CABB Key Biscayne Double Distance Race
September 8, 2007
By: John McKnight
The annual CABB Key Biscayne Double Distance Race was held Saturday, Sept. 8. This race was two distance races in one day. The first race went from the Rickenbacker Causeway out to the ocean side of Key Biscayne. There we had lunch on the beach. The second race was a return from Key Biscayne to the Rickenbacker. We had a beautiful day with partly cloudy skies and wind varying from 5 to 15 knots. The temperature was in the low 90's and the water temperature was in the 80's. It was the quintessential beach cat race day.
The race committee boat was provided by John and Inbal Esquivel. Inbal did the race committee duties by herself. She ran the flags for the start sequences and followed the cats during the race. She does an excellent job. Thank you, Inbal!
We had 10 boats show up to enjoy the day of sailing and racing. We had 4 Hobie 20s, 2 Stiletto 23s, and one each Hobie 16, Tornado, Blade 16, and Prindle 19. Gina Hopen, on her H-16, was sailing with us in her first CABB race. Rafael Corral was out with his Prindle 19 sporting a brand new custom main sail. He was sailing solo and that combination was fast. Fred Moffat was out for the first time in a long time, crewing for John Esquivel on the Tornado. Fred has been very busy starting law school at UM this fall. He is also the head sailing coach at Ransom Everglades High School. Mike Powers just returned from two years of contract work with the Marines in Iraq. He was enjoying the day on his Stiletto 23. He was soloing that beast. He can really make that thing move. The other Stiletto was sailed by Kenny Pierce. Wilder Robles was out with his Blade 16. This was his last CABB race for a while. He is moving to the St. Petersburg. He is with the Coast Guard, and they transferred him there. He will be sailing out of the Gulf Port Yacht Club in the near future. We wish him well and hope to see him at Tradewinds this January.
I had changed the bearings on my main sheet traveler two days before the race. The first time I sheeted the main sail in after leaving the beach, the traveler burst apart. One of the end caps had broken off. There were bearings all over the trampoline. Initially, I thought I would have to retire from the race. After looking over the mess, I realized I could sail; but the main sail would have to remain centered all day. I still had the main sheet control.
The first race was started just south of the Rickenbacker Causeway with a flag sequence start. Oriol and I, on my Hobie 20, were able to nail the port start. There was a rain shower moving south from Miami Beach and that gave us some fabulous winds to start the race. It was blowing 10 to 15 knots out of the east with some nice gusts. Everyone was flying on a close reach. Rafael Quesada said he and Oscar Garcia buried the leeward hull of his Hobie 20 to the front crossbar in one puff. Abeam Key Biscayne, Mike Powers (S-23) was gaining on us and sailing higher. Rafael Coral (P-19) was also gaining ground on Oriol and me (H-20). But they were cutting the corner over the sand bar a little too close. They both were dragging bottom, slowing down, and we were able to retake the lead heading toward Cape Florida. There was lots of jockeying and position changes on this leg. Rounding the lighthouse, we still had the lead with the pack close behind. After the cape, it was a quick run along the Bill Baggs State Park beach. The boats were all closely bunched together, because there had been only one tack at Cape Florida. It was a very fast race. It only took between 44 and 70 minutes for everyone to complete this race. Oriol and I took line honors and first on corrected. Second on corrected time was Rafael Corral (P19). In third place were Mandi Prats and Eddy Mesis on their Hobie 20. Mandi has only had his boat out half a dozen times, and he is sailing it very well. More newcomers, Lenny Valdivia and Saramy, took fourth place on their Hobie 20. The Tornado was fifth.
After lunch we were ready to start the return race. As we circled the race committee boat waiting for the start, Rafael Quesada called up on his marine radio and advised there was a good size rain shower approaching Cape Florida. He made a good call. We postponed the race and went back to the beach to wait out the rain shower. It cleared in about 15 minutes, and we got the second race underway. The start line was starboard favored. After a short beat to the east, we flopped over on port for the run down the beach back to the cape. Oriol commented that the fleet was very tightly packed. The competition was keen. We jibed once we were back in the bay and headed for the causeway. John Esquivel got his spinnaker working on this broad reach and he was smoking. He ended up taking line honors and first on corrected time. Oriol and I (H-20) came in second on corrected time. Esquivel only beat us by 5/100 of one point. That equates to a Portsmouth photo finish. Third was Rafael Corral (P-19). Fourth went to Mandi and Eddy (H-20). Fifth went to Rafael Q. and Oscar (H-20).
After the races, Saramy organized a birthday bar-b-que for Lenny. They cooked up some delicious sausages and hamburgers with all the trimmings for the tired and hungry racers. We helped them work on a small keg of beer. We topped it off with a birthday cake for Lenny. Everyone had a great day of sailing. The conditions were perfect. Next month will be the infamous Fowey Light Distance Race. Stay tuned.
Commodore, Catamaran Association of Biscayne Bay (CABB)
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