Wednesday, August 26, 2009
My sail buddy Dave and I went for a rocking sail over the weekend. We headed out about noon and the bay was already boiling. We started out with about 60% of the jib out and that was plenty. Up ahead at the Berkeley Circle the 505 World Championships were taking place. It was one of the colder summer days on the bay and I had to triple layer as the gusts were well over 30 and there was a bite to the air. Those guys on the 505's must have been in pain. We avoided the fleet on the way out. The wind continued to build as we headed out and we reduced sail at one point. By 1:30 we were over near the Richmond entrance and the wind had died. We tacked and even motored to get back to the windline. Once there it really filled in. As we headed back towards the pier we were really fighting it and I thought about heading in. No way. We continued and it was big waves and big fun. Finally turned home about 4 and started riding these three foot wind waves home. One wave really woke us up as it shook the boat and tried to swing the boat into a 180. I stopped the boat from doing that but it was an amazing burst of energy. We had to cut thru the fleet to get home but timed it so they didn't have to worry abut us. Even so, one of the race chase boats came over to make sure we did not interfere. Made it back to the dock and realized I was at the helm for the lat three hours and I was spent. What a day. Here is a short narrative from one of the 505er's out in the thick of it: "For the rest, it was a day of varied results. Conditions were so tough, that if you made it around without swimming, you would almost guarantee yourself a top 10 result. Some of the spectator boats said they recorded 40kn gusts though I am not sure that is true. There is no doubt it was high 20’s with gusts into the 30’s. At times you would be sailing upwind with no main and only the back third of the jib working and you would have to dump even that as a gust hit.
Again the courses were long for two race days. Around 1hr25 and 1hr35 and the conditions were cold. I was dressed with everything I wear in Adelaide through the middle of winter, plus another two layers and a beanie and I was having shivering fits on the sail home, an hour of mindless torture! On the water it was carnage. Rounding the top mark, boats were laid down everywhere; it looked like the aftermath of a squall. There were boats drifting under jib, waiting for a tow, there were boats separated from their crew who were desperately trying to swim back to them, there were shredded sails everywhere, there were boats without rudders, there were boats with snapped 3mm dyform side stays, there were so many boats without masts, it was inconceivable".