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Thread: Drakes Bay Update from the SSS Race Committee

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Alameda CA


    Soooo -
    Probably my fault for fence sitting until 1430 yesterday afternoon, but I never received the promised email with a Zoom link for the skippers meeting.
    Nor was there a separate amendment with the info posted as specified in the current SI's.

    Got the usual 3 Jibeset automated emails confirming registration, payment and liability waiver, none of which had the meeting info.
    I suspect the meeting email was sent to the 24 boats registered previous to myself at some point earlier in the afternoon.

    Mostly frustrating because of the singularly self-governing format of this edition.

    What'd I miss??

    Last edited by DaveH; 08-21-2020 at 10:52 AM.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    From the Marin County Sheriff's Office, just before Noon today:

    "Point Reyes National Seashore west of Highway 1 is now closed to all visitors."

    I don't know if that includes the water. Did SSS receive the CG permit yet?
    Last edited by BobJ; 08-21-2020 at 01:31 PM.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2012


    Oh damn. Might reconsider this one.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    Drake's Bay preliminary results:

    A couple boats finished that looked like they wouldn't on AIS. Way to persevere!

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2009


    Day 1: Fog, churning flood and 2 minutes spare change

    Saturday was an easy start under the Gate and to the north side below Marin, but the 8 knots disappeared too quickly, yet I was too lazy to part with my #4 jib near Pt. Diablo. Having Hang 20 depart from sight sent my #1 up in a hurry though.

    Pt. Bonita was the hard challenge of the day because of churning flood with light winds at 1 p.m. ish. A handful of boats including Wahoo and OHana were bunched up there to see who would win the turtle race. I lost and had to tack away south to go North. 1 step back and 3 steps in place – Cha Cha Cha. I was in good company knowing that Bruce Lee was the 1958 Hong Kong Cha Cha Champion.

    In the slow march north, the sun eventually heated the air for better visibility and more wind, so back down to the #4 past Duxberry and the recreational fishers. It’s a nice change of scenery, but I keep a close watch on those with only fish & line on their mind. I try to keep good relations too, because they have towed me and my broken motor in past.

    I estimated a guaranteed late arrival and no welcome committee with hot coffee, so the body went into Endurance mapping mode to preserve energy and faculties for a dark finish line near the reef and a deft 1-drop anchor under sail.

    Somewhere near 3 ish p.m., it piped up to 10-15 kts (or 45 degrees of heel and occasional salt water spray). Before tea time, the #1 would have to be swapped out with a #3, but I like the #4 since it’s already unrolled and wet.

    I like getting nice and damp without foulies on! But when I reached my limit, I was downstairs listening to the soothing roar of the green jetboil stove. The warmth of the Earl Grey felt good and afterwards, I was ready for some more hiking-out & butt friction.

    I was having a good time and appreciative of the clean air and good life. Thought about loved ones who passed on too early and I beckoned and talked to them thru wet eyes and crying. Ocean sailing does that to me sometimes.

    At sunset, I could almost make out a couple of boats nearby, possibly Wahoo, Ohana, Hang 20 and Arcadia.
    Then it seems the lights went out and I was steering by a slivered quarter moon on Port tack aiming at the virtual pin that was ˝ mile east of Pt. Reyes Buoy, flashing green every 6 seconds. As the wind softened, I was getting a refresher on night sailing in 5 knots. The moon and its thin beamed reflection was helpful on port, but on Starboard, I did have to micro flash the wind vane here & there for confidence. I covered the 3 boats behind me in case they came storming up with large headsails. 0.8 miles to go takes forever at 2-3 knots in the dark. Trickling water off the hull and apparent breeze were my guide and focus.

    Crossed the line at 21:47:50 and cut off was 22:00. Holy Crap, 2 mins and 10 seconds to spare. So glad I did not change up to a larger headsail when it lightened, else I would have lost an additional 5-10 minutes.

    I did not see more than 10 anchor lights so pick and choose at leisure. This year, anchoring closer to the fish dock and away from the shore break was very nice and peaceful. So glad it was an easy anchor drop under sail & soft breeze. I was able to enjoy a clear view of the stars, breathe fresh air and marvel at the phosphorescent water.

