I have no idea why this race isn't more popular. I've done, and I love it. Today's start looks like it could be lumpy getting across the stream, but could be a quick race. Unfortunate they have a total of 12 boats entered.
Apologies for not being more active in posting in the lead up to the Pineapple Cup.. Juggling too many things.
This race is awesome. Two of the friendliest host clubs and organizers, a beautiful reaching and running (hopefully) course and sailing instructions that include the memorable phrase "keep Cuba to starboard"..I know the RORC 600 has taken boats away from this race, but if you are not going to do the eastern Caribbean circuit and you are jonesing for some awesome winter sailing, you owe it to yourself to do this race.
Partly cloudy and warm. There is no fucking snow to shovel!!
We had an OK start, bit late to the line due to a misjudged rate of speed. Very Vanderbilt of us.The winds have consistently been north east and fluctuating about 30 degrees. For Friday's start, they were 22 to 30, and typically in the 24 knot range.
Those sent us off on port board into very lumpy seas created by the gulf stream. It took us a while to get dialed in, and that let Amhas get about 1.5 miles out in front of us, while we held off Bo Dream and First Light. Unfortunately, we footed off a bit too much and ended up 2 miles south of our first mark, Great Issac, and had to put a hitch in north to get around it. A subsequent mishap on my part with the autopilot crash gybed the boat and put our bagged A5 into the water. Recovery of that cost us about 3 miles (and some advil) and now we are faced with the prospect of trying to grind down the very well sailed Amhas.. We have a SC52 and J145 right in front of us who are enjoying the uphill portion of this race far more than we are, but I expect a different story once we get around Eleuthra and head south.
We are moving well, under 1 reef and the trinquettte. raman for lunch.
There are just about 24 hours left to break the record. Shockwave is just shy of Inagua. We could be seeing history.
I did my first MoBay 32 years ago, and I've been involved with it for some time now. It is an absolute riot of a race, that sticks in your memory for a while. When I meet someone who suggests that it be killed-off, I usually ask the person if they have ever done one, and the answer is usually no. There was one race long ago, with 4 entries, yet it lived on. This year's fleet is up from the last race, and the Class 40 action looks to be entertaining. The chase for the record should be fun. Enjoy it.
Rounded the north east corner of Eluthra around 3 pm after a long slog across the top. Came down 30 degrees, but of course the wind has continued to clock east so it has not turned into a Code 5 reach. We were able to strike the Trinquette and go to the solent for a bit of a reach but the conditions are so shifty that on-watch is constant trimming.
It is a beautiful night, as we run along the pitch black coast of Cat Island. Allegedly the first land fall of Columbus, he must have been bummed and thinking of what to tell the Queen. "Well, your highness. No timber, no water, no spices, no harbor, no gold. But a nice beach. Thanks for the sponsorship."
So much for trade winds. We had the north easterly blow consistently all the way down the east side of the Bahamas, allowing us to blast reach under the solent. Not blazing fast, but good enough to grind away a 14 mile lead that Renegade and Vortices had on us.
Right before we reached the Windward Passage at about 5 am today, a front move through with 30 plus. The back side of that had a whole lot of nothing for a good 5 hours bobbing about 2 miles off of the eastern point of Cubba until a southerly filled in, then moved to south west.
Looking at the ensemble forecasting, it did not seem that there would be anything down south. We also needed to do something different than Amhas and Oakcliff, so it all played into a short tacking beat down the coast of Cuba. We are a few miles to the east of Guantanamo right now, and have not been more than 5 miles off the coast all day. There has been a reliable sea breeze that has helped, but only single digits so it is slow going. Meanwhile, they have seen a gradient further out that has been OK for them. Nothing great, but kept them moving.
The one consolation is that this coast is unbelievably beautiful. Sparsely populated, undulating and folded hills dropping straight down into the sea. It looks a little bit like what some of the Hawaii islands would look like if you got rid of all of the people.
Doing a lot more of what Class 40s love to do. Beating up wind.
On the upside, we got a very close look at Guantanamo Bay last night. Tristan was pinned like a deer in a massive shore based spot light. Then we got the VHF call..."Dragon, this is US Coast Guard Guantanamo Bay". Apparently they like some distance in their relationships.
Set aside the fact that I did not know the Coasties had a duty station there. The more remarkable thing was the radio protocol. Normally when I hear a Coastie on the VHF, I feel like some unwashed bumpkin. All that "stand by", "Vessel this" and "Vessel that", "ship to channel 72 alpha". It is like some one did not give me the secret decoder ring.
Not in this instance. No frilly stuff. He all but said, "stay away from my fucking exclusion zone"
For the record, we did not go in the exclusion zone. Barely.