Thursday evening marked the end of Dana Point Yacht Club’s weekly ‘Thirsty Thursday’ race series. With the large swells and strong wind from Hurricane Marie, the sailing did not disappoint and provided an excellent final race for the 18 race series.
The wind was blowing hard out of the North, gusting up to 15 mph. The Catalina 30 ‘Bon Vivant’ I was racing on competed against two J 24’s, ‘Superstrings’ and ‘Whasabe 2’, and a Santana 30, the ‘Amancer de la Libertad’ in the PHRF-C class. Although only a few boats in our class showed up, the racing proved to be exciting.
Tacking back and forth, we managed to get a good upwind position on the line, and crossed the pin a couple of seconds after the start gun. We made our way to the first mark close hauled on a westerly heading. It was a close battle between the two J 24’s all the way. Fighting for every inch, we soon paralleled Super Strings. Being windward, we avoided being pushed off by the leeward Superstrings. We were the first boat to reach the mark with a good distance between the other two boats.
As we rounded the mark, I set our Forespar whisker pole so that we would have the advantage sailing down wind on a southerly heading. Extending the pole, I was able to dramatically increase our genoa sail area. Additionally, we were able to sail wing-on-wing because we had deployed our pole. Neither of the other J 24’s used a pole, and could not sail wing-on-wing and their genoas were being back filled by the main. Their genoas could not stay nearly as open and catch as much wind as ours could. We soon increased our lead over the other boats because we used our whisker pole.
Once we rounded the downwind mark, we made our way back to the first mark. We were still in first for a good majority of that leg. However, Superstrings made the decision to tack up and then back down to the mark, while we decided to hold our heading. With this move, Superstrings was able to maneuver themselves into first place. We rounded the mark and then made our way on a beam reach to the Dana Point harbor breakwater.
As soon as we entered the harbor, we experienced strong gusts and surges. This was last leg of the race, where we would have to tack up the channel and cross the point where the Dana Point Yacht Club is located. The next 10 minutes we constantly tacked while sailing close hauled. This was the most exciting part of the race because of the constant tacking. As we approached the finish line, we avoided hitting the sandbar, which the Flying Tiger 10 ‘Ruckus’ had done. We crossed the line in second place with a corrected time of only 29 seconds behind Superstrings. Whasabe 2 finished five minutes behind us. The Amancer de la Libertad did not finish the race (probably because they missed their start time and went with the wrong group). Taking second place was a great result and an exciting way to finish of the summer sailing series.