Thursday, July 14, 2011

2011 Pacific Coast Championship - Mike Holt

Editor's note - Mike has also posted this article on the International Site.

For the 2011 running of the Pacific Coast Championships 24 505's turned up for three days of racing in Santa Cruz. The last major event hosted by the Santa Cruz Yacht Club was the 2004 Worlds and in the intervening years there has been a changing of the guard at the Yacht Club and a new to the 505 class team of John Buchanan as Regatta Chair and Dave Emberson as PRO had the reigns and an excellent job they and their team did too.

Friday's racing was run in a slow to clear high fog resulting in fickle westerly breeze. During the afternoon the fog pulled back a little and the wind increased to a peak of around 12 knots. Just allowing for some good wire running in the last race. At the end of the day Andy and Howie held the lead from the three races ahead of the East Coast's finest, Jesse and Tyler with "locals" Carl and myself in third. Following racing a thorough debrief was held on the deck of the YC with Howie and Tyler revealing all their hard earned knowledge.

Saturday dawned to a heavy overcast fog and drizzle and doom and despair were espouced by the locals and light weight spinnakers were stuffed into launchers. Race 1 was sailed in 8 knots building to 12 by the end and by race 2 the breeze was a good steady 12-15. For race 3 of the day those packing .6 spinnakers were getting nervous as the breeze approached 20 knots. The day was "won" by Steve and Nick, back from their "break" from sailing with a 5,1,2 score line and surely regretting not taking the day off on Friday. Elsewhere in the fleet Matthias and Bruce moved up the standings with a race win in the big breeze and Carl and I leapfrogged the pride of the East Coast to move into 2nd with Andy and Howie's lead at the top narrowed to two points. Another full debrief was delivered with Bruce explaining his tactical genius. Following this was a huge Taco feast.

Sunday started brighter and it was quickly clear that Santa Cruz was going to deliver a classic day. The fog peeled back from the shore fast and by 1PM start time the breeze was already at 15 knots and climbing. Carl and I knowing that we had to pull two points back went at hit hard and fast but Andy and Howie stuck close behind for us to finish in that order. Matthias and Bruce finished 3rd to put some serious pressure on Jesse and Tyler for third overall. By the 8th and last race the breeze was up to around 20 knots with a lovely rolling swell. The course was the full Worlds course so plenty of race track, no quick crash and burn and by the top mark Matthias and Bruce just led Carl and I with Steve and Nick right on our heels. At the bottom of the run we had dropped to 5th and Andy/Howie had moved up to third, momentum back to them. By the gybe mark it had swung back as we pulled up to and past them, but a slow drop at the leeward mark allowed the SoCal team back ahead again and they put a hard cover on from there. Meanwhile at the front Matthias and Bruce reveled in the big breeze to win handily from Steve and Nick. Bruce was heard singing "Bruce is back, who needs Dave" all the way in!

All the way through the fleet there were some good battles, boat on boat and boat versus race track, with lots of new faces and boats traveling down from Canada, up from San Diego and across from the East Coast. It was also good to see three mixed teams racing too. For me it was the best regatta on the West Coast since the North American's in Santa Cruz in 2000.

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