Friday, April 24, 2015

Ensenada Race Weather: Race Day

Ensenada Race 2015 Recap:

1st Forecast

If you are doing the Newport Beach to Ensenada race this Friday and Saturday and wondering about the weather these are my thoughts for Monday going into Fridays race. I will be sailing on the SC 50 Horizon and will have no input on which route we will be taking and will be learning from our boats navigator. Odds are good you own a boat that rates PHRF 60 and higher, so I will give you my “seat of the pants” idea what we might be doing and what I would be thinking if I was on our J 109 that rates 69.

My seat of the pants weather routing is all done with two sources of weather information, Sail Flow and NOAA. We might get drizzled on Friday at some point and if I was navigating both boats I would be headed straight to the Coronado Islands. I will also be looking really close at the wind as we approach Coronado’s and could easily decide the shortest distance with the inside route. Not much of a help am I! Seven out of ten races I come off the starting line with my first waypoint the Coronado's and make my mind up, inside our outside when I get there.

Like most Ensenada races this race will be won in the early hours of Saturday morning. If I have decided to go outside, once I was out of the lee of the Coronado’s, I would be heading for the beach. The wind is predicted to increase and shift to the south/west by 12:00 pm on Saturday. With this thought in mind, if I was on the J 109, I would be leaning very hard to the inside at this point. As soon as the morning breeze has filled in sail your VMG’s. Good luck in the Ensenada bay just hope you finish before 6:00PM Saturday night.

2nd Forecast:

My thoughts for Tuesday going into Fridays race. Same general concept. Off the start head for the Coronado Islands. Todays forecast shows more pressure after the start and will make it easier for you to stay on rhumb line. Today, sailing the J 109 with a 69 PHRF rating, I would be leaning with one foot on the Coronado’s and forget about pushing towards the beach in the early morning. VMG once you are around the islands. With our -3 SC 50 I would be hoping we will be past the Coronado’s before the wind slows down for the evening. The bay will play a big part on this race for you, wish I could give you some advice. About all I have, is watch the boats in front of you and if you stayed on your VMG keep an eye on the boats that are coming in from Todos Santos "Outside".

3rd Forecast
Wednesday going into Fridays race. Now we know why we love this game so much it reminds us with dealing with our girlfriends/wifes just before their cycle starts. You never know what you are going to get or how much trouble you are in. TODAY it appears staying north of the rhumb line, at the start, will keep you in more pressure until the late afternoon breeze fills in. Staying in that 10 to 12 knots of breeze will be difficult and you will need to head offshore and away from the coast as fast as you can and still try to make some VMG. I will guess you will start heading back towards Coronados at this point between 18:00-24:00. Now the world as ended and we wait. In the J 109 I would look to slog it out on the inside track and not sail the extra miles and hope for the best. If I was not past the Coronado’s by 13:00 Saturday I would use the iron jenny and call it a race. Lets hope for the best.

4th Forecast
Thursday going into Fridays race observations: Off the starting line I would sail straight VMG to the finish line. The battle, with the light wind, will be starting at 23:00 Friday night and will not fill in until early afternoon on Saturday. At 23:00 Friday the wind will die, shift to the south and we will be close reaching or going up wind. I am now committed to the inside track. The westerly should start filling in late morning and by 14:00 Saturday you will be "cooking with gas" and making good time. Hope you can finish before sunset.

This is not going to be easy this year. It appears the race is a day early with the breeze filling in on Saturday. TODAY: Off the starting line I would stay north of rhumb line and as 17:00 approaches VMG towards the finish line. The big boats will probably be heading out to sea and I mean WAY out to sea. By 24:00 you will be close reach heading straight at the make with about 6knots of breeze. 3:00 Saturday if you are near the Coronados you will be doing good. It will be a struggle until mid afternoon when the westerly fills 2-3:00. From there it should be easy VMG sailing. I will be on the Santa Cruz 50 Horizon. I have a feeling we could be one of those boats that went WAY outside. How we get back to land will be interesting because it looks like we will be dead upwind of the mark with 6 knots of breeze until the westerly fills. Always know what your heading is to your navigator's next waypoint and keep looking up at the wind. THAT IS ALL!

My ETA for the 50 is 15:00 and the J 109 20:00 Saturday.

I will keep updating this post everyday. The key thing to remember is that the real way to win this race is to have the most fun with the people you are sailing with and enjoy.

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