Tuesday, April 29, 2014

2014 Ensenada Race weather forecast. 4-29-14 Update

4-29-14 Update

Just thought I would post my final comments on this years Ensenada race. Linstar placed 3rd in class and about 25th overall.

I read the forecast incorrectly and the winds stayed south longer than I had thought they would. We took the bottom third of the starting and sailed for the harbor entrance, then tacked onto port. While on port we where lifted and held an advantage over all the boats that tacked before us.

We held port tack for about an hour and a half and kept an eye on the angles of the boats going back on to starboard and heading for the beach. I kept thinking that I had most of my competition to leeward and would just wait for them to tack and lead them back to the right.

I was also struggling with my original game plan and when I noticed Amante on starboard and sailing within ten degrees of course we also tacked to starboard. What ended up happing was the boats that continued heading out to sea stayed in more wind when things got light at about five and six pm that night.

We blew up our 3A spinnaker just off Point Loma and went back to our jib. We only had the 3 A up for maybe about twenty minutes when it was becoming obvious the wind was building and shifting forward. 

As we approached the bay we were hit by a rather big squall of rain and wind and reefed the main. When I went below to change to some dry clothing the rain stopped,  built in strength and shifted behind us. While I was decideding if we should set our spinnaker the wind built to 32 knots and the sea begin to get bigger and bigger. 

Not knowing were the wind would stop at, I decided we would ride this out with our reefed main and jib. Finally the rain stopped and when the wind went down to about 22 knots we set our spinnaker and shook out the reef in our main. At this time we were about thirty miles from the finish and were hauling the mail. As we approached the finish the wind picked back up to thirty knots and rather than do two more jybes I called for the spinnaker to be taken down and we would fly the jib and full main to the finish.

This worked out well for us because we noticed a couple of boats around us crashing and burning. We also missed the finish line and had to circle back around which only ended up costing us about thirty seconds. We finished at about 5:30 AM.

We are happy with our third and figured the best we could have done was second in our class. For us to win we would have needed the wind to have lifted us at the Coronado Islands by about another twenty degrees and stayed at about 15 knots until we got into the bay. This way we would have had our 3A spinnaker up and sailed to our rating better.

Good times, well be back next year.

4-25-14 Update
Overall my game plan is still good. The hard part of this race will be at sunset. Between 5-6 tonight I will be to the right of the rhumb line sailing our boat at it's best speed towards the mark, VMG. Waiting for the cold from to catch us. I have to think we will get some rain and as soon as the rain clears the big breeze will be behind it. Once we get in the front it's straight to the barn door.

Like I said in my first forecast this is not going to be for the faint of heart, lets get hammered run. This is game on baby!

Notes from a weather service:

This is a major cold front and will accompanied by a few squally showers with gusts to 30-35 kts. Average wind speeds will reach 18-24 kts, if not 26 behind this cold front late evening and after midnight

This cold front will affect all boats not finishing before 0300pdt Sat

Winds will be slow to veer at the start of the race, if skies are cloudy, so I think E of RL will be favored thru 1400/1500pdt – winds will be stronger inshore and wind directions will be SE-S, which means starboard tack is favored.

Increasing sunshine or brightening skies will lead to veering/clocking winds this afternoon
  - the more sunshine we have, the faster the winds will veer
  - around or after 1500pdt, the winds will start to veer and we will need to lift off the shoreline and get further offshore
  - E of rhumb line may still have more wind speed thru 1600/1700pdt, but by and after 1700/1800pdt, RL and west of line will have more wind speed and more favorable wind directions
  - the smallest/slowest boats could see the cold front arriving from the NW as early as 1900-2100pdt

-  Winds will become very light within 5 miles of the shoreline around/after sunset this evening
   5-12 miles offshore will see winds veering thru the W into the WNW and gradually increasing, but    10-12+ miles offshore will see increasing NW winds this evening

-  The largest/fastest boats will run away from the cold front, but you will have some wind W of RL
    all of Fri night
    Winds will become very light and SE-S late evening/after midnight within 4-5 miles of the shoreline    S of San Diego
   The S winds may freshen a little bit just ahead of the cold front, around 0200-0400pdt, but I don’t think the largest/fastest boats will see the cold front until after the finish

    Boats finishing around/after 0500/0600pdt should stay offshore for as long as possible or until the cold front catches them and then ride the front right into the finish line

   The smallest/slowest boats will catch the cold front, west of RL, around/after sunset Fri and will
    be able to ride this front right to the finish line

4-24-14 Update
My game plan still has not changed. It appears the weather system has slowed and the BIG breeze will not be in until 5:00 AM. The difficult part of the race know looks to be between 8:00 PM & 2:00 AM. I will guess that when we could get rained on, then the breeze will kick in.
I will still be leaning toward the beach side of the course and sailing my best VMG between 8-2.
The boss has purchased Commanders Weather and as soon as I receive our copy I will update our plan tomorrow. 

4-23-14 Update
Todays information is showing me that the breeze will back a little earlier out of the West and the bigger breeze will not show up until 8:00 AM on Saturday. It appears we will be under twelve knots of breeze up until about 11:00 PM Friday night and then filling in to about 14-16 after 2 AM Sunday morning.

Overall my game plan still remains the same. I will have a ton of information to share with you early Friday morning. 

4-22-14 update:
Todays information is showing a nine knot breeze out of the south at the start of the race. I will be looking to stay close to rhumb as I can and will lean toward the beach at the start. This will be difficult because it often pays to sail offshore in a southerly. I will not sail perpendicular to the rhumb line.

Although I will keep my eyes open for ways to sail away from the beach and to the inside of the predicted lift. This will be difficult to get right and could last until 2:00 PM. If you notice a rival tack offshore onto port tack keep an eye on them as best as you can. If they tack back onto starboard and look like they passed you, then we have headaches. Our choice will be to dig in and take their stern our keep pushing forward and hope to keep our inside leverage. If this happens to me I will lean towards keeping my inside leverage and not be a happy camper, pissing and moaning the whole time. Trying to keep in mind I have lost this race more times by giving the inside away.

Buy 5:00 PM we should have 15 knots and on our way. Between 8:00 PM and 12:00 AM 16 knots is predicted  and after 12:00 AM 20++. Its looking like the breeze will drop close to the finish line to 12-14 Knots.

This is going to be an easy race for getting down the course. The difficulty will be keeping your boat in one piece.

I am writing this three days before race time and with the information I have it’s all about rhumb line and the shortest distance to the finish!

Extra attention needs to be given to your safety gear and your vessel’s steering system. I have double checked my steering quadrant and even have checked for chafe on the wheels chain in the pedestal. Jack lines have been run down both sides of the boat and everyone will have their safety harness on after sunset.

With our noon start, I will be staying on rhumb line or as close as I possibly can. If I am a little high of it, keeping my boat at the best possible VMG, it will not be difficult to sail back down to it when the breeze fills at twelve. By twelve o’ clock Saturday morning you will be in twenty knots of breeze and “hauling the mail.” 

Best to keep your game face on and leave the partying for your arrival. If we are lucky the bars will not be closed yet.

This will be series sailing, stay safe!   I will update this each afternoon, until Thursday.

Sea ya

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