Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Great Vallejo Race

I think Craig said it best: "These two sailing days are ones to remember as the good old days!"

The intrepid crew of Chorus raced downwind from Berkeley to Vallejo on Saturday, and back upwind Sunday.

Conditions on the first day were gorgeous: warm sun, flood tide with us, just enough wind to move the boat at a good clip, but light enough wind to make spinnaker handling drama-free.

When we arrived, we saw the entire boat population of the Vallejo Municipal Marina had been emptied out. (Where did they all go?) which left room for hundreds of race boats of every size, shape, and age to raft up in every available slip (and even rafted four deep in the fairways.)

We stayed for a few beers and deadly Tequila Sunrises. Toby the dog ate about 30 leftover sparerib bones, to his later intestinal distress.

The single and childless among us rocked out in Port Costa at a bar and former-brothel-turned-hotel, while Sarah and Yemaya and I headed back to Macha for bedtime stories and diaper changes.

Sunday morning's low tide was VERY low. On the way out of the marina, boats were getting stuck in the mud left and right.

Anticipating problems, we pre-emptively warped the boat around so she'd be pointed straight out the fairway. We moved all crew to the shrouds, and gunned the engine full forward. (Hey, isn't this blog supposed to be about engineless sailing?!?!?! Well, I'm not so purist as to refuse rides on beautiful sailboats with engines!) Another boat was already stuck in the middle of fairway, so we aimed for the narrow space between the boat and the dock. With about a foot of clearance on either side, the skipper of the other boat started yelling "What are your intentions?" In fact, I think our intentions were all too clear!!! Despite our strenuous hiking, we slowed slightly as we dragged the tip of our keel in the mud. Rock the boat slightly, we inched slowly, slowly forward. Freedom.

The second day's race opened with an exciting downwind start under spinnaker, followed by a run down the channel between Vallejo and Mare Island. Bain, our mast man, re-injured his knee, so he went below for Ibuprofen and beer while the remaining three crew members multitasked for the douse.

The finish was amazing. Latitude was reporting that about 200 boats finished within 20 minutes. Ahead of us, we caught sight of Kame Richards on Golden Moon and our moral and spiritual advisor Peter English on Sunda, so we figured we were headed towards the line even if we couldn't see it through all the traffic!

We finished 2nd for our class, 3rd overall for PHRF boats. Not bad for a bunch of Uzbeks!

- Ari

1 comment:

sailing instructor said...

Not bad position surely and you still had fun,you seem not to approve of engine-less vessels,they are adventurers and support the ecosystem.