SAN DIEGO NOOD 2015
Five boats made it to the SD NOOD, unfortunately several boats that had planned to sail were stuck in Container Jail. The boats returning from Geelong Worlds were held hostage by the West Coast shipping/dockworkers strikes. The five boats that did make it to SD enjoyed Santa Ana breezes and hot temps. The Santa Ana are famous in SoCal for strong offshore breezes and hot dry atmosphere. These winds make for puffy, unstable conditions which are much different from the normal predictable sea breeze. There is mixing of the breezes and a fight to see who wins, the offshore or onshore with a line drawn in the sand and occasionally a no man's land between the two breezes with little or no breeze. Fortunately the offshore was strong enough most of the time to win and we generally had hot offshore breezes between 6-16 kts. from 280-305.
The 14s were slated to start third, after two larger and significantly slower fleets of Vipers (14 boats), and J-70s (17 boats). We also had to contend with Ultimate 20s (9 boats), Fast 20s (3 Flying Tiger 7.5s) and a fleet of Buccaneers (6 boats). We had to sail through these fleets every race which made for challenging sailing with lots of traffic and often not being able to go where you would like. Interesting and challenging sailing, and made for some very wide eyes on some of the other fleets when they realized how much faster we were going than their lead assisted craft. The five boats that did make the racing were; Steve Shumaker sailing with Tom Porchevera from HI in Steve's beautiful hand built wood "Shu 2", Paul Galvez sailing with Guillo Leon de la Barra in Paul's always fast B5 (great to see Guillo back on the water and hoping to see him more), Brad Ruetenik sailing with Garrett (down town) Brown recently returned from sailing Cats in So. FL for the last 9 mos. (had to remind him these boats don't have training wheels and that is not a girls kite - pull harder) in the 10 yr. old B5 which is still a great and competitive boat, Cameron Puckey sailing with Evan Sjostedt in Cam's brand new Red B6 which was splashed for it's initial sail Fri AM, the boat is beautiful and currently simply rigged just to get it on the water for this race. Kris Henderson and Martin Fabiasson came down from Seattle and were sailing Kris' B6 which is a relatively new boat as well.
On Fri. the first race started with a mild sea breeze somewhat more right than normal, by the time we were at the top mark we were sailing through the 17 boat J-70 fleet with a very light and confused breeze, we saw some J-70s with kites sailing into the top mark while others were going upwind on the opposite board only 50 meters away. After getting through that mess we had to sail through the Viper fleet. I won't bore you saying this over and over, but that was essentially what happened for the remaining races throughout the weekend, nonstop sailing through fleets, we would catch the Js who started 5 mins. ahead by the top mark (1 mi. legs) then start catching the vipers who had usually started 10 and often > 15 min. ahead of us due to the multiple General recalls for the Js. The remainder to the 1st race became very right favored and gybe sets were the call to try to clear your air and minimize sailing through the fleet ahead. Hendo won that race with Galvez and Ruetenik having a dead heat, both boats given 2.5 points, Puckey was 4th and Shumaker 5th. Race two was reconfigured for the right shifted breeze and we were sailing upwind toward the bridge in 12-15, again lots of passing through fleets, top marks usually saw 4 of the 5 14s within meters of one another. Trying to pick your way through slower boats continued to be very challenging. Not sure what happened to the others, but as we were sailing up on an Ultimate 20 we tried to decide if could go under and break through the wind shadow, or get over them. After waiting too long to make a decision we essentially crashed gybed which turned out to be the case as we rolled it in and went from in the thick of things to immediate 4th place. Hendo won the race with Paul 2nd, Cam 3rd, we got back up to finish 4th just ahead of Steve. The third race was similar breeze and direction, so we all decided it would be a good time to get out of Dodge and do our Distance race which was a windward / leeward then long upwind sail under the SD Bay Bridge up to the north end of the bay to FM 19, back downwind to Channel marker #23, back to FM 19 then back to the finish. It was tight sailing for the first windward / leeward, we then started up the bay. Cam and Evan had found their legs and a few of the early boat teething problems had improved, they had great upwind speed. Paul and Guillo were next mostly trading spots back and forth with Ruetenik/Brown. Most of the way up the long windward leg, Puckey/Sjostedt put the boat in the water. Later we found out broken tiller universal so they retired. Galvez and Ruetenik traded places on the fast downwind to #23, on the way back up Galvez got back ahead and when he turned at FM 19 and set it was game over. Galvez 1st, Ruetenik 2nd, Hendo 3rd, Shumaker 4th and Puckey DNF. Beers were handed out from the Ruetenik Chase boat for the sail back to Coronado YC. There were some tired crews and skippers after a long day on the water and few of us in good skiff sailing shape after the long cold winter.
