CHASING THE WIND on the "Border Run Race"
By H. Terry Wepsic, Huntington Beach CA, Untied States.
All of the preparations had been made. The boat was residing at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club in Newport Beach, CA, after a fairly routine motor sail from her home in San Diego. Of course, we were going against the prevailing northwest winds off the Pacific coast. My partner Gregg and I are experts at going to weather, using our trusty Yanmar diesel engines. Razzle Dazzle has spent a lot of time against the “noserlies” (wind on the nose) as we fondly called them.
Our crew was well prepared, with boat partner Gregg, and racers Ed and Chuck, each with greater than 30 years experience. We had enrolled Kevin, our secret weapon, who was a new partner and catamaran sailor of many years as our guru on sail trim. Gregg, our tech guy, had routes marked and you could feel Razzle Dazzle tugging at her lines waiting to get to the race course.
It was a long race to San Diego and only one long start line for about 200 boats to start. We were in the XS class for catamarans and other “fast” multihulls. The wind was predicted to be a little light but out of the west so we all felt confident that we would be able to finish the race in reasonable time. Boy, were we wrong. Mother Nature was in charge and she decided to teach these sailors a lesson in patience.
There is a rather famous book called, Gentlemen, Never Sail to Weather. I forget what lessons it talked about, but I probably need a copy on the boat for reference. The winds became quite light, on the nose out of the south and very often non-existent during the evening hours. Razzle Dazzle seemed to be in pain as we did tack after tack through 100 degrees and often were making negative speed forward toward the finish line. Our track on the Garmin was painful to watch, and looked like a drunken sailor was in charge of this operation.
The good news was we were on our very comfortable Seawind 1160, with two wonderful beds, we had plenty of food and beverages. We had a great crew that never once talked about mutiny, or killing the blagard who signed up for the race (me). No one suggested turning on the engines to get Razzle Dazzle back to her slip in San Diego. We set up a watch schedule that should have been referred to as “Your Personal Hour of Torture,” brought to you by “Lack of Wind.” We were all able to get sufficient cat naps to dream of sailing fast on the rum line, even though that was impossible with the current conditions.
I knew the race would end at 1400 on Sunday, March 11, so I could see a slowly creeping finite end to the race. I still cannot believe it, but we finished the race with about 40 minutes to spare. We crossed the finish line with Kevin’s recently purchased sail from Minnie’s Marine Surplus of Newport Beach. It’s a great looking red gennaker advertising Mexican beer. To our surprise, we had trophied and finished first in our division, with just one other boat completing the course.
The key to our success was having a patient and well-fed crew. Having a very comfortable boat to rest in when you were not on watch. Having a current to push us along when the winds were dead. Memories were created for all of us, but I still wish the wind had been out of the West.