Thursday, July 23, 2009

MoJoe Destroys Competition in 2009 Beringer Bowl Ocean Race

Coming in first out of eleven boats, the MoJoe team was extremely happy to notch an offshore win for the 2009 sailing season -- here's a writeup from one of the crew:

Through the groggy haze of a early Saturday morning it began to occur to us that the boat might of done well. In no small part to the three horsemen - Brad, Joe G and Tom who had no real sleep and endured what must have been two inches of rain or more between about 2 AM and 4 AM.

At the start, it was a spinnaker start - fun and winds were generally on the lighter side. Later in the evening the wind speed eroded to 2 - 2 1/2 knots and we were working to keep the boat speed over 1 1/4 knots.

Wind shifts dominated - we auto-tacked what seemed like a dozen times in a row. By auto-tacked - the wind (what little there was) shifted across the bow, Genoa got backed, so we walked the Genoa around and carried on.

This period of the race was capped by what was one of the craziest spinnaker tacks: Remember the star Wars movie when Jar Jar Binks was introduced. He turns right by doing a left 270 degree turn. Well we did the same with the spinnaker. In light and shifting winds, we planned to jibe the spinnaker by flying on both sheets, and move the pole over. Classic maneuver.

However, once the wheel was over, we lost the little headway for rudder control we had and the boat kept turning into the wind. Next stop - head to wind with the spinnaker up. duhhh...thankfully we were in less than 2 knots of wind. To compound the problem we had left the blue halyard at the pulpit instead of bringing back to the mast base.

So...drop the spinnaker on the fore-deck, untangle, and re-hoist as the boat continued to slowly swing around and it fills as we end up on the proper heading. All in all it must have looked quite comical. We had a number of boats in the area that were witness to this maneuver, they all must of thought what the heck are these guys doing and man, no competition.

In the next few hours, the wind slowly built from 2.2 kts ( 1.25 kts boat speed ) up more and more. Luckily (or by design) the wind filled in from the left (more to sea) and we were the most outside boat based on continuously chasing the wind. By the time we got to the turning mark we were above the light one's upper limit in speed
but the captain had us carry it for the last few hundred yards to the tack, then we peeled in the heavy one. Wind was up to 16 kts shortly thereafter.

Bermuda Rum and dark'n'stormies followed at 6 AM followed by a couple of hours of nap by most. By 9AM the crew was up again and looking for breakfast having completed the virtual, abet brief, night.

A bit later, one of the other B class boats came in. No smiles - at all. I jokingly asked if they had seen any rain - again just grim looks. Lighten up, it's a sail boat race.

Nice work, guys! Good luck in the summer buoy-series!

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