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MBYC Opening Day/Asher Pier Race - April 21, 2002

The Parade of Fleets

This last Sunday was opening day. MBYC was a blue blazer showcase. Seniors, Officers, Junior Officers…John III and I had a great time pumping hands and laughing with all the past, current and future officers in the greeting line at the front door. Dan, having found an ex-505er who used a youthful Ken Karnes as crew was talking trash and arranging a grudge match scheduled for some future TNT. John and I, now in an amiable mood, we headed off to the Kitty to rig and prepare for: The Parade of Fleets!

Carte Blanche and Freebee arrived and we were all ready to show off the class in the Parade. Freebee and Kitty were fitted with the modified hoisting system and a Big Chutes and Dave made it out in his 505 for the first time since his extensive bionic re-fit.

The instructions included setting a chute. Maybe last years parade which included the Kitty flying her chicken chute (all three sails drawing) had something to do with this change in the agenda.

The line up had us following the FD who followed the Thistle Fleet representative. We had some wind! What a riot, chasing the FD all over the bay. Lots of boats planing. The Juniors in FJ’s really enjoyed giving us instructions as to where to be and that they were first to sail. It was obvious that they enjoyed seeing John III on a high performance boat knowing what he was doing in the traps. It just might have given them some idea of what the future may hold for them. The Kitty is deceptively similar to an FJ in the eyes of a Junior: in its construction and coloring. The Juniors connected. This was one of the best parts of the day.

The instructions for the sail by were very specific: Each boat was to follow the next with a 20-foot gap. One boat length! This was a bit of a challenge when you figured we were on a full plane towards a reaching mark. The Kitty was on the FD’s tail, as was the FD on the Thistle’s tail. Kitty had to zigzag NASCAR style to slow down into the pin. It made for a very good show. I was really too busy to look back and see what was happening with Carte Blanche and Freebee. But we were well represented!

A highlight of the pre-lunch activities was the Le Mans start Sabot race by the Juniors. The pressure caused numerous Sabot style wipeouts in a wind that was almost unheard of at 11:30 am. Tangles of rigging, sinkings etc. which featured a frantic Junior bailing as the boat was going down by the stern. This race was actually more entertaining than John’s High School race in Santa Barbara where a well documented 5-minute burst of 32 knots caused about 30% of the 45 boat fleet loose it at the wing pin…

Anyway..after the Parade we then headed into one of the best pot-lucks ever put on by mortal man. Great stuff.

With the proper preliminary Asher Pier Race buzz provided by sparkling wine and a wide assortment of goodies we headed off to the bay to sail some really cool boats (505’s ) in a good breeze.

Asher Pier Race

Freebee and the Kitty headed out onto the course for a beer:..NADA! Nothing! What’s happening??? Next year is BYOB. Maybe B the RC some B.

Bill McKinney and John Billings (the Kitty’s crew) were so amazed, that we spotted the whole fleet, at least a minute. Freebee had us, the FD had us even the Thistle had a good start. Everybody got a piece of the Kitty.

Severely handicapped by a very dry boat, we headed up-wind. Then, to add insult to injury a Capri-22 skipper fell out of the boat right in front of us! So he must have emptied the kegger?!…The worst of it is we had to sail around the sot to keep grinding on the fleet.

Later on, the lone Thistle tried to cross us… on port. That did not happen. We were really going fast (planing upwind with Big Bill on the wire - full power) and had to duck. We let-em know they had to do turns. Of course we reminded them in case they forgot…as we covered them and blew off into the distance... As our heads cleared and we realized how wide a margin we had to recover, we started to work together, getting in some good tacks and a few very fast legs.

The wire reaching jelled in the final downwind leg. This last leg took its toll on the FD’s lead and we must have caught up at least 15 seconds. This chute is a killer! We seemed much faster than the FD in Mission Bay with a 12-knot breeze. Very cool. I am really looking forward to the TNT battles with Doug the FD guy…

We ended up 6th on corrected time, third to finish. I am not sure when we passed Freebee, but according to Dan, Roger had very good speed on the course.

John Billings
US 7773 ‘The Kitty’