Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Can you say HORIZON job?

From a strategy standpoint this years Ensenada race was difficult to say the least. The unstably weather threw most all the forecasting reports out the window from the privies week.

We had two weather routing forecasts and the man himself Jon Shampain trying to make sense of it all. For the first four hours of the race Jon was heard “ Why do we do this to ourselves, this is a stupid sport.”

With the wind dissipating at the start we struggled with passing Dana Point by 18:00 and the thought of dropping out of the race was on all the crews minds at this point. By 16:00, not a second too soon, the breeze filled in from the southwest and the race was on.

 As we approached the Coronado’s Shampain was leaning hard to the outside of the islands until a northeast breeze filled in across the course and we had our light #1 headsail up and going to weather. Now we are considering going inside the islands.This only lasted maybe an hour before the wind shifted back to the southwest and the Shampain’s called in a favor from the wind gods. I recall hearing Erik say “Everyone loves Shampain.”

As we rounded the outside of the islands, about a mile off, we picked up 10-15 knots of breeze that lasted through most of the last half of the course. Just as we started to clear the Coronado’s Erik called for the 2A spinnaker and as it filled you could feel the mojo role across the boat as you watched the boats speedo click into the tens.

This part of the night made for some great sailing and the talk quickly went to where was those pesky J 125’s? We had a J 145 close by along with Perry 59 we could also make out the Andrews 49.11 It’s OK.

In the early part of the morning we hooked into some breeze that allowed us to place some distance on the above mentioned boats. I kept thinking to myself how we could be sailing faster than It’s OK? In hindsight it had to have been the distance we round from the island, that Jon Shampain was asking for, and how Erik kept the moving through the night.

As the sun lifted over the horizon and we started to make out the boats around us Erik said, while lowering the binoculars from his eyes and looking towards the shore, “There is only one flat top main and that color blue hull and that’s Medicine Man.” In an Ensenada race this is the best type of morning news to hear and crew jumped into hyper drive to close the deal.

I was fried from the night and went down for my two hours off watch and when I had awaken we where entering the bay, my first thoughts where how are we keeping up with these boats? Erik had to have hit’n two more wind shifts. “The 'luckiest' puff/wind line in history let us sail into the middle of the big boats just before the finish.” Erik is quoted from his Facebook post.
We were still ahead of Medicine Man, Pyewacket was abeam of us, further in the middle of the bay, along with two Trans Pac 52’s and Bad Pac. How can this be?

We kept working hard trying to stay in the breeze and avoid the kelp in the bay and worked our way into winning the President of the United States Trophy for Best Corrected time overall in the PHRF class, Tommy Bahama Trophy for Best Corrected time for all boats, the Governor of California Trophy for Best Corrected Time in PHRF-A Class and Best Corrected Member of a Newport Beach Yacht Club Trophy.

You have to give it up to the owner John Shulze for keeping the band together and as always Jon Shampains race preparation. We had a very touching moment after receiving our awards when the previous owner Jack Taylor gave us a heart felt “Well Done” and I could see a tear in his eye with appreciation. Good times! This was a first for me.

"Even though Friday afternoon totally SUCKED; this was the BEST Ensenada race I've competed in all the races I've done sine 1974.  Thank You!" Tom O'Keefe  Horizon crew member

Buy the way I just listed a another Santa Cruz 50 if anyone wants to come out and play?

sea ya

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