So this isn’t normal. But, then, what is in a Mexico Race? The typical experience is to expect the atypical.
We are now about 5 hours into Day 3 of the San Diego to Puerto Vallarta Race. Not more than 10 minutes after I posted last night’s midnight report, the breeze veered right about 15 degrees, and to keep from sailing even farther outside, we dropped the 4A spinnaker and went with the Jib Top. Well, almost. A snafu ripped the top two feet of luff tape out of the sail, so we went with the #3 instead. We power reached thru the night in 20-25 from the NNE. In the morning, we got the repaired JT up, added a staysail for good measure, and rolled along.
You know those morning roll calls where you just know the news ain’t going to look to great? Where you are sure you have taken lumps (deserved or otherwise) and now all your pain will be revealed? But somehow, miraculously, when the roll call happens, you are relieved and thrilled to find out that all is actually ok? Well, this wasn’t one of those. Looks like Ocelot is launched, and the J/125 is not far behind. It was their weather, that breeze those waves… Blue Blazes didn’t check in, and Serena is apparently out of the race (we don’t know why). As expected, with our outside route, our miles to go looks a lot worse…
As Mike put it: Buffalo Girls go round the outside, round the outside… So what will the Hula Girl do?
We’ve pretty much hung our shingle out here, so we’ll see what happens. It’s supposed to get really funky and really light here pretty soon, and for a good while. If Ocelot and Timeshaver hit the beach (which it looks like they are) they might be able to play the shore breeze and drift along … or, they might get parked. We could find the breeze we need to make it around out here in the deepwater, or we may get skunked on the shore breeze. We have out theories, and our hopes, so we’ll see what happens. Not content to reach up behind them and fall into place in a reaching race, that’s for sure. Where would the fun be in that?
Behind us, it looks like our class did more miles the first day out than any of the big boats, so it’s clearly softer breeze back there. That helps us overall for the time being, but… well, you know, our turn is coming….
So the breeze lightened and backed in the afternoon. It’s sunset right now, and we are seeing about 14 from the north. A couple hours ago we changed to the Code 0 and staysail combo and are now trucking along nicely in that configuration. Expected to drop even more tonight…by morning we are supposed to be in the 6 knot range. Ouch.
But we are having a fantastic time out here. Everyone on the team is solid, enthusiastic, and a lot of fun to sail with… in fact, everyone is out in the cockpit watching sunset, and dinner is almost ready, so I am signing off for the time being. All the best to everyone shoreside…
Wayne Zittel and the Hula Girl Team
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