Tag: club racing

Makani’s First Singlehanded Race and Second Club Race.

Makani’s First Singlehanded Race and Second Club Race.

Sausalito Yacht Club’s Midwinters, February 5th Race.

The weather looked a little more favorable for this race compared to the first one.  Wind out of the Southwest at 10-15 knots, with a strong ebb at the start.  In preparing to singlehand I went out the week before the race and pre-marked the Choker line and Topping Lift to make it a little easier for me once the race was under way. Of course these were approximate trim markings and still had to be fined tuned out on the course.

With our 174 PHRF rating and the NorCal YRA rule that Nonsuch’s and Wylie Cats have to race in Spinnaker Classes, we were set to start in the Spinnaker Class C.  The other C class boats rated from 120 to 145!

Running the line
Running the Line.

I had my tablet mounted by the wheel with a good Countdown Timer app set up.  I ran the line a couple of times to get my timing down and did a pretty good job of hitting the line when our class flag went up.

The only problem was that I was at the pin end and the current was taking me away from the first mark.

Pin end start.

And as you can see, I’m not pointing nearly as well as the International One Design, one of the boats I’m racing against. Thanks to these very helpful pictures taken by a great photographer on the RC boat, Roxanne Fairbairn, I see that the sail could be sheeted in a little more, maybe drop the Wishbone a touch,  and pull the Choker tighter to get the top batten pointing back more instead of out.

Course 11
SYC Course 11

The Race Committee sent us out on Course 11–one beat across the bay from Angel Island to Crissy Field then a run back to the finish.  The story of the race was losing a lot of ground to the other class boats on the beat due to poorly using the ebb and not pointing well.  But we did make up time on the run back to the finish!

Crossing the Finish Line

A total of five classes were racing, three Spinnaker and two Non-Spinnaker.  25 boats in all were out there, four in our Spinnaker class.  We came in 4th.  However, all the classes raced the same course, so based on corrected time we would have come in 2nd in the appropriate Non-Spinnaker class!

Heading home
Heading home.

I’m still learning a lot about the boat and racing singlehanded was an additional learning experience.  Every race gets me a little sharper on sail trim and tactics, and racing alone is a total immersion experience–complete concentration every second.

My Nonsuch 30U again proved herself to be everything I hoped for and I will definitely race singlehanded again!

Makani’s First San Francisco Race

Makani’s First San Francisco Race

Sausalito Yacht Club’s Chili Midwinters

With a PHRF 0f 174 on San Francisco Bay, the Nonsuch is definitely not a racing boat.  But that doesn’t mean it can’t be raced.  And I’m not talking about as a One Design–that’s a whole other kettle of fish. How would it do in a Handicap race?

Makani is fitted out for cruising.  The biggest drawback to racing is that she has a 35# anchor on her bow and 300′ of chain in the chain locker.  A lot of weight.  If this were a traditional design it would be easier enough to open the chain locker and pull out the chain before a race.  Can’t do that on a Nonsuch.  I could use the windlass and run out the chain on the dock and put it in the dock box, and I may do that in the future, but I didn’t do that for now.

The other drawback is that the YRA here stipulates that Nonsuches and Wylie Cats must race in the Spinnaker class.  Boats in that class are usually more fitted out for racing that cruising.

With all that being taken into consideration, after serving on the Sausalito Yacht Club Race Committee for over ten races, I felt it was time to sail Makani in one of the club’s races.  They have a Spring Series and Summer Series on Tuesday nights and a Midwinter Series on Sundays.  The Spring and Summer are in typical blustery San Francisco Bay conditions.  The Midwinters are in typical Winter SF Bay conditions–unpredictable, usually light, and stronger than usual tides and currents.

I chose to enter the second Midwinter which was on Sunday, December 4. We were in the Spinnaker Class for boats with a PHRF rating over 100. My son Jason agreed to race with me. As promised in the Midwinter’s, at Noon, the time of the first gun, there was no wind.

Jason at Makani’s helm relaxing before the warning signal. Golden Gate Bridge and Marin headlands in background.

After one hour and 20 minutes the Postpone signal went down and the first class to race got its warning.  We are the third class to go off (SYC uses rolling starts). Unfortunately for us, there was also a strong flood that pushed us too far away from the line.  Even with the engine on we couldn’t get close enough to the line before our warning and turning off the engine.  We started six minutes late in light air.



VERY SLOW tack to finally cross the Start Line

Big lesson from the first upwind leg: in light air don’t try to point too high.  It seems to be much better to foot off a little for better speed even though you may add distance. It was very disheartening to see a sloop rigged 30 footer with a similar rating blow past us upwind.  But then came the good news: we were great downwind.  We sailed a rhumb line course from the windward mark to the jibe mark at a decent speed. No jibing necessary and sailed the shortest possible course.

Makani in the fleet.

As we made the turn to head back up wind we got a call that my granddaughter, Jason’s daughter, was running a high fever and had to be taken to the doctor.  Called the RC, told them we were withdrawing, motored back to the dock, met the baby at the doctors and everything turn out fine.

It also turned out that most of the boats that stayed in the race didn’t finish — the wind died again.

Take aways:

I don’t think the our Nonsuch, outfitted as it is, will ever sail to its PHRF numbers in a traditional Windward/Leeward race.  HOWEVER, the SYC has a number of untraditional races, e.g., the Twin Island Race Series, which goes from a starting line, to a mark, then your choice for which direction to take around Angel Island and Alcatraz, back to the mark then a finish at the club.  A race like that will have longer offwind and reaching legs.  Perfect for the Nonsuch 30U Makani!