dropped in behind us. In the mean time the boats to leeward were sailing much lower than we were. In a brief moment of confusion, we thought that maybe we should sail low too (don’t ask…) Suddenly Bob was lifted, the Weasel brains realized their error, and the race was on. During the next hour Weasel and Bob traded the lead as we fought our way around the kelp bed. The search for breeze and the lifted tack gradually resolved itself into the realization that the outside lane was always the fastest, but don’t overstand the last kelp bed.
Tactically challenging, but nerve wracking. As we headed for the Point in what appeared to be clear water, the Weasels were ahead by about 100 yards. It was tempting at that point to say that the race was won, but experience told us that it was a long race and there were still many opportunities to screw up. Fortunately, the fog that had threatened earlier never really settled. As we sailed down the coast, we could still take bearings on the MB jetty and the Point Loma lighthouse. Even though we couldn’t see the coast to the south, we could see the bouys ahead of us and, thanks to the map work the night before, finally knew exactly which mark to sail for.
Bible thumpers like to say that pride comes before a fall. Dan and I took this particular opportunity to prove those self-righteous sobs correct once again. As we casually skated to weather of the last kelp bed between us and bouy #3, Dan noticed a more direct channel to leeward. “Go back! We can get straight through!”. “Go back?” I thought. “Heck, this kelp bed isn’t so wide. We’ve scooted across more kelp than this.” Dan: ”Where are you going? I said go back!” Bill: “Now that you mention it, we were going a lot faster when we scooted that time… “ For the next few hours (days? light years?), the thumpers nodded approvingly as we desperately rocked the Weasel to generate some motion while frantically pushing endless ropes of kelp off the rudder. We crawled across 20 feet of kelp while Rob and Maggie Waterman (88th Planet), who had passed almost the entire fleet to take second place, closed the quarter mile that had separated us.
Once again we had a race on our hands. Over the final mile to #3, Weasel gradually extended and then lost its lead over Planet. As the two boats reached #3, Planet was in the process of driving over Weasel. The course called for a gybe around #3 before heading into San Diego Bay. At that point, the Weasels shamelessly put to use our many years of experience sailing together. After completing a relatively well executed gybe, I looked back to see the Planet heading in the general direction of Imperial Beach with spinnaker flogging. For the rest of the sail down the bay we were able to extend our lead.
As we headed into the bay, we finally admitted to ourselves that the record would not be broken this year. Normally the leg from #3 around the top of North Island is a planing close reach gradually veering toward a spinnaker reach. This year Dan was only occasionally out on the wire, and after crossing over North Island we stayed high until we were back in the mid channel (flood tide) and could lay the Coronado Bridge at a comfortably high angle.
Our strategy for the beat up from the bridge was to generally stay on the City side of the channel, but to definitely stay between Planet and the finish line. We short tacked up the City side until Planet rounded the bridge and then headed across the bay. We covered them across and then back again, but the current and wind seemed to favor the City side. So when they tacked away from the City and headed back toward Coronado we kept tacking up the City side. It seemed to work, and we continued to extend our lead.
The wind got very shifty and the current gradually slackened so that we may have over estimated its significance. Also, we overstood the layline to the finish from North Island (it’s over a mile away for Pete’s sake!) Planet picked a perfect line over North Island and were gradually lifted to the finish line, all the while closing the distance between them and Weasel. I was pretty sure, at that point, that we would win, but you never really know, and the laws of physics could be different on the 88th planet, and there may be a well targeted patch of kelp ahead, and the mast could fall down, and…
For the second year in a row, Weasel and Planet sailed a race 25 miles long and finished within two minutes of each other. Somehow, I suspect, we shall meet again.
Many thanks to all the people who worked hard to make this a great race once again!
Dan Merino Team WeaselThe day started out looking as though it might be a record year with the breeze coming up a little earlier than normal. We were feeling confident up until Team Bob and TGIF hoisted their new hardware. Early on we decided to go with some hand me down Kevlars and now there was no turning back. This year we were definitely more prepared though having secured a compass for the event as well as a hand-bearing compass (ok so it resembled something that might have come in a cereal box). We had done our homework and plotted a course for buoy 3 the night before. I mean how bad could our dead reckoning be? As we pulled away from the dock we went through our provisions checklist out loud…
"Two six packs of imported beer" "Check"
We toasted to a promising race on the way out to the start line but unfortunately it was premature. In true San Diego fashion the wind began to drop and shifted to the south turning our downwind race to a beat down the coast. After a 45-minute delay the race got under way. For the first half-hour or so we traded places with Team Bob and the lone FD. It became apparent that the boat furthest to the right had an advantage by always getting the shifts first as well as having a bit more wind. The kelp bed seemed enormous, so going out seemed to be the call. After establishing a comfortable lead we began to look for a way through the kelp. Comfortable lead only refers to the fact that we weren't trading places anymore. The ritual was sail a bit/check the foils/ clear the foils/ continue sailing. We arrived at our dead reckoning waypoint, pointed the boat at 120 degrees and spotted entrance buoy 3 immediately. Next obstacle was how to get to the mark through the kelp. We made a decision to follow the outside of the kelp bed, which was easily marked, by the fishing boats that lined the perimeter. No sooner than we agreed on this approach I spotted a more direct course and directed Bill to alter course immediately. Unfortunately I can only relate this to telling a person to watch out for a car after they've been hit by it. In my haste I got him to drive directly into the kelp which brought the boat to a halt. As we struggled to constantly clear the rudder we watched in horror as Planet bore down upon us. Luckily Bill was thinking on his feet and sacrificed his favorite sailing cap to the kelp gods who in turn released us from their grip. We raced Planet to the mark and rounded just ahead of them. The ride into the bay wasn't as exciting as previous years since the wind was weaker than normal. We tried to stay in the middle of the channel to take full advantage of the current however got pushed to the right by the many power boat wakes as well as a car carrier leaving San Diego Bay. We jibed and headed to pier 19 of the Coronado Bay Bridge. I was able to fend off a previous bet by correctly picking pier 19. The beat back up the bay was split between trying to cover Planet and play shifts/puffs. We hugged the east shore on the way up hoping there was more wind and actually sailed into a small eddy which pulled us along shore for quite a while. Things were looking good until we discovered we were out of beer. From there we sailed into header hell and finally ended up pointing directly at the finish in the area of most current. It seemed like a carbon copy of the previous year as we watched Planet make trees on us all the way to the finish. In the end we took the win. It wasn't close to being a record year but it was still fun. Special thanks to Dave for being the starting boat, Sailing Supply for the shirts and overnight parking, and Chris for organizing the event. The party once again was top notch….
