15 July 2010

High Intensity Regatta

"Foot, foot, foot! Let's get up some speed and start figuring out how to get out of here!" After 7 miles of dogfighting up and down the lake, Marcel had rounded the last mark inside of us and Chris with a tight rounding astern was now up on our hip. With a half mile to go, we had two boats to fight through. Not good. "Go fast, go fast." "OK . . . If we go now we can mess with Chris." Bam! Good tack.

"Starboard!" Chris chose to tack right in front of us. Interesting tactic, but it worked perfectly for us. Marcel had no choice but to tack and cover his two trailers, and as soon as he did that, bam!, we were back onto port and breaking cover. Now, how close to the shore dare we go? A good starboard tack lift can often be found over there, but at risk of sailing in less pressure. "Watch it, watch it, watch it." "Is that it?" "Let's sail into it. Yep, that's it. Let's go!" Back onto starboard and stomping up the beach still in good pressure. "Huge gain. Sail fast!"

It didn't take Chris long to see what was up. He managed to break Marcel's cover (not sure how) and come get a piece of our advantage on the right. We let him pass through behind us and then set up for a series of lee bow tacks each time he came across on Starboard forcing him back on port and deeper each time into the wind hole close to shore. Meanwhile, Marcel was still moving fast in good, clear air on the left side. Had we caught him? Too hard to tell at this distance but we would soon know as he made his last tack onto the port layline for the pin end of the finish. Converging from the right but below the line now, we had to make one more tack to take the short route to the committee end. "Uh, uh, oh no, is that a header? Are we gonna make it? Careful! Don't pinch." "Uh, it's gonna be close! Crap, here comes Marcel!" Do we tack, do we pinch, do we tack, do we pinch, and just then as the race flashed before my eyes, Dean dropped the helm and shot the line. Whoosh, we nipped Marcel by half a boat length. And, Chris was only a boat length or two behind that.

Crazy thing is, that's the way the whole High Sierra Regatta went this year. Three Vanguard 15 dudes from Benicia banging it up and down the lake never able to shake free and make a run out front. In the end, Marcel and crew's sound tactics, crisp boat handling, and superior offwind speed would win out. Dean second. Chris third. What a great experience. It was certainly the most intense racing at High Sierra that I've been part of, and also my best sailed.

In spite of how great the sailing is on Huntington Lake, of course the High Sierra Regatta isn't really about the sailing, it's about the family fun on the beaches and around the campsites. This year was no different. Iain made the trip with me (girls had a girly girl weekend at home), my Mom and Bill joined in the fun, and we made all the usual rounds including the Folsom Lake Yacht Club annual potluck. Yum.

Thanks to Peggy for the great photos!


Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

Exciting! Cold water! (I know! I've been there!)

Anonymous said...

Hey David, It was fun watching it all from the beach but must have been even more so to be out there playing all the tacks!!

It was a great weekend all around and congrats to Dean and you for taking a very close second over all. Lvoe, mum and bill