Jan 31, 2016-Vallarta Cup Wrap Up
john pounder - jldigitalmedia
Heading for the finish
There have been three more Vallarta Cup races. We won all three although one entire race was tossed out over a race instructions flap. That was race two.
Race three went our way from the beginning. The line was heavily favored to the pin end due to a wind shift in the last ten minutes before the start. We saw the shift and decided on a pin end start on port, even practiced it once. Even though our practice run should have showed the whole fleet what we were going to do most of our competition stuck to their normal bargy starts at the boat end. It cost them around a minute and a half. We crossed on port, sailed well, and led from start to finish.
Race four was also good for us. Another pin favored line and another start on port (the race committee hasn’t been able to put enough mark boats in the water to be able to shift the pin when they need to) although this time we weren’t alone. Four boats started out there and we were a bit slow out of the gate. Rounding the weather mark third we protected the right side expecting a shift back to the right, which came eventually, and we took advantage of a big lull in the middle of the long first reach to pull into the lead. Then we fought it out with Olas Lindas the rest of the way around, finished second behind them and corrected out to first by 7 minutes over our toughest competition, Olas Lindas, and 2 minutes over Brain Waves who got second. That’s when we popped the champagne corks.
The most excitement of the race however was the last half mile to the leeward mark down by Puerto Vallarta city front. We were leading Olas but they had wheels on us and were trying to pass. I told my crew we’d hold them off as long as possible, but we expected them to get by. They actually never did on that leg. Three times they tried. First they went below us but got stopped by our wind shadow. Then they tried to go over us but we sailed high and they gave that up. Another aborted attempt below us, with the same result as the first one, and finally they got really serious and came at us hot, attempting to take our wind and roll right over us. When they became overlapped they were very close and I saw that I could probably throw a luff at them enough to hold them off one more time. I turned to them and hailed, loudly, “Coming up, Coming up, Coming up!”. Then I pushed the helm down and carved a nice turn right up into the wind to block them, which the rules allow us to do. They responded with an equally sharp turn, as I knew they would. In fact I wouldn't have done this type of maneuver if I wasn't confident of their helmsman's skills but never the less I am sure she was a little startled by how far and how quickly I took them up. When their spinnaker brushed against our rig I turned our boat away and yelled, “You fouled us, do your 360". You know, they weren’t the only people who were shocked at my maneuver. The experienced hands on our boat knew what to expect, because we been quietly talking and expecting Olas to make a run at us, but the others hadn't caught on. Our tactical conversation was quiet and the boat steady, until I hailed “Coming up.” Then, in a second all hell broke loose and there we were, two 40+ foot race boats, side by side about 10 feet apart, and nearly head to wind, with spinnakers flying and mains flapping. Then I turned the boat down and it all got quiet again. What fun.
Olas sailed away to weather and we got to the leeward mark in front of them and I think they will never try to sail over us that close again.
It was all in good fun however, when we realized we would win on corrected time we withdrew the protest. Why risk getting disqualified in a protest hearing, and anyhow, the yacht club doesn’t like protest hearings. At the awards party Linda and her crew were smiling and gracious, a far cry from what they would have been if we forced them to go the table and spend an hour arguing about who was wrong and who was right.
wingssail image-deby mantis
Now we have a month of Weds night beer can races before the Banderas Bay Regatta comes up in March. We hope to have some new sails by then.
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Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huancaxtle.