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.

4-21-14
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

Friday, April 25, 2014

Five Walters and a Dumbass?



Have you ever watched the ventriloquist comedian Jeff Dunham when he is doing a routine with his puppet, Walter. The character is described as an old curmudgeon who says whatever we’re afraid to say because he just doesn’t care anymore.

When I was making my way around the harbor this week I had a chance to stop by and talk to a few of my favorite old curmudgeons. Now picture a group of Walters, sitting in a semicircle, being interviewed with only their silhouette being exposed to protect their identity and they all have Walters voice.

One of the first topics we talked about was getting our boats ready for inspection for our yacht clubs opening day. “I remember when just one or two inspectors came on board.  Now the inspectors have check lists and are asking if our flash light batteries have expired or if we have wasabi in the refer. This opening day thing is a real pain, I am not sure if I am going to get my boat ready this year.” He then turns and looks at his boat partner and reminded him to bring down the ditch bag (abandoned ship bag) for inspection. After a long concerning rub of the face he asks the question. “Does anyone know how to properly dispose of expired marine flares?” Everyone looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders. One of the curmudgeons said “You should throw them in a beach fire pit.”

The next topic we talked about was the mayor and the floating docks. One of the guys looks over at me and raises an eyebrow and asks “you mean our boating mayor?” with skepticism inflicted in his voice. The topic was discussed at some length and was received better than I thought it would be. The idea of a floating work dock for mooring permit holders seemed like a good idea, but overall the floating dock concept was not passing the mustard and still needed to be proven before these guys would buy into it. Just then someone said “Why won’t the city do more for the mooring permit holders? They should take those dingy racks, over at Basin Marina, the ones that have been sitting empty for the last two years and take them over to 15th street where someone will use them.”


I brought up the subject of the water taxis and again was surprised that most of these old guys liked the idea. “Will they have a senior citizen discount?” one asked. Another one of the guys said, “ Doug West is a sharp man and I recall that he recommended that if the city is going to give this a trial run they should use four boats not just one.” Doug West is the Harbor Commissioner that is chairing this Ad Hoc Committee. One of the old Walters sat up in his seat and said “I will use the water taxi all the time to get home from Sunday afternoons at the American Legion.” I laughed out load at that comment and was quickly reprimanded with a face scowl and the rising of one very big gray eyebrow. This guy just called me a dumbass without saying a word.

I really wanted to get the guys grumbling at me, so I brought up the topic of replacing sea walls and the idea of the tidal gates. This was an interesting topic because some of these old guys do not believe the sea level is rising. “I read that the south pacific island of Nauru reports the the sea level is decreasing. This whole idea of the sea level raising is nothing other than turtle poop.” he explained with great conviction. The guy that was sitting to the right of me leaned back in his chair and said “ You understand son that those seawalls have been around for sometime now and have never once failed. Other than that one time in 1983, there is nothing wrong with our sea walls.”  I thought I’d get a heated argument when I asked about the concept of a tidal gate being placed at the entrance of our harbor. Just then one of the Walters leans forward and says “ The concept of a tidal gate will solve all of these sea water rising issues in our harbor and makes the most sense to me.” I really was not expecting that type of comment from this group.


I am not sure but as I left for my next appointment I could have sworn that I heard someone say I’ll sea ya latter dumbass.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Harbor Report: Getting prepped for Ensenada race

Linstar in last year's Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race. (Len Bose, Daily Pilot / April 18, 2014)

By Len Bose
April 18, 2014 | 2:51 p.m.

The Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race is quickly approaching, and I thought it might be interesting to offer my thoughts on preparing for the race and discuss race strategy.
In preparing the boat, my first thoughts are always about weight and keeping the boat as light as possible. We sail a 35-foot J 109 that rates 69 in Performance Handicap Racing Fleet (PHRF) and only needs five crew members to be competitive.
To keep the weight down, I empty all the water tanks on the boat and bring only bottled water. We bring food for one breakfast, two lunches and one dinner. Chocolate candy, chips and cookies make up our snack list. I request that the crew refrain from bringing their own food.
All the food is placed in the galley, and I put all the soda and beer in an ice chest and place it next to the mast. Also around the mast are our tool kit, anchors, anchor chain rode and whatever we are using as a life raft. Sails are also kept in the middle of the boat and stacked to whichever side of the boat we want the weight.
We keep 14 gallons of diesel in the fuel tank and make sure we have emptied the holding tanks properly before race day. When we go into our night watch, everyone is asked to sleep in the middle of the boat.
Regarding the night watch, make sure you start one. Pending the weather conditions, we will keep three crew on deck. With one crew member changing out every hour, that's a two-hour power nap and you are back at it. Every 30 minutes we rotate crew positions to keep all the crew on watch alert.
Our routine is that the two watch captains are never off watch at the same time. When we rotate out we discuss true wind direction and the numbers that keep us on the favored course to the mark. Both watch captains understand when we need to change sails to obtain the best performance.


