Perfect sailing conditions at the Trimaran Nationals
04 May 2011 | Pensacola
Do you think there is such a thing as perfect sailing conditions? I must say, the sailing we have had at Pensacola beach over the last three days have pretty close to my definition of paradise. Great wind, flat water, and a friendly group of sailors on identical boats to race with!
We picked up the Ithaca boats from storage in Orlando on Saturday evening, and drove overnight to Pensacola beach. After catching a few hours sleep, and breakfast at the Native Cafe (best breakfast waitresses in Pensacola beach!), we rigged the boats and went sailing. There was a nice 10 knt South Easterly, that built to the high teens in the afternoon. The rest of the fleet rolled in to town and went out for a practice as we came in.
The next day was about the same wind, and we had two distance races: 15 miles up Santa Rosa sound, for lunch at a beach-front bar, and 15 miles back in the afternoon. With the South Easterly breeze, it was a close-hauled fetch on way out and a tight three-sail reach on the way out. With the building wind, it was a blast! The wetas were the first start, with the bigger trimarans starting half an hour later. On the way back, we were going so fast, the race committee could not catch up with the weta fleet in their center console power boat! We sailed the 15 miles in about 55 minutes. So we had a fleet discussion and figured out our own scores for that race.
The next morning, we got together on the beach before racing, and Chris Kitchen (weta founder) gave us tips for sail trim and handling. I learned a couple of tricks for executing a more coordinated tack, which after a couple of practice tack worked great for me.
After the Weta "Seminar", we had four windward leeward races on a course just off the beach in Santa Rosa sound. The wind was a puffy 7 to 12 knots, with the wind from the south west, blowing over the town. So it was a day for reading the water and figuring out what side of the course was getting the best puffs.
Chris Kitchen is accustomed to finishing every race first, with the next boat well behind. But here, Chris is in second place, behind former Nacra 5.2 champion Jim Leonard. Eric, Ben and I (the three boats from Ithaca) are having close racing for 3rd, 4th and 5th, and there is close competition further back, between DaveK and Weta dealers Jon and Dick. Unfortunately Dave had a furler issue and missed a couple of the races.
Last night, we had a strong cold front, that brought a strong Northerly breeze. Our scheduled cruise/picnic has been abandoned, and we are having the picnic here at Key Sailing. The breeze should moderate this afternoon, and I hope we will get some racing in later.
The only problem we have had with the regatta organization is that our title sponsor, the Margaritaville Beach Hotel, pulled out at the last minute, after all the shirts etc, have been printed. They got all their publicity, and were supposed to host the regatta parties. Instead the organizers are having to scramble to put on the parties at PBYC and other locations in town. So, if you are listening to a Jimmy Buffet song while you are reading this, I recommend you change station!