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Damned if you do….

From Jon Shampain, Navigator and den mother on the SC 50 Horizon as they not-quite slide to Cabo…

So you want to go offshore sailboat racing. Big breeze, fast boats…good times! Not! The ORR fleet started this year’s Newport to Cabo Race Saturday afternoon at 1300 with a roaring 4-6 kts of breeze, at least it lifted a bit to allow Horizon to sail roughly on a rhumb line course. It didn’t take long for most of the sleds and large modern boats to sail through our class after starting 10 minutes and 20 minutes after us. Most everybody just trying to sail down rhumb as most of the routing shows it is very dangerous; (ie a big gamble), to take the flyer outside looking for that big NW breeze…you can’t get there from here some say and the gradient breeze appears to be west of 120W. Our last routing before the starting sequence has us finishing Thursday evening, well after the race’s cutoff…good planning on the time allotment. Rumor is they may extend the cutoff a few hours, as they all have airline tickets home for Friday and they can’t extend it more and after all who wants to hang out in Cabo; it’s only warm & sunny, you can swim in the ocean comfortably and oh yea it’s spring break…drunk coeds most everywhere