My strategy revolves around the wind strength and staying on the "rhumb line," which is the path of shortest distance between two points. As we get about four days from the start I will take a glance at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and SailFlow websites and start to fine-tune my strategy. I have overthought this race way too many times, and it always comes down to some basic tactics.
If it appears to be a moderate breeze that is forecasted to die at night, I will place my first waypoint at the Coronado Islands. If the wind appears that it might hold through the night, I will sail inside of the islands. If it looks like we will have a very long night, I will sail outside of the islands. Big, fast boats can sail great distances and hunt out the wind offshore while smaller boats have to stay on the rhumb line and hope for the best.

The race is won or lost as night falls and crew members start to get cold and tired. Extra effort has to be given to sailing your boat at its best performance to the wind's strength. All your attention is placed staying in the breeze and watching the wind direction. The navigator who can do all the above and keep the boat sailing the best angle toward the finish line wins the race to San Miguel.
I have never figured out how to get to the finish line in a dying breeze from San Miguel. All you can do is hope for the best and keep your eyes open. If you see a group of boats ahead of you stopped, sail the other direction and keep looking for the wind. Always make the effort to have the proper sails up and keep looking for more wind.
If your plan works out and you are a 30-foot boat around a lot of 50-foot boats then you have done it. If you missed the wind in San Miguel like I did last year, there is always the party to look forward to and next year's race.
Stop by my blog at lenboseyachts.blogspot.com to review other notes I have made. On Thursday night I'll post my take on the weather.
Sea ya around the pool.

LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

NOTES:
I do allow beer but that’s it regarding alcohol. We bring two twelve pack’s of some type of soda and instant coffee.

Each crew member is asked only to bring the bear minimum of crew gear. Personal safety gear is always welcome aboard, but I do draw the line and ask our crew members not to bring their dive gear.

Regarding the five minute rule when changing sails. I have always leaned towards changing sails as soon as I feel the wind is picking up. If the wind is dying down and I am uncertain that this is a continued trend, I will allow five minutes to pass by before committing on changing sails.

If we feel we are getting out of faze and have a question we always wake the watch captain up to review our options.

Coronado Islands: Our boat fits in the middle and we do have to sail some of those extra miles in the lighter conditions.

On a side note, I had always called it a “rum line”, before writing this story, and assumed it was the shortest distance to the bar at the finish line.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Harbor Report: Loosening the belt again at boat show


2014 Baldwin Cup

By Len Bose
April 11, 2014 | 2:46 p.m.

I am writing my column aboard a 757 headed to Miami in an effort to sell a 2009 Tiara 3900 power boat. As I review the boat's specification sheet, in preparation for the boat's inspections, my mind returns to a few of the observations I noticed around the harbor last week.
Miami Harbor

I started at the Newport Beach boat show at Lido Village, and one of the first things I noticed was that most of the yacht brokers I have worked with over the past 25 years have all gotten older and seem to be pulling their pants higher.
Now, this could be because yacht sales have been rather depressed over the past seven years and we all have had to tuck in our shirts and tighten up our belts. After last week's show, I felt that for the first time in a long time, I can let my belt out a notch or two.
From my perspective, this spring's show appeared to have more yachts and prospective buyers than I have seen in a long time. For some time now, our harbor brokerage inventory has receded faster than my hairline. As I walked around the show, I was encouraged by the increase in inventory being presented by a number of Southern California new-boat sales representatives. In my business, seeing new boats being commissioned in our local shipyards is a good thing.
I was working the show at the Pacific Yachting Club display, where we exceeded our sales goals by obtaining more new members than we had expected and were well received throughout the yachting community with the introduction of our power boat club.
It was also very encouraging to have as many readers stop by and say hello and tell me how much they enjoy reading my stories. I was asked questions about everything from eelgrass to tidal gates. One reader even said, "You make it so much easier for me to stay informed about our harbor. Thank you."
Any time I receive compliments like that, I am good for a couple more years writing about our harbor.
                                                                               *
Brian Dougherty J 105 LEGACY 

