"ease the god damn vang!"
Desert Olson/Anarchist Pete’s T-Ten Old School’s first race after the Catalina excursion was the "Round Ship Rock Race", the first of the 3 race Ocean Series sponsored by Seal Beach Yacht Club. A 48 miler from Seal Beach out to Ship Rock off Catalina and back. The sea breeze filled in quickly and was a classic Long Beach righty leaving most boats who took port tack up to Angel’s Gate and tacked to starboard over-standing a bit. The breeze had built to 18+ by the time we got out to Ship Rock.
Since we are currently using a Dacron class main we sometimes use vang sheeting to flatten it out when the breeze builds. When we jibed at Ship Rock and came up to a beam reach a gust hit and nobody had eased the vang from the upwind leg and SNAP!, the boom broke in half. There was still about a 4 inch section of aluminum holding the 2 pieces together and fortunately the sail hadn’t completely torn so we sheeted it in and headed back to Seal Beach. We were the 1st boat in our section to set the kite and totally motored the fleet. After passing everybody they finally followed suit but the masthead chutes couldn’t hold up high enough and were totally overpowered with lots of good broaches and wipe-outs. After one particularly good gust Bilbo Baggins chute evaporated into shreds.
They all went back to genoa reaching while we continued to motor with the kite up. After one violent wipe-out we broke the remaining piece of aluminum holding the boom together and it was completely in two pieces. We took the kite down and went back to the genoa to access to situation and Eugene, one of our trimmers and resident McGyver lashed a line to the vang to trim the forward section of the main and we continued to trim the aft section with the main-sheet. Surprisingly the main held together. Good old Thomas Sails of Cleveland obviously built some tough mains. Back up with the kite and on to the finish beating every boat in our section that owed us time across the line with the exception of a Schock 41 who had no business being in our section. We corrected out to 3rd, 2 seconds out of 2nd and 7 seconds out of 1st. Not bad after sailing the last 23 miles with a broken boom. Kudos to the crew for not panicking and dealing with the situation.