    By the time gear was put away, a ravenous appetite satiated, and the bedding rolled out, it was 00:30 and fatigue dimmed my lights for sleepy time.
    Last edited by Submarino; 08-30-2020 at 07:13 PM.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2010


    That was a terrific re-cap, Joe! Thank you for taking the time to write it. I got disoriented in the fog while we were all spinning around near Bonita. yes, I saw you and all your tenacious friends doing the same. I thought my chart plotter had gone kablooie, and my handheld Garmin, too. Congratulations on the nail biter finish. You are a model of perseverance!
    Last edited by Philpott; 08-27-2020 at 01:38 PM.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2009


    Day 2: Who left the fog machine on, missing sailor and HAL’s malicious jibe

    The sleep was good even with the de-rigueur anchor checks. Thankful that my port and starboard neighbors were large boats with bright anchor lights to gauge drag.

    Rolled out of bed at 6:30 to make the 9:25 start knowing that Drakes Bay time runs on a faster clock. I slid back the hatch with its loud piercing squeal – sorry sleepy heads. My goodness, who left the Fog Machine on last night, it looks like white out conditions in a pillow fight. I bet the feathers settle before the start.

    Mhhmmmmh! Trusty green jet boil stove, warmth of its micro campfire and coffee with reheated hardboiled eggs. Even had a mini takeaway pack of salt. It’s the small details that make the first meal very satisfying.

    At 9 ish, the main is raised to sway back and forth in the 5 knot southerly breeze and the anchor easily pulled and cleaned. Yay, only 1 strand of seaweed secured me all night!

    Visibility is about 1 neighborhood block. Now, which way is the start?! Whichever way the keen senses tell me, it will be 180 degrees opposite. The hand held Garmin confirms this, so up goes the #1 and I am gurgling along at 2-3 knots against the SW breeze. What are the chances of collision at a foggy start line? Keep the AP off and steer from leeward.

    My goodness, how did Archimedes end up outside the start line and way, way past it. “Good God, Man! Put it in reverse and do a Proper Start!” OK, 9:25 and I have crossed near the favored pin end. The day officially starts and well.

    Sailing in the fog can be a bit tougher than sailing in dark conditions because there is no lighted buoy or moon for reference. Always the chance of collision, so the whistle is blown distinctly and regularly.

    About 10 ish, the sun’s circle starts to form thru the thick sky. The north eastern shores of the Drakes Bay are now visible and I feel better. Time to tack out toward the ocean and zig-zag down the coast.

    Possibly around noon, after a nice zig-zag stretch of 5 knots boat speed, the wind piped up enough to change down to the #4. Head into shore and aim for Twin Point’s lighter conditions, tack back out and make the smooth head sail change. This sail plan is perfect for 30 minutes of 4.5 boat speed, but then it lightened to the NAM forecast I mulled over Sat morning.

    Where is everybody?! I see 3 boats at squinting distance, possibly racers, all ahead and two of them off toward Hawaii. Is the wind better out there? What should I do? What’s for lunch!!

    Jet Boiled Mountain House Chili Mac with beef, sardines, Ham/Salami Sandwich, apple and washed down with sparkling Italian soda and coconut water. Satiated but not lethargic full.

    Reeef Ho! Starboard tack to Duxberry Reef Buoy patrolled by a few commercial and pleasure boats. Alert and attention were the order, because the commercial net draggers have rights and trailing hazards of unknown depth and length.

    3 plus knots of boat speed and a sun make for perfect drying weather. All the damp clothes and gear from Saturday are spread in the cockpit. Even a sweaty layer of my own comes off for drying.

    Immediately after the green “1DR” Duxsberry buoy, a RIB Protector approaches at very high speed. They throttle down to a reassuring crawl and we exchange words, but not of tension. The stress rather is about a missing sailor on the Islander 36, “Nantucket”! “Have you seen, it is missing and overdue and we are worried about the state of the sailor. The AIS signature disappeared off Muir Beach.” Whipped out the binoculars and did the futile scan. He beseeched other vessels on VHF 16 to check their AIS. Sailor borrowed boat and is off meds. A fisherman replied that Nantucket was observed in the morning around Duxberry, AIS was on and then finally off as vessel was last seen headed North. The RIB “Shadow” ran left, right and up and down Bolinas Bay like a frantic Lioness searching for a lost cub. Later, “Shadow” requested Coast Guard conduct a search. All very sobering especially with the late afternoon daylight escaping. What if that were my child.

