"On the Water" Perspective

by John Kocol <jkocol@mercator.com>
Date: Sun, 26 Mar 2000

From the "on the water" perspective, it was a light to moderate air race and very easy and pretty sailing. The wind stayed pretty much at 260 degrees with 10 degree shifts throughout the morning and mid-day. Aside from the localized flood at the multihull start, it was one of the easiest escapes from the Bay and shipping channel that I have ever sailed. Once we got outside, the water got a little choppy and made it harder to sail in the lighter breezes (we sailed with lots of twist in the main and an open slot). About two miles west of the light bucket, the water flattened out and we literally had smooth sailing in about 6 -10 knots of breeze. Within three miles of SE Farallone, the wind increased to 8 - 12 knots. Unlike last year, there was no noticeable current around the islands. I could be wrong, but I believe the left (south) side of the course was favored, with an outbound ebb tide pushing us at about 3 knots. It was the most noticeable, 6 to 8 miles out. The guys who went North along the coast may have missed the current. In the light air, the division one leaders were so far ahead, that my assessment may not be applicable to the conditions they were sailing in.

On the return trip and as expected, the wind filled in a little more closer to the shore and we encountered the typical rollers coming off the Potato Patch (foot the crests, climb the troughs to try to keep the boat on a plane). We passed the lead 15 boats (except BC) that reached the island before us, within the first 8 miles of SE Farallone. We tried (like crazy) to catch Blue Chip, but she had such an enormous lead that we just ran out of water/race. When we rounded SE Farallone, she had what we estimate to be about a 6 to 8 mile lead on us. Considering the kind of boats that she was sailing against (based on PHRF numbers) and the size of her lead, Blue Chip sailed a spectacular race. She was so far ahead upwind, that I really don't know if she went North or not. Should be interesting to see how the handicaps shake out.

The light (and lumpy [first 14 miles from the shore]) conditions made it hard for us smaller multi's to pace or overtake the big mono's with taller rigs and greater waterline. Although we wanted line honors, we were pleased to have finished where we did-

It should be noted that we sailed from the last start (time lag between first and last starters) and the conditions will inevitably vary on a course this size. For the F Boat crowd, the conditions were borderline for use of the "screecher" and we opted not to use it (a decision I may regret when the handicaps are tabulated). A larger headsail may have made a small difference. Had we used it, we would have been overpowered (on an F25C) when the wind exceeded 10 knots.

John Kocol
"Ja Mon" F25C
Multihull (PHRF # negative 45)

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