Ventura CA Swarm Report - Bob Shirley

April 21st, 2021

No good deed goes unpunished. Bill Mattson, a local beach cat sailor, volunteered to video our swarm with his drone. Last week he and I did a successful test run in which he launched from near the Ventura Pier and took some beautiful pictures despite the light wind. Meanwhile he had posted on FB his intentions and one of his friends volunteered to take him out on his 27' World Cat power catamaran to video us. Things kept evolving and by the time we launched yesterday (Saturday, April 17, 2021), the World Cat set a starting line and gave us a five minute start complete with signal flags. Bill describes what happened next: "Sorry for the lack of drone footage, guys. On the first launch, the wind blew the drone sideways enough to catch something on deck, where it flipped to its side, went into the drink and sank. It's a hobby like boats. You just keep throwing money at it."

Four Wetas had a great day of sailing and socializing. Ben Teitelbaum drove in from Fresno, his crew, Karen Cohen drove up from San Diego. Bruce and Shelley Fleming drove up from San Bernardo in San Diego County. Tim Corcoran drove in from the Inland Empire. John Dutton drove down from Santa Barbara, but, due to some bad sciatica he is battling, didn't sail with us. We still enjoyed visiting with him, though, as we set our boats up.

Out on the water, two of my local beach cat friends joined us with their Prindle 19s. We got to the start line at about 12:40 p.m. We were to do a W/L race about two miles long. The sky was sunny and warm, the seas were relatively flat and cold, the wind was blowing about 10 knots with an occasional 12 knot puff. We had a great sail. After that first jaunt, we opted to go into the beach at Ventura Harbor Cove to regroup and refresh. Strangely, when we went back out to sail some more, it being about 2:30 p.m. by then, the wind had backed off. Wait...what? usually the wind strengthens later in the afternoon. It blew strong all week, It is blowing strong right now as I write this on Sunday afternoon, but for the swarm it weakened down to about 6 - 8 knots. Oh well, at least the weather was beautiful, so we sailed for another two hours anyway, upwind first, gennaker reach back.

We got back to ramp at about 4:30 p.m. We washed down the boats, my visitors disassembled and put their boats on their trailers. Meanwhile I ran home to find that my wife, Gail, had everything ready to host the swarm for pizza and beer. Victoria Pub flaked on us so I moved the after swarm party to my house. I should mention here that all of us are fully vaccinated. Tim came straight from the ramp and arrived first so he took a soak in the hot tub to ease the stiffness in his ancient bones (I can say that, he and I were born within a few days of each other). The rest of the crew showed up by 7:30 p.m. and all of the pent up socializing we all have been deprived of during the pandemic enabled us to thoroughly enjoy each others' company along with beer, wine and pizza.

We sat around the fire pit for a long while, then came inside for fresh local strawberries and chocolate bundt cake dessert. I'm telling you, life is good! The party didn't break up until after 11p.m. All of my guests thanked me profusely, I think I can safely say we all had a great time, I know that Gail and I certainly did. We are going to do it again in August, please consider joining us.

By Bob Shirley