Well, we kind of knew this one could hurt a little bit. There were signs. Twenty-four hours into the 2018 San Diego to Puerto Vallarta Race, and we are feeling the pain. We are headed south in Division 4, a mix of boats from 46 feet (us) to 65. It's a fairly diverse group featuring on one end a J/65 and a Swan 60, and on our end our 'little' DK46, Cazan. Alas, it is not a good year to be the slow boat in the class.
Peter Isler said at the weather briefing for our starting day on Friday, "Well, you guys got the short straw." He was referring to the fact that the class that started on Thursday was experiencing great conditions, and the fact that it was looking pretty good for the Saturday starters. Friday was, well, very 'Friday.' It was going to be light, and shifty and variable. So we were pleased when the sea-breeze managed to push in for a bit, enough to get us out of SD Bay and heading south on a beautiful afternoon. We went from the #1 Jib to the Jib Top, and late at night we were actually able to get the 3A spinnaker up.
So things were looking ok.... as expected, the bigger and faster boats were pulling away a bit, but we were happy with things. But, of course, that when IT happened... the 'light and variable' conditions that we knew were in wait for us played its hand. We stopped. We drifted. We dropped our spinnaker and put up our windseeker. And we still drifted. Occasionally we would get a touch of breeze, a little bit to work and play with and get us inching south, but then it would be gone again... at one point, I think our boatspeed read 0.00 for over 90 minutes straight.
Now that in itself was frustrating enough. But then in the afternoon when were able to pull position reports and learn that all the other boats in our class had been able to get south fast enough to stay in the breeze, well that was just insult on top of injury! Yeah, it seem that ourselves and the Division 6 boat Fractions were the unlucky ones for this round.
Ok, that's enough of the bad news. Now the good stuff (and there is plenty of it): The moon out here is fantastic. It's a wonderfully clear night and we are making tracks south in a strange, light, but fairly stable, SW breeze. The boat is sailing and working great. Cazan really is a nice boat to sail, and we were really pleased with her speed in the reachy conditions we had when exiting SD Bay. And finally (and most importantly, I would venture to say), the team is getting along great. As is typical of our J/World training programs, we have a couple of repeat clients, but most of the crew are new this time around. The learning curve has been steep and the conditions certainly far more challenging than usual, but it hasn't phased anyone. I think everyone is learning the boat and getting acclimated, and we are ready to catch some of these boats (they didn't fire me as navigator for stumbling into that hole.... yet, at least... but I might quit before that!).
Ok, I think that's it for now. More soon....