Team Taz, US 5687, Mike Jue and Marc WingerTeam Taz started the day with drill in hand (Thanks to Dan) attempting to get their newly acquired mast (thanks to Tom) into the boat. We were very much relieved when it finally dropped onto the mast step.
At the start, we misjudged how fast these boats really are and got to the line early. Crew advised to run down the line. This put us low and in very dirty air as all those stiffer boats moved ahead of us, but at least we were on the line at the gun. Of course this was not to be our only tactical error. We tacked away and headed out to sea only to get headed. So we tacked back. Bad, bad, bad since we never got truly outside the kelp beds. Instead, we followed the fleet up the so called "channel" through the kelp while looking over our shoulders as Butt Crack went farther outside. Off in the distance, we could see Fever ahead of us, so we set tried to set our chute. Unfortunately, rigging up a mast the night before has it's consequences and we found out that the our spin halyard was wrapped around the jib halyard inside the mast. Marc drove while I spent the next 20 minutes re-running the halyard. Then we crossed our fingers and hoisted. And voila, the kite made it up and we started gaining on Fever. Next we marveled at how high this boat can carry the kite and whether or not we could make it above that little finger of kelp jutting out ahead of us. Apparently not. Good thing Fever did the same thing or we'd feel really dumb. It was so bad, that we pulled the rudder off and tried to remember how to steer with only the sails. Eventually we made it out and down to #3.
Since we were so far behind the fleet, we were in completely different wind and caught the only blow of the day. Three sails up, fully trapped and fully hiked out, we roared by all those keel boats coming in! We dropped the kite near Zuniga and were still fully powered up and passing big boats. That is until... a puff knocked us down. We certainly gave everyone around as a show. Once we righted the boat, we scratched our heads and wondered why the main sheet block and cleat wasn't attached to the boat anymore, where our bailer went, why the rudder wasn't on the boat anymore, and where all this blood was coming from. After swimming for the rudder, retrieving all of our important stuff, and noticing that the breeze was dropping, we decided to limp in and call it a day. What a beautiful sight it was to find the local women waiting with leis and drinks at the dock.
What a great race!! I love living in San Diego.
Team TGIF (Steve Schnelker and Karl Liebat)Team TGIF (8024), sporting new sails fresh from the Ullman loft in Newport, started inside, with little speed, and saw the rest of the fleet just take off away from us. We finally got our boatspeed up to a reasonable level, and saw the competition continue to slowly stretch out on us. Going outside seemed to pay, so we headed that way and began to see some rewards. Eventually, we had taken back a few places, and even caught the lone FD.
After a few more tacks (and watching the leaders set, douse, set, etc.) we decided to hold off on setting the kite until we knew we could carry. When we finally did set, we were able to keep the kite up (barely) and skirted the edge of the kelp for the most part. The best course to the mark involved one "kamikaze" run through some kelp, and we managed to hook a *big* piece. After successfully wrestling it off of our rudder, we were back in action.
We rounded fifth, and that was to be our "number" that day. We kept in touch with Kitty as we reached into the bay, but nobody else was in sight in front of us. We caught Kitty slacking (must have been a lunch break) as they rounded North Island very wide. We grabbed fourth and hung on to that position for several minutes. In a tit for tat move, Kitty took fourth place back by using a keelboat as a pick and rolling over the top of us (we were on our lunch break at the time). We then chased them down the bay, only to take the lead back again using essentially the same trick. Fourth place, here we come! There was much agonizing over which piling was #19, but we guessed right, and set our sights on Bob after a capsize brought them back into range.
Unfortunately, we were hit-and-miss with the new sails, and every time we gained a bit on Bob we then ended up losing a bit again. Ultimately we were more "miss" than "hit" and Kitty was able to take the 4th place position back with about 2-3 miles to go. Our spirits broken, we decided to take a flyer and go to the other (right) side of the bay in the hopes that we might find more wind. This didn't pay at all, and we continued to follow Kitty to the finish. However, just when we were about to give up hope, Kitty sailed into a monster hole, and we continued on at speed, reeling them in like mad. Our gains weren't enough to catch them in the end, and we sailed back to the launching area, beaten men.
Post-race festivities were a blast, however and all of the sailors got lei'd. Our thanks go to Chris for pulling all together.