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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

March 25, The Fantastic Regatta-Banderas Bay Regatta, 2018

deborah webster image
Happy Owners

On the first race there was a moment, sudden realization, on the first part of the first beat, when I felt joy and satisfaction; when I realized we were fast. Definitely fast.

We had climbed out from underneath the Express 37 even before they were called back for being OCS and we had clear air and a lane. We had already started to put our bow out in front of the other boats and I felt it was time to make a move. The right looked to pay so I said, ‘I want to go to the right.’

Richard answered, ‘OK, we can tack when you want.’

‘I’m going…ready about.’


The crew scrambled and we tacked, and one by one the other boats followed.

The moment came after we tacked:

As we settled in on the long port tack, I got into a rhythm with the boat and the waves. I felt myself begin to rock back and forth with the motion of the boat as I worked the tiller. I glued my eyes to the tell-tales and I spoke to the crew,

‘Hike the boat.’

Twelve people moved farther out. The speedo showed 7 knots.

The water streamed past the hull and the wind was blowing through the rig, otherwise there was no sound. In the flawless blue sky the sunlight glared with a brilliance and the tell-tales on the jib danced, and the boat speed climbed to 7.47 knots. Very good.

Richard looked around.

‘We’ve got wheels on Bright Star.’ he said. The white boat was nearest and we all measured our speed against them. I took a glance. They were jogging along on our hip but I could see they were sagging down to our line and we were definitely faster. And Bright Star was faster than everyone else.

A year’s preparation had paid off. All the work and the pain, the successes along the way and the defeats, the setbacks…they were all worth it to feel the way I felt at that moment as we worked our way out in front. This was a good feeling, a very good feeling.

So Banderas Bay Regatta was underway and we were doing well.

Of course the faster boats eventually broke free but we held on and stayed close and finished close enough to win, a convincing win; minutes, not seconds.

I informed the crew. There was jubilation. Judy broke out champagne. A bit early I thought, after all it was only the first race, but it was OK. I let the crew enjoy the win.

I felt some confidence about the regatta; this was not a close race. If we could do this our prospects were good for the next two races.

Day two was tougher. Not the competition, the conditions. It blew like stink.

The course took us over to La Cruz, our old stomping ground, and the breeze was up: over 20 knots. We had the big carbon genoa on for the reach across and we stayed with it for the beat. Maybe the J-4 would have been better but the beat was short and we were ahead so I kept up the 1 not wanting to risk a change. The boat was on edge however, maybe over the edge. We were carrying too much sail. The main was flat and waving uselessly and still I needed it eased further to relieve the pressure on the helm. I called, ‘Traveler down’ and Richard pushed it down with his foot. The helm eased but the main flogged worse.

I told Richard, ‘Crank a little more runner on.’

It was already past the mark but he brought it in another inch and the main took on some shape and settled down. That was better.

The next leg was a tight, windy, reach back to Nuevo Vallarta and we set the A1 kite, like the boats ahead. The wind was too much and everyone was rounding up. The powerful sail we set began to round us up too, then it collapsed and refilled with a shocking bang. A few more times this happened then it blew with a bang louder than the rest and the boat suddenly stood up. I looked and the spinnaker was high in the sky off the side of the boat with no tack on it. That part was hanging in shreds on the bow.

‘Get the jib back up.’ It went up immediately as the blown kite was gathered in. We lost a little time, but not much.

After that we had a good run and a clean finish. We checked the times: it was closer, it had to be, but we had another win and we drank champagne again. We knew we were in good shape to win the regatta, we just had to hang in there.

The third race was more of the same. Lots of sun and wind. This time we only got a fair start, behind Bright Star but still ahead of the others, and good enough. We got clear of Bright Star who went left but as we felt the wind would go right we tacked and it paid off and we rounded the top mark first for the third time in a row.

The A1 had been hurriedly repaired overnight and we put it up. It blew again almost immediately.

Now we felt it was time to be conservative. With two wins we could ease off a bit. We had another kite but we held off and didn’t use it. We watched to see if Bright Star would make a move from behind but they didn’t threaten.

On the final run the Class A boats ahead had troubles with their spinnakers and we held off on ours. Maybe we were gun shy; maybe we just knew it didn’t matter.

This time Sirocco was ahead by enough time to beat us, though by only six seconds, but enough. So we were at least second. We watched Bright Star and all the others come in behind us, watching our clocks. We had our time on all of them so we had second place and that was enough to win the regatta.

It was a happy crew on board Wings as we sailed back to our marina.

So that was it. The race was in the bag. We’d won. We worked hard for this win, a year hard. There was money spent, plenty of it, and some long hours in boat prep, and, to be honest, maybe some hard feelings done, particularly about the ratings and class breaks on which I’d had more than a few blunt words with the race organizers and our competitors. And in crew selection. I’d made some changes, brought in some new people, changed some roles. But it all worked. And in the end, I have to say, it was worth it. Just that feeling on the first beat when I realized how fast we were made it all worth it.

I don’t know about next year, maybe we’ll never achieve this level again. I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, but this year, we did it.

lynne mazzie image
Clear Ahead

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Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz

Great Crew:
Paul Bailey and Carol Dabub, fordeck, steady, competent, always ready.
Kelly Mantis, Mast man, a tower of strength.
Carol (Bling) Dand and Robin Hirsh, Halyards, and all those ropes in the pit all got let in and out as they were needed. Great job.
Rod Dand, Dennis Mazzie, and Jimmy Roser, sail trim and grinding. These guys were awesome, grinding in the huge carbon genoa over and over and they managed the spinnakers and the lines like pros. Jimmy did his job and somehow managed to be instantly on top of every problem in time to keep it from being a problem.
Richard Hodge, Main and tactics, and runners and hydraulics, quiet and solid and called the start and every layline.
John Ryan, Navigator, coped with an extraordinarily difficult tactical computer and managed to keep it all together, called the lines, timed the starts, knew the rules and this year we never went to a wrong mark. Thanks John.
Judy and Lynne Britton, Runners, but more than that, watched the whole boat like a pair of hawks and prevented countless errors. Lynne joined Robin and repacked the kites.
A special word to John Ryan for tireless fight with the navigation computer, for his contribution, the MVP award.
And to Jimmy, for being everywhere when we needed him.
Most of all Judy, our foundation, our watchdog, our mom.
I love all of you.

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Blogger lil sis said...

Once again I feel the race through your words. Wonderful words. Wonderful guys are all lucky to have the spirit of togetherness with one goal, to win.
Congrats to. You all.
lol sis

14 April, 2018 13:01  

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