Last Saturday, team Linstar, the sailboat I race on, participated in the BYC 66 series. This was the second of five races in the Newport Beach High Point Series. Brian Dougherty's J105 Legacy sailed another good race and has taken over the lead in the series. At this point, we have a three-way tie for second among Tango, Amante and Adios.
Out on the water, it's starting to feel more like spring with cool, crisp, strengthening westerly breezes rolling down our coast, which will make the upcoming Ensenada race that much more exciting.
This year's Baldwin Cup felt more like an America's Cup than ever before. The intensity and the excitement of four-on-four team racing kept me at the edge of my seat. I knew all the names of our local skippers and crews, and when they walked by me on the Newport Harbor Yacht Club docks, it felt like I was back in the media center during a press conference at last year's America's Cup.
I have one shout-out that has to be given to Jennifer Lancaster, Justin Law and Nick Steele. While I was walking back to my car after the Baldwin Cup, I looked out over the harbor and noticed the winds had picked up to close to 20 knots. Just then, two inexperienced Hobie 16 sailors, with the boat's main battens hanging out of its sail, flipped over and sent the skipper and crew into the cold water.
After they struggled to right their boat for some time, it quickly became apparent that they were in big trouble. Just then, after a long hard week of racing, Lancaster, Law and Steele hopped into one of the club's inflatables and helped the sailors return safely to shore.
Next time you see one of these three, please say, "Well done," because going that extra mile and helping distressed sailors is what makes this harbor so great.
Sea ya.

LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

The Harbor Report: The birth of springtime events

Pacific Yachting Club aboard the Tiara 3100 She's Happy Now. (Len Bose / April 4, 2014)


By Len Bose
April 4, 2014 | 1:11 p.m.

You have to love spring in Newport Harbor, where everything seems to happen all at once.
My first stop this week was at Newport Harbor Yacht Club to check in on the Baldwin Cup Team race, running through Sunday. This event actually started weeks ago with more than 150 volunteers who work on everything from the pit crew to housing the participants.
All of the club members' boats, which are usually berthed in front of the club on moorings, have been removed along with the mooring balls. This provides the event with an almost-stadium effect for spectators. The course brings the boats close to the main dock, where commentators describe the play-by-play. And let's not forget about the 25-cent draft beers.
Of course, I am very interested on how the pilot of the Frisbee-sized drone will perform while streaming the racing over the Internet. This could be a big breakthrough for the sport of sailing, as big as the table camera was in professional poker.
*
Come see us at the boat show
I will be following the racing from my Baldwin Cup phone app while working the 41st annual Newport Boat Show at Lido Village, which runs through Sunday. Ralph Rodheim and I will be introducing the Pacific Yachting Club aboard the Tiara 3100, "She's Happy Now."
"Pacific Yachting Club makes luxury yachts available to its members for a fraction of what boat charters or ownership cost," Rodheim explained to the club with a press release this week. "PYC does all the work, which gives members more time to enjoy boating. Members can cruise around the bay, have a dockside meal or go up the coast, or to Catalina Island, for an overnight stay. The Pacific coastline offers a variety of memorable experiences. The new club is being launched with a Tiara 3100 and Deluxe Duffy 21.
"These two popular vessels provide the versatility, comfort and quality PYC will be known for. The fleet will grow in number and size over time. Plans are being made for establishing Pacific Yachting Clubs up and down the Pacific Coast and possibly inland waterways and lakes."
Rodheim contacted me more than a month ago to go over this concept of a power boat club and to ask whether there might be any demand. I felt very strongly that there will be a huge demand for the new boater who is unsure if the boating lifestyle will work for their family.
Please stop by the show and say hello to me and Ralph. Be sure to enter our raffle to use the club's Duffy for a couple of hours.
*
A tip on the Ensenada TIP
For those of you who are just getting started in preparation for this year's Ensenada race, I have found the best way to deal with the Mexico Temporary Import Permit, or TIP.
If you are like me, you looked at NOSA web page and noticed that you needed this permit. Then you thought, "Yeah, right, I am just going to pass on this race." Then a couple of days went by and the thought of missing the race started to take effect and you looked at the application again.
Now just pick up the phone and call Joan Irvine at Romero's Mexico Service at (949) 548-8931. She will make this easy for you and keep you on the race course.
Now, take another deep sigh and don't invent reasons not to go on the race.
The TIP permit has been around for a long time. You just need to make sure your boat's hull number/VIN number is fixed in the bilge and matches what's on your documentation certificate or DMV registration.
What I plan on doing is calling Sign Depot at (949) 645-4123 and have them make me an engraved plastic plate, the size of a name badge, and then epoxy it in the bilge. The permit can only be in the name of the owner or a relative of the owner.
If the boat is registered with an LLC, the permit can be issued to anyone. The permit is good 10 years; don't lose it because it cannot be reissued. Next time you are on your boat make sure to check your VIN number and write down the serial number that's on your engine. You can complete your TIP permit process within three days.
This has nothing to do with your TIP permit; just remember not to bring any fishing gear. If you do, you will need more permits. If you have a Single Side Band radio you will need to show your ship station license. The whole process is very simple, and I can feel a windy race in the near future.
Sea ya.

LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.