    Sometime around 3 p.m. I make out the distinct silhouette of GalaxSea on starboard tack toward Hawaii! Then I see him tack back into SF. Always nice to have racers nearby. A chute will not hold shape in the sub 5 knot west-northwest winds and disturbed swell. #1 and mindful tiller work is mentally exhausting. Around 4 p.m., I am approaching Pt. Bonita on Starboard tack and surprisingly GalaxSea has closed to a quarter mile. Man, it pays to have large sails and momentum. Or, is he motor sailing!

    Nearish 4-5 p.m., Daniel motors by and we exchange smiles and greetings at Pt. Bonita. Of Daniel, we do not share Old Spice deodorant sticks, but we are connected by the SHTP 2014 experience. I remember his night time arrival into Hanalei Bay, we were limited in what anchoring help we could provide on deck for he knew and operated his boat so well. He exuded an adrenaline high and described how the sea looked underwater thru his leeward pilot station door.

    The exit of a very, very large container ship like the Empire state building laying on its side drew my awe and displeasure of such consumerism. But, how else did I get my Friday-new Sperry Blue boat shoes at West Marine.

    6 ish p.m. Early darkness as light fog settles into the entrance of the bay. To avoid the 7:30 ish max ebb, I skirt the north shore inside the calm Bonita Cove at 3-4 knots of speed. The two trolling fishing boats are welcome company. Beam reaching and broad reaching to aim for Pt. Diablo, the last rocky outcropping before the North Tower. Mindful of groundings and dark rescues.

    I am planning a trajectory into the blow of the gate at midspan. The ebb is 2-3 knots and the wind 15 to high teens. Main sheet un-cleated and loose beam reach for max speed. Round ups are prevented easily, but once the #1 shakes me to a stall. A few tiller pumps to aim the nose back toward St. Francis YC. The hull starts to hum off the wavelets. I must be hitting 11 knots. My starboard tack allows me to make out the yellow finish X-buoy and the orange flag draped over a black SUV at Golden Gate YC.

    Radioed ahead and it’s 18:52 when I hear the horn. Last boat still racing. Thanked race committee and glad to be inside the gate before dark. I can now smell the smoke. Jibe back into the Slot of increasing wind, upper teens & gusts to 20. Still have the #1 up and flying to Richmond via Pt. Blunt Green “3” Buoy. This speed cannot go on without some mistakes, so nestle in the lee of Angel, go head-to-wind to gravity drop the #1. Ahh! More manageable 7 knots of boat speed under a broad reach. AP on response time set to 5.

    Steady as she goes, but then a violent jibe slammed my knee between the traveler and fiberglass. Ouch, I had not felt that much pain since riding dirt bikes at 15. My expletive vocabulary has not changed! I inquisitively stared at the X5 AP, and it smugly displayed “Response Time 1.” HAL, you freaking nearly killed me, put RAY back online now! ♪Daisy, Daisy give me your answer do…♪ I am gladly distracted by the beautiful sky.

    A smoke fire rainbow I have not seen, but instead of the typical ROYGBIV, it is just Red Orange Yellow. A rare sight I am sure.

    I feel a trickle of blood inside my left knee pad while standing on my good leg. Thank God, I have been given two. I may need to Call George to help me land this boat and roll sails. OK, try standing on it, keep the hinge working, don’t let it stiffen up. Inside the break water of Portreo reach I am pumping the boat and working the helm to drift into the entrance toward Brickyard Cove. I can feel some rain drops and wind piping up to 10 knots inside the tight Cove. I let the gusts pass with a few circles before making a 4 knot approach to the dock. Point up behind Arcadia and the knee does not buckle as I awkwardly step onto the dock.

    Tired and limping, I loosely roll the main, grab keys-wallet-phone and remnants of lunch for the 45-minute drive home.

    It’s Drakes Bay plus 5, but my mind is still out there. How did I get 2 hrs behind Hang 20 and Gordie. I must have flanked too much as the wind shifted. Need to check the GPS track.

    A Monday call to Coast Guard and they located the lost sailor. Good. A regiment of Ice, stretching and Alleve for the next week, maybe two.

    Thanks for a good weekend SSS RC, Tom, All and racers.
    Last edited by Submarino; 08-30-2020 at 07:28 PM.

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