Catalina to Port: From the starting line located near Palos Verdes buoy "10PV", leave the West End of Catalina to port, finish when Catalina East End light (Fl w 6s) position 33 18.1162N 118 19.0570W is within 0.5 NM and bears 350°M from the helmsman's position. Handicap distance 41 NM.
My crew (and dear friend), Scott and I departed the dock at 8am on a beautiful warm Southern California morning. We had a lovely cruise to PV 10 and arrived just before check in. I felt very excited as we headed towards the start, because more and more boats were appearing around us which brought with them the promise of a well-attended race! I believe we had 13 boats entered, and by 10:30am we were all tacking around waiting for our 11am start. I have to admit that I will never tire of the pre-start ritual of cruising the starting area with everyone, waving hello to each other and checking out each other’s boats!
I had my usual nervousness about the start, but was coached well by Scott (and even though did not quite do what he said, I was a little aggressive…. at least for me) and we had a solid start right behind Jerome on Biohazard. As we made our way across the channel, we were holding our own among the fleet, and that felt really good (I am still pleasantly surprised by Cassiopeia’s litheness compared to Haunani’s). Due to the wind angle we had a couple of indecisive moments about which tack was best to make the west end, but once we settled on a direction, we got into a groove and were in a really good place. Cassiopeia was moving well in the semi light wind, and we made good way across the channel. We came around the West end and the wind got really light. As we got closer and closer to Eagle rock, I decided we should tack and head away from the island. As we did that, we caught a little breeze and started to move a little better until we were away from the island a bit and clear of the wind hole that seemed to be plaguing everyone else. From there we headed down the back side moving slowly but well. At one point we tried to deploy my spinnaker (asymmetrical), but the wind was too light for it to be effective, and we decided to douse it and pole out the genoa instead. I have to admit that the mixture of getting to know my new boat (I have only flown the spinnaker one other time, and have never used my whisker pole with her), and the flukey conditions had me pretty flustered. I know that I will get there, but it is anything but a seamless operation at this point!
A lot of people retired from the race early on, and we got close too at one point, but I am glad we stuck it out, because we got into a nice little groove out there, and about 2/3 of the way down the island, the wind came up into the 20’s and provided for a very fun ride to the east end. One of the most fun things for me was converging with Rod on Rubicon III and then having him hot on our tail as we flew towards the finish wing and wing, riding some pretty big rollers. We stayed in front of him until the wind died just shy of the east end light and true to form, he scooted right past us in the light air.
It was a spectacular sunset and a beautiful day on the water. I am so grateful to Scott for being such a great teammate out there. As always we had a blast together! We tucked into Avalon around 9pm and were both exhausted and ready for a hot meal and sleep. We were lucky to get to spend the entire next day and night relaxing in Avalon, and had a fun sail home on Monday afternoon!