We took Kraken from Oceanside to Dana Point and back over the weekend. This was two races one in each direction and follows on from our DNF earlier this year, stranded by low winds. As no-one else finished that race everything was still to play for.
Nine boats entered and our troubles started early when I got to the boat and realized that mis-communciation with our diver left a carpet on the underside of the boat, with the rudder looking very bad. Having anticipated a fairly leisurely setup instead I found myself with a brush strapped to a boat pole and my head in the water seeing what I could scrub off!
John, Sarah, Jordan and Jonathan all appeared and we set off.
Wind initially was good and the normal adverse current was missing and after our 11:42am start it seemed for a while that we were making good ground, might be in in the top four boats out of nine and could be sipping cold beer before four in the afternoon.
Instead of building though the sea breeze steadily backed off and stayed abeam. Boats flying asymmetricals or code 0's took off and we sat in second to last for most of the race. Having settled for this everything changed right at the end - proving that even when there seems nothing to fight for its well worth pushing hard. Shamen tried to go above Obsession and got taken to the moon, at the same time the breeze started to really shut down and there was a nasty reflective chop. We snuck under Shamen, and Obsession and Hanky Panky in the last few hundred metres finishing half a boatlength ahead of Obsession in 5/9.
Dana Point harbor was pretty busy, Tuna Crabs by the thousands, people milling around the restaurants and boardwalk. Small sharks, cats on kayaks and Orange Counties limos finished the scene but we were all pretty sun drained and hit a fairly early night.
The next day we came back on a line much closer to shore and had to take some imaginative lines through kelp beds. Shamen rolled us about half way through the race and pulled away but we were able to come in third and for a while as the wind shifted behind us our inside route looked like it stood a chance of getting us back into a fight with Shamen, but not to be. Third it was.
Not sure exactly what order boats finished on the Saturday - our final position for the weekend was somewhere between 2nd and 4th.
Lessons learnt - verify diving schedule corresponds to races (I normally do!), sail faster.... We got a better reaching shape on our #1 on the Sunday with a different outhaul position but seeing slower boats who we'd been about to reel in pull away with their asyms was a bit annoying, confirmation of the known hole in our sail inventory.
Planned to bring Kraken back up post Yachting Cup yesterday but glad I didn't. Planning on coming back tomorrow now when this has settled down.
The normal "safe" channel between waves is middle of the picture.
The Yachting Cup was an up and down affair. A couple of second places (listed as third on one race but successfully protested the second place boat for a fairly extreme port starboard incident), but also a couple of last places. Things got better on the Sunday and it was a relief to end with a happy boat at the end of the weekend.
After our light winds practice at the weekend I was left reflecting on how things change.
The boat was split, half experienced, half inexperienced. We started with basic trim upwind. I had intended on working on acceleration practice but with light winds and cruising sails up quickly scaled back to tailing, grinding and basic helming, getting people into new positions.
Downwind we practiced free flying the spinnaker with people trimming who hadn't been through this before (nor had much experience trimming) and pulled off a dozen gybes.
A year ago we were happy to do two.
Then we doused (mexican) and went upwind a bit again.
Next came a tack set.
And another mexican douse.
Then a gybe set.
And a windward douse.
So three sets, three douses, three different set types, all crisp and fast, two different douses also crisp and fast beyond a small matter of the hatch hot being open ready for one of them.
The hatch was the only major mistake.
A year ago we'd have managed a single hoist, a couple of gybes and would have considered ourselves lucky to not wrap the spinnaker hard on the forestay.