Wine and Roses in SoCal
The weekend of August 17 & 18 four Wetas traveled to sunny Santa Barbara for the annual Wine & Roses regatta. Along with 35 beach cats, Dean Daniels from San Francisco, Brian Grover of Encinitas (near San Diego) Paul Martson and Bob Shirley from Ventura enjoyed good weather, comradery, hospitality and competition.
The 8th month of the 2013 in SoCal has earned the nickname, “Fogust” and so it was Saturday morning. The typical “morning sickness” south wind rippled the gray water as sailors fretted about the weak wind and lack of Sun. The 1st start was postponed until noon at the skippers’ meeting, and then for another 15 minutes by the RC boat out on the water.
But, as the afternoon wore on the sun burned through, the wind filled in and once again Santa Barbara provided near perfect sailing conditions. Although the first race was sailed in about 10 kts of wind, by the 3rd and 4th races we had our posteriors out on the amas and were freighting around the W/L racecourse in over 15 kts of wind. The wind did start to fade in the 5th race, tho.
Paul and Bob dueled for 1st and 2nd place in every race. Some races were horizon jobs, others were very close. At the end of the day, Bob had a tenuous one point lead over Paul. Meanwhile, Dean and Brian were battling for 3rd and 4th. Dean won several starts and was at the top of the fleet at the windward mark many times. Brian has very little racing experience and so is learning about starts and tactics. But, he has blazing boat speed and a big smile plastered on his face. Soon, he will be a force to reckon with. Between races, while most competitors were heaved to conserving energy, it was enjoyable watching Brian buzz back and forth while beam reaching with his gennaker. He definitely enjoys his boat.
Friday evening we enjoyed a Mexican buffet dinner at SBYC. Paul and Dean bought a bunch of raffle tickets to benefit the “Make a Wish” foundation and ended up winning a boatload of swag. Bob and Brian both scored very cool tech shirts.
Sunday morning was unusually sunny with light westerly winds. It bode well for racing if one ignored the fog lurking out in the channel. Again the 1st start was set for noon. Ominously, the fog crept in and the wind dropped at about 10:30. As boats cast off the beach the ocean surface glassed off and the RC boat disappeared in the gray murk. We found our way out to the start line but had to float around for another extended postponement. Soon, tho, the fog lifted over Santa Barbara and the racecourse, and as we waited for the wind to fill in the sight of colorful sails floating in front of the coastal mountains was enhanced by three layers of clouds. Down towards Summerland there was still some fog on the beach, puffy clouds backed up against the mountains, and thin, wispy high clouds streaked the blue sky in the high altitude. The beauty of the moment was breathtaking. Now if the wind would just fill in….
The RC finally did run 3 races and the wind did build to about 10 kts. As usual in Santa Barbara, the right (beach) side of the course was favored. Predictably, Bob always banged the right corner upwind and left corner downwind (same place on the course) with good results. Paul made the 1st and 3rd races very close often being within 2 boat lengths of Bob many times ahead, but unable to beat him to the finish line. At the end of the day, Dean placed 4th, Brian 3rd, Paul 2nd, and Bob 1st. Ironically, while the racers were on the beach disassembling the boats after the races, the wind filled in strong enough to power the local kiteboarders. One guy actually was kiteboarding on a hydrofoil, which was truly amazing to watch.
This is the 3rd year that Wetas have competed in the Wine & Roses regatta. All three years the regatta has been very fun with excellent sailing. It is always the 3rd full weekend in August, so please, put it on your calendar and plan to attend in 2014. 4 boats was fun, but 14 would be much more fun.