Archive for June, 2013

Coastal Cup Trip Report

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Coastal Cup 2013 Trip Report. S/V Quixote. USA 7022.

We got to the course about 90 minutes early and after checking in, we were able to get a few current checks and get the upwind angles dialed-in. This was key, since a couple key members of the crew had never sailed on the boat before. We decided to start with the #1 genoa.

At the start, wind was 10-12 WNW and (after a hurried discussion), we decided to hit the line on port tack. We really wanted to be heading out to the center of the bay for relief as early as possible with the least bad air. We were the only boat with this strategy. We ducked five and crossed one boat.

From the Golden Gate Bridge

We had an exciting moment as a couple boats tacked on top of us as we ducked them, but we had the momentum and power to sail through in their lee and come out as the right-most boat. Good start.

We led our fleet out the gate in 8-10 knots of NW breeze, headed into the Kirby cove area, then worked out the middle of the channel with the fast boats (SC37 and 1D35) up ahead showing us the shifts. We avoided the doldrums that killed us in the Duxship.

Turning South

We rounded R8 with the usual discussion about when to hoist. We watched a boat ahead of us pop a code zero (or similar) and start getting pulled down into Montara, and decided to continue reaching SW for a while and wait for the wind or the course to favor a set.

Before the race, we had told ourselves that our one rule on the downwind leg was going to be the outside boat, but we second-guessed ourselves and as we watched, the Cal 40 Azure and our other competition kept heading out, and eventually ended up 5+ miles to the west of us… Nice move by them that would later pay off big-time.

We hoisted the kite as we passed Pacifica and headed almost due South as the wind built to a consistent 21-24 NW breeze.

Running down the coast

We started watches and sailed until around 8PM when we decided to swap for a smaller kite. Aboard Quixote, this means a bareheaded swap to an old-ass, bright orange, .6 ounce narrow-shouldered tri-radial of unknown provenance. As Kelly said when we hoisted, “That’s the ugliest spinnaker I’ve ever seen”.

Tuesday Evening Sunset

We sailed through the night with the ugly kite up in winds that built to high twenties gusting to 30s. Boat speeds were excellent, with me, Bengt, and Kelly swapping speed records in the 14 and 15 knot range. Unfortunately, the narrow-shouldered ugly kite proved to be pretty unstable on a run, and combined with slight sloppy seas, we suffered a couple round-ups. The worst led to a 5-layer burrito wrap while I was off watch. I came on deck and luckily we were able to sustain sailing deep enough to trick it into unwrapping without resorting to “douse by flaregun” or some other radical measure. Great helming by Kelly as it’s no easy trick to sail by the lee in 25 knots, at night, in confused seas, while making 11 knots boat speed!

Midnight off Pt. Sur.

Around 4:30 in the morning, we damaged the pole-tip during another round-up, doused, hoisted the #1 genny again, and gybed in toward Pt. Arguello. We all felt that we had overstood and gotten too far out to sea during the night’s run. Big mistake. Little did we know that Azure was still 10 miles to the West, and kept sailing all morning a 20 knot breeze. Looking at the yellowbrick tracker after the race, they averaged 1.5 knots more speed throughout. Ouch.

At noon, we gybed back out (by this time flying the good kite with the pole tip jury rigged to the mast) but at 1700 we saw Azure coming out of the mists about 5 miles behind us and definitely in the lead on corrected time! The wind backed west and we raced down the Santa Barbara channel, pulling slowly ahead while giving a few more round-up lessons to the team behind us.

Kelly and I had spent a lot of time looking at the local GRIB files, had discussed our route extensively before and during the race, and were determined, based on past experience and local advice, to avoid sailing all the way through the Santa Barbara channel.

Course through the Channel Islands

At about 10PM, the wind had died to about 10-11 knots and we executed our navigation plan of splitting Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands. We almost immediately saw winds in the 17-18 knot range as the channel compressed the breeze. Out on the other side, we (okay, me) were briefly confused by fishing boat traffic, but settled into a groove sailing due West in ever-lightening wind.

Crew to Leeward

By morning, we had pulled up even with Anacapa Island, but the wind had died nearly completely. As we scanned the horizon constantly for the competition, Brian busted out hot mushroom quiche and fresh coffee, we doused the sagging chute, and I pulled out our secret weapon—a wire-luffed Dazy Staysail!

With the the Dazy set and Bengt on the helm, we were able to keep at least one knot of forward motion throughout the morning. Even more than our course through the islands, this light-air performance is what got us back in the race.

Key to Santa Barbara racing

By noon, the wind had built back to the mid-teens, and we had a beautiful sail across Santa Monica bay, and crossed the slightly confusing finish line second overall across both classes. Bengt noted that I called for the douse a bit early, and (rightfully) didn’t let me forget it until the first beer was opened. It turned out that none of our competition had followed us through the islands, and we covered the handicap over Azure to win the division. For a while, we were first overall, until the Santa Cruz 70 Retro (starting a day later and sailing down in gale force winds) showed us what it really means to haul ass.

Shane blisses out

We were welcomed very nicely by the Del Rey YC, and met the other racers as they came in. Everyone from our fleet proved to be great sports, and very gracious about the “new guys” winning. It was a small fleet, but top-tier racers throughout, including some Coastal and Pac cup winners in the mix.

Great crew, great racing.

With a Bullet

Monday, June 17th, 2013

We took first in division and second overall in the 2013 Coastal Cup. Full write-up on the way.

Bengt, Jean-Ray, Shane, Shana, Jon, Brian, Kelly

iPad Navigation

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Recommended by Bob at, the standard iMux combines AIS data from any AIS receiver or transponder with GPS and NMEA instrument data and transmits the combined data stream via WiFi to the iPad or a computer.