“Hey Krabby, it sure is a nice day for a race to Ensenada, but where are all the boats? There are far fewer boats than last year – why do you think that is?” asked my editor as we made for the starting line on Sally for the San Diego to Ensenada race.
“That’s an interesting question, this is one of my favorite races because you get a taste of offshore racing within a weekend. It’s a great opportunity for less experienced sailors to get out on the water and test their skills and their boats.” I responded as we got our 10-minute warning.
“I must say that I have had some reservation about this race because sometimes you are drifting for hours trying to make the last few miles to the finish.” chimed in the Eastcoaster.
“You know, this will make for a fine Krabby topic to discuss on the way to Ensenada,” said the Editor.
“Great idea - but, first let’s get Sally on the starting line sailing fast and on time,” I said
“Pin end is favored, Krabby – 10 seconds to go…we’re racing!” exclaimed the bowman as we won our start.
“Back to what I was saying - there are some legitimate concerns that people might have about racing to Ensenada, but I see it as a great opportunity to put to use all the great advice we give in the Krabby columns.” Said the Editor.
“Hey, that’s right - we will be using coastal navigation, sail trim, the stove, the head and everything in-between,” said the Eastcoaster completing her thought and recalling recent topics.
“Well this was my first offshore race 4 years ago, and I keep coming back. It’s been so much fun and I have learned so much from the experience - I just don’t understand why there are not more boats out here,” said the editor.
“Of course, but you were on the fence about going and taking the bus back this year. Even though I told you how nice and easy it is – it still took the East Coaster to convince you. That’s what happens though, people don’t like to get out of their comfort zone,” I said.
“You bring this up often: getting out of your comfort zone – and you also advise readers how to address some rather uncomfortable situations when you answer questions in your column. I’m noticing a theme here Krabby, the Editor noted.
“You have given sailors advice to deal with almost every situation they will encounter in this race,” added the Eastcoaster.
“Exactly, so where are the boats. Usually, by now 2-3 of the big boats with pro crew have passed us, but we are still in the lead.” observed the Editor.
“You’re right – no excuse there. This is an easy day-sail for most of them. It’s possible some of the big boats are not participating because there are too many other events going on and/or maybe there are some new owners in the fleet who are tentative about racing to Ensenada,” I guessed.
“Getting back to our race - I am still worried about drifting all night, what if the breeze doesn’t fill in and we are drifting out here for hours?” whined the East Coaster
“We have to remember that chasing the wind is part of the sport of sailing. When the wind gets light, the sport is much more about skill and sometimes luck to find the wind first and get ahead. That’s when you can really learn a lot about sailing your boat. Of course, it can also be frustrating sometimes but with some patience, it can pay off. Don’t forget, it can be a lot of fun too – we have talked about having a good stove and food and, of course, drinks….by the way, it’s got to be five o’clock somewhere – even though its not quite noon local time.” I said with a parched voice.
“Oh no, Krabby - how could we have forgotten about drinks?! I’m suddenly feeling scurvyish” said the Editor.
“Ok then, I’ll assume my favorite jobs aboard – bartender, cook, and navigator. Now, who’s thirsty?” I asked.
“Looks like a round for all hands, but go easy, we have a long way to Ensenada” answered the East Coaster taking in the drink orders.
“Yes, yes, of course, we need to pace ourselves. That’s the whole idea here, you can make this fun and competitive racing. Comfort and moral are what keeps the crew engaged and good food and drink can make a big difference. Like I have said, a well-appointed galley and rum locker are key. It’s not that hard to make simple dishes and drink that will please the crew, especially when its light going at night. Some coffee with a little something to keep away scurvy (if you know what I mean) can make the drifting and slatting less frustrating” I explained.
“Well, sure, but it’s easy to do on a big heavy yacht like Sally with a galley, refrigeration, a gimbaled stove, and no weight concerns – what’s another couple hundred pounds of food and drink on a 45,000-pound boat? But making hot meals might not be so easy on light little sport-boat like a Flying Tiger,” said the East Coaster.
“I bet they’re not having roasted pork and veggies with salad, and a hot desert” chimed in the Editor.
“Yes, but I heard they are making ramen noodles with fresh veggies on a jet boil stove. That sounds much better than a power bar and a bottle of water. I think you can be creative with what you have and make things more comfortable. Most boats have an adequate galley that can be set up to make good food and drinks for a race that is 8-14 hours long,” I answered.
“What about having watch shifts, like we do on our longer trips?” asked the Editor.
“This race is not long enough for formal watches, it’s best to have the crew rotate positions so everyone has a chance to rest or even have a quick nap. There might be a call for all hands if there is a sail change or jibe, I answered
“Sounds good, I’m all about napping, speaking of, when is lunch I don’t want to miss it while I’m napping?” asked the East Coaster.
“I wouldn’t let you miss lunch,” I assured
“Hey Captain, that is smelling pretty good down there, how about a break when lunch is ready?” came a voice from the deck
“I think they heard what you were saying about rotating, Krabby, we’d better get to eating and back on deck to spell the rest of the crew.” said the Editor.
“Ok, well I hope our discussion and advice will inspire more sailors to get out and do more off-shore racing” I concluded.
“Cheers to that,” responded the crew of Sally.