Day two started with no breeze in the Glorietta bay, so we towed out behind the 14 chase boat staffed by fellow 14er Jack Salerno who is back from Spain and getting ready to start sailing more. The RC set up for the light sea breeze which had started, however it soon stopped and came in strong from the east at 90. I've not seen that direction on south bay previously and if so, it is usually short lived. The RC reconfigured the course 180 degrees from the initial setup. They got the 1st race started which was a decent race for the 1st boats to finish (us) but then fell apart for the slower boats and boats were finishing going upwind while boats at the leeward mark were still under kites. Hendo won just ahead of Ruetenik with Puckey in 3rd, Galvez 4th and Shumaker 5th. After reconfiguring the course again, the breeze finally settled in at a right number around 290, headed back toward the bridge. The race got off and was very close again at the top mark. Have I mentioned that we had to sail through several fleets of slower boats every race? Galvez was ahead by a decent margin with Hendo in 2nd and Ruetenik in a fairly distant third with Puckey further back. I may have also previously mentioned that the breeze is very puffy and fluky with Santa Ana's. On the last run Galvez went to the favored left hand side of the course (looking downwind), Hendo went right, Ruetenik split to the middle for a while, started to press back left as did Hendo, Paul was far left. When I went that way just a bit it felt really light so we gybed out to the right hard. Paul and Hendo got stuck on the left and we slowly sailed around both to take the win. As I said to Garrett, better to be lucky than good! Hendo ended up 2nd, Puckey also came from the left but not as far and got past Galvez for 3rd with Paul and Guillo 4th and Steve & Tom in 5th. A few more Heinekens for the sail in thanks to the 14 mother ship.
Day three started out similar with a tow out. Hendo was leading the regatta with 9 points, Ruetenik and Galvez had identical scores of 11.5, Puckey on 22, and Shumaker on 24. Race six started with a mild sea breeze around 6-10. Everyone fought for the boat end start as we all anticipated the right shift. Ruetenik got off the line and right early which seemed to be a winning move. Galvez was out there and to leeward with Hendo a bit more left and Puckey even further left. Ruetenik over stood slightly which held up Galvez. On the starboard lay line the breeze continued to lift and were were all over stood. Gybe set and sail through the other fleets. Ruetenik gybed a bit early to get back to cover Galvez who did a bear way set and went to the right side downwind. The early gybe was covered by Hendo who got even more tangled up in other fleets. Galvez got some pressure outside and got back into the race rounding the bottom second. We all again extended right again, overlaid slightly and sailed fast forward to the top mark, again Gybe set (got better at those this weekend) and sailed to the finish. Ruetenik 1st, Hendo 2nd, Puckey 3rd, Galvez 4th, Shumaker 5th. Probable last race of the weekend and the course reconfigured right to 305. Got away after the other fleets, yippy we get to sail through those boats again! Breeze was up some to 12-15. Another sprint to the right, Puckey and Galvez get there first. Cameron and Even are going great in this breeze and continue to extend on the rest of the fleet. Hendo and Galvez close and Ruetenik back a ways. You know the old saying, don't sail the wrong way just to do something different, well there is a good reason for that saying! We go left trying to do something different and just continue to lose out. Cam wins sailing away, Galvez finishes 2nd ahead of Hendo in 3rd, Ruetenik in 4th, Shumaker 5th. The RC had a tough weekend and did well to get 7 races in. We were are all treated to beers from the chase boat with Jack, Renee, Yvonne, and Tom's wife Mele for the sail in.
Boats were packed up for those headed out of town. I suppose one of the positives from sailing through the other fleets all weekend was lots of people saw how fast and fun the 14s are. I had no less than 3 different people come up to me on Sun and ask how to get into the fleet. Hopefully we get some mileage out of some of them. Next on the Calendar San Diego Super Cup Apr. 11-12. If you haven't done this regatta, you have no idea how fun sailing these boats can be, if you've been here before you already know. I've invited 49ers and 49er FXs as well, we'll see if any show. Don't forget your entry fees! $1.00/ft. (of boat) and 2 six-packs of your favorite local (to you) microbrewer beer. See you all then