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Posts Tagged ‘jaime torres’

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asw14-0947

Jaime Torres wraps up his report from Antigua Sailing Week from Class Zero.  Results are here, with the overhead shot from Tim Wright/photoaction.com

Let me re-cap the checklist I put together yesterday:

-Make sure Tonnerre beats True – CHECK

-Beat Scarlet Runner – CHECK

-Get the race committee to spare us from anymore Code Zero reaching legs. -CHECK

-Keep the A2 in one piece in 17 knots – CHECK

The deed is done, and an incredibly hard-fought second place will be etched into the memory of our crew of Northern Europeans for the rest of their lives!

It was a bad break for the otherwise well-sailed Scarlet Runner to rip a headsail halfway up the first windward leg on the final day of racing, and it goes to prove that old sails happen to best of us. They were our boat -for-boat challenger all week, and it sucked to lose our racing partner. We rocked the start (again), and kept the hammer on the whole time. Tonnerre did too -  they were very fast off the line and led most of the class, boat-for-boat, for the beginning of the first leg. That team has been around the Caribbean a few times and I enjoyed racing them when they were a 43 footer and my Smile and Wave was a 40 footer; they’re just as good now – or better.  Tonnerre finished with a perfect score line and truly deserve their top ranking. True suffered not from a performance malady but, in my opinion,  from a rating sting. They sailed well all week, but a 47-foot boat rating the same as TP52… it’s tough no matter how you look at it.

_pfa8804Our 2nd this week has been so thrilling to our team. Yes, we had some key positions filled by very qualified sailors… the driving, bow, pit, trim; Yes, the boat is very well rated; Yes, except for the lack of racing sails (an issue soon to be sweetly corrected), the boat is awesome. But, what made this regatta terrific was the team. Our navigator kept us in the game, the charter master, Ola Hox quickly learned the ins and out of TP52 driving and kept the boat on a groove when our seasoned pro Nic Bol was on break (about 50% of the time!) and the charter guests, a motley collection of businessmen, lawyers, doctors and entrepreneurs, provided plenty of horsepower to drive the grinders. Even in the worse of times everybody was smiling. The only rule was to have fun because, lets face it, that’s the only reason we are all here.

This team embodies the Smile and Wave sailing spirit. Those of you that have been following our adventures know that how cool its is to hang with great friends at fabulous regattas in a fun boat. Good performances generally follow, a podium finish is just a bonus, and the most important thing – the smiles – are enjoyed by all.

Our Caribbean season is done but I hope for more racing to be in the cards…Europe, Newport, Florida…who knows?  Keep an eye on Smile and Wave’s exploits here.

-Jaime Torres

May 5th, 2014 by admin

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_pfa6965Jaime checks in from the penultimate day in Antigua.  

Ok, lets get this out of the way: Balearia got her new sail! It’s a beautiful, paneled-spectra, 3di-looking high performance cruising sail. Faster than the number 4? In under 13 knots yes, over 16 knots, no. We put it up, again nailed the start, dropping True in our wake. Got to the windward ahead of everybody else and very close behind ICAP Leopard. We found a good speed boost and started savoring that huge bullet bonus!

As it turns out, we were a little early for that. A small navigational slip had us going fast in the wrong direction in the first long downwind leg. We lost all our gains and then some, as we had to hoist the jib (a tough job as this is no light weight race sail) and close reach up to the actual mark. To add insult to injury, what followed was a slalom of 2 back-to-back reaching legs where a Code 0 really paid off! Guess what? Our Code 0 is still in the planning stage. Our competition picked up and left us in the dust. True was particularly brilliant and had speed to burn; from were we were standing, they literally appeared to be riding the wake of twice-as-big ICAP Leopard.

Too bad we could not end our racing misery with just a single bad nav call on the day…In race 2, after a much-too-short lunch break, we had a less than stellar start. We went on to destroy another chute on the hoist, leaving us now with only one kite for the final day of racing: A big, light A2.

To remind you of just how close the fleet is here in Class 0, True came within 2 seconds of getting a bullet in the last race. And that valuable bullet would have given them not just equal points with us but the tie breaker in their favor. Thank voodoo for little favors! With our competition beating us in both races, we destroyed the nice points lead we had on both True and Scarlet Runner.  It’s now do or die for Team Varg on Day 5 of Antigua Sailing Week.

Here’s the Team Varg /Balearia ’to do’ list in order for us to take 2nd in CSA Class 0:

1) Make sure Tonnerre beats True
2) Beat Scarlet
3) Get the race committee to spare us from anymore Code 0 reaching legs.
4) Keep the A2 in one piece in 17 knots

No problem, right?

 

 

May 2nd, 2014 by admin

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Boricua’s Jaime Torres reports on Day 2 and 3 of Antigua Sailing Week from aboard the chartered TP52 Balearia.  Here are the Day 2 and 3 reports along with another nice photo from Tim Wright/Photoaction.com.  Like Jaime’s Smile and Wave Sailing Team Facebook Page here for a constant stream of year-round content from the Caribbean.  Results are here, and for a look at some nice video from Leopard and the Gunboat Zenyatta, go here.

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 11.23.05 AMThe fat lady has not yet sung, and with 2 days /4 races with no new sail catastrophes, I can honestly say that Team Varg has found its groove!

The predicted forecast for the past couple of days of 11 to 15 knots was spot on, and how crappy is that for a boat who’s only remaining headsail is a 6-year old  #4?None of us can quite understand how we have not yet succumbed to our misery, in spite of our bad breaks (no pun intended) to our sail inventory (if you can call 1 head sail “inventory”) situation. Nic Bols has been sensational in keeping our boat speed up in the gnarly chop that usually accompanies this level of moderate trades in Antigua. His job is only made easier by the fact that we are just rocking the starts. We fight for and get good lanes off the line every time because we have no choice: Without a bigger jib, getting behind is death.  The crew has backed him up with good tacks and gybes and iPad navigator Dagfinn Klausen has managed to wrap his head right around the currents and windshifts in the South of Antigua.

The Vroon machine aboard Tonnerre has been going fast all week, and his boring string of bullets proves for a 330th year that they can sail to their rating.  But for us, sailing against the phenomenally beautiful Kernan 47 True and the Aussies aboard bright their bright red Scarlett Runner is what’s kept this regatta so interesting. With very close ratings and similar boat speeds, we are racing for braggin’ rights here. We do not let up and I think we have earned some respect from those guys. It shows because they are out on attack mode and want to get us bad. They have to because the racing positions are being decided by seconds.

In race 2, the first w/l on Monday, we missed the $10K in bonus pay for a bullet offered up by the charter owner by just 19 seconds. In race 2, 45 seconds in elapsed time and less than that on corrected is all that separated 2nd from 4th, with us in second again!

Day 3 was another perfect day with imperfect sails. Tonnerre is running away with straight bullets and proving to be almost unbeatable, as she’s done so many times before in so many oceans. Our conservative but consistent sailing with no mistakes got us 2 more second places but the score line hardly tells the story. Most races have been almost too close to call in our mental timers.

The new headsail should finally arrive Wednesday morning, and we hope that will bring us that much closer to a first place in the daily prize giving. In the meantime we are all looking forward to the layday. We can definitely use the break and enjoy a day on Pigeon Beach watching the very cool Nonsuch Bay RS Challenge. Our pro kids will be representing Team Sailing Experiences on the RS Elites, while I suck on some well-deserved rum and cokes and narrate the action for the spectators.

-Jaime

 

April 30th, 2014 by admin

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Balearia Antigua Round the Island Race 2014

Longtime Puerto Rican sailing and paddleboarding cheerleader Jaime Torres took a break from his Caribbean Melges 32 fleet building to hitch a ride on a TP52 for Antigua Sailing Week.  Here are his first three days of reports along with photos from Tim Wright/Photoaction.com.  Like Jaime’s Smile and Wave Sailing Team Facebook Page here for a fairly constant stream of year-round content from the Caribbean.  Results are here.

ASW Day One – Sunday

The Caribbean sun and heat is not-so-slowly converting our laminate sails into a pile of trash. Two races, three sails down. At this rate I’m hoping the engines works so that can go out to watch the races on the last day of Antigua Sailing Week!

Acquired by Sailing Experiences just last year, Balearia is a 2005 Botin/Carkeek TP52 that has found new life in the race charter business, a business that is just exploding in the Caribbean. Set up with new sails and rigging, these super fun and fast boats make great platforms a group of amateur sailors to get a feel for the grand prix racing experience without having to spend huge dollars. This light green boat rates very well under the Caribbean Sailing Association rating rule and its fairly easy to sail. With a few good guys and few more enthusiastic crews you can truly have blast and even a shot at some silver.

The week started with a royal screwing by British Airways who deemed that 2 kilos was too much over the weight limit and did not allow our new sails to travel with our arriving crew. So here we are, nailing the starts, sailing in the right direction, killing it on the corners and yet our performance is literally torn to pieces as sail after sail meets its timely death in under the loads of the TP52 in. In fairness, the headsails are almost as old as the boat, but still.

After Saturdays 7-hour Around the Island race, the group was stoked for some short course racing in classic Antigua conditions. We sailed away from the competition as we trucked upwind after winning the start just outside of English Harbour – A nice lane, flat water, sunshine and going fast. In the words of perennial ASW writer Louay Habib, “it’s still champagne sailing!” And then, the a sailor’s wet dream alarm goes off….the heartbreaking sound of a ripping mylar and exploding carbon strips as a jib tears from leach batten to luff. The boat’s pro crew jumps into action to put a peel into play; it’s an excruciating and exhausting 5 minutes before we have the #4 up, one of the few remaining sails onboard. We managed to stay ahead of the pro-sailed True but Scarlet Runner capitalizes on our break and sneaks past.

At the weather mark, it’s the monster Leopard, the Volvo 70, Scarlet, us and then True and Tonnerre. The goal here is to get a piece of Scarlet while keeping True behind us…Not on this leg! On the second beat we struggle as the breeze drops to about 11 knots, still outside the range of the aging light jib we have below and way light for the #4 we have up. Positions remain the same. At the last windward mark, the A2 gets wounded on the hoist and a peel gone bad kills it for good.

We gybed on every lift and kept the boat going but Scarlet just sailed away from us. Day 1 ended with Tonnerre winning on corrected, Scarlet Runner in second and Balearia in third.

What is really cool is how this big group of older sailors, asking the right questions, hiking like they mean it and just stepping up their game every day. Much credit goes to Juan Navarro, the young Spanish dynamo/boat captain that Hitlers everybody in hiking and runs from the foredeck to the stern and back again, keeping this crazy train wreck going!

The boat gets lighter every day as we narrow down our available sail choices. We are now hopping for less than 10 or more than 18 knots so that we can work with what we have while waiting for replacement sails to arrive. The forecast is standard Caribbean: 12 to 15 from the east, partly cloudy with a chance of showers.  Horrible, right?

Round the Island Saturday

Balearia Antigua Round the Island Race 2014This was one long-ass, nearly 7 hour marathon of a race with light to moderate shifty winds including a massive hole in the leeward side of Antigua. A decent start off the huge cliffs of Shirley Heights was a sign of things to come: With a 90-foot luxury cruiser/racer on our windward quarter and solid rock about 150 ahead we started asking for water. Their response:  ”What?”

Us: “We need to tack!”

Them: “What?”

Us: “Ok, we’re tacking”

Right around that time, we realized there was a bigger problem: The VO-70 on their windward beam.  They were perhaps not prepared for a few minutes of wild puertorrican gesturing – that got them and the Volvo on the right page and everybody tacked over just in the nick of time.  Get clear on the rules, people!

From then on it was a chase after the well sailed Kernan 47 True and the RP 52 Scarlett Runner. Our first race as team came together nicely with the only casualty being an old medium jib that bit the dust.

ASW Practice Friday

We are racing with a charter crew that was just as long on age as they are in enthusiasm. They hit the grinders under the eyes of Nic Bol…a high level pro racer brought in to give this fun charter a chance to not only survive the week in one piece but maybe even collect some silver along the way. The crew boss, a young spanish kid barely into his low twenties yelled non-stop for everybody to hike like their lives depended on keeping the boat flat. Yeah it was bit of bitch but we managed to get though it. By the time we hit the dock at nearly 4 pm we had tacked about 150 times and gybed way too much. I thought you could never get enough of TP52 sailing but now I know you can.

We are looking forward to fun day on the water tomorrow in the Yachting World Around Antigua Race. We will be racing against some talented crews on very fast boats including the 100’ ICAP Leopard. I like our chances,but that is only if we can drag our tired souls back on board for a 8am off the dock call.

 

April 28th, 2014 by admin

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