CABB January Distance Race
Jan. 28, 2012
By: John McKnight
Well, okay maybe there is something to this global warming thing. We had our race in January, and the temperature was in the mid 80ís. That is even unseasonably warm for Miami in January. The temperature was the good news, the wind, or lack there of, was the less than desirable news. We had light air at the beginning of the race, but it did build to almost single trapeze wind by the end of the race. The winds were not only light but fluky. The shifty winds played a big part in the outcome of the race. Those who could stay in the good air benefited and those that sailed into a hole died on the spot. Positions were made and lost based upon where you were on the bay as the winds swirled around. Properly reading the wind and water was a big determinant in the race results.
We had seven boats in the race. There were two more boats that planned to be in the race, but neither made it to the start line. One F-16 was late getting to the start line, after sailing over from the Miami Yacht Club. There was some mention about this crew partying late the night before the race. The other was Jofre Rosero with his Prindle 19. Jofre had to tip his boat over on its side just before leaving the beach to fix a halyard. When the boat was on its side Jofre noticed a foot long crack along the keel of one of the hulls. If he would have gone out, he probably would have taken on a huge amount of water and would have needed rescuing. So he felt fortunate to have discovered the crack on the beach instead of miles from shore when the hull sunk. The boats participating in the race included two Prindle 19s, two Hobie 20s, a Nacra 6.0, a Stiletto 23, and a Blade F-16.
The race course was from the Rickenbacker Causeway south down Biscayne Bay to marker #21 near Stiltsville and then back north. The course length was ten nautical miles as the cormorant flies. The first leg was downwind with the wind out of the north. The three spinnaker boats had the initial downwind advantage, and they built a lead on the sloop fleet. Fermin de la Camaraís Prindle 19 was carrying a spinnaker, as well as Kenny Pierceís Stiletto 23 and Chris Staterís F-16. This was the tricky leg because of the light and shifty winds. You had to be able to see the 15 to 20 degree shift and jibe on the lifts to take advantage of the oscillations. I was sailing my Hobie 20 with Josh Rosenbaum, and we were hanging just behind the leaders. We were enjoying the leisurely sail going south down Biscayne Bay. We had some time to look around, and we saw a pod of three dolphins cavorting in the emerald green bay waters. We also saw a number of bright purple jellyfish just below the surface of the water. They looked to be about 9 inches in diameter, much smaller than the monster jellyfish we had seen a couple of months ago out in the ocean.
As we neared marker #21, Kenny and Chris were dicing for the lead. Unfortunately, they both sailed into one of those killer holes just west of the mark. Josh and I, on my Hobie 20, and Fermin, on his Prindle 19, were approaching from the northeast, and we still had at least some light air. We were able to keep the boats moving. We both made up lots of time on the becalmed boats. After we all rounded the turning mark, it was a drag race back to the CABB Beach on the Rickenbacker Causeway. I donít think any of the boats ever had to tack; it was starboard beat all the way back to the beach. Chris Stater and his crew, Katie Flood, were in the lead on the F-16. Kenny with Mike Powers and Mikeís daughter, Dana, were holding on to second place. Josh and I were able to slowly catch the S-23. We sailed right next to them for a couple of miles, but they eventually, ever so slowly, pulled away from us. But the big news was that Rafael Quesada with Norm Hansen as crew, on their Hobie 20, were catching us from behind. I kept checking my 6 oíclock as they appeared to inch closer and closer; we couldnít shake them. Also in the mix were Claudia Schmid and Lawrence Cooper on their new Nacra 6.0. They recently bought their N-6.0, and have refurbished the boat adding new rigging and some new lines. The other boat in the race was Rafael Corralís square top Prindle 19 with Oscar Garcia Coni crewing for him. The neat thing about this race was that there were four different types of boats in the race, but they all had very similar Portsmouth numbers. The numbers ranged from a low of 63.0 for the F-16 to a high of 65.07 for the square top P-19. Amazingly all the boats finished the 2 Ĺ hour race in a short 13 minute span.
Chris Stater and Katie Flood took line honors with their Blade, but on corrected time, Josh and I won the race on my Hobie 20. Rafael Quesada and Norm Hansen, on their Hobie 20, were only 45 seconds behind us. They took second place corrected. The really amazing thing about Rafael and Normís excellent finish was that they discovered after they were back on the beach that their rudders were reversed and on the wrong hulls. When Hobie 20 rudders are reversed, it creates toe in which precipitates noticeable drag. It is like sailing while towing an anchor. Yet despite this handicap, they still did very well in the race. Kennyís S-23 corrected into third place, and Chris and Katie ended up fourth. Rafael Corralís P-19 was fifth, followed by Ferminís Prindle 19 and Claudia and Coopís Nacra 6.0.
The new parking arrangement at the CABB beach is working out well. We have room for seven cars with trailers attached. We used all seven places for this race. Normally more boats sail over from the Miami Yacht Club or the US Sailing Center, so parking space is not an issue. We had an interesting day of sailing. I took some snapshots of the boats and crews before and after the races. You can see those on the CABB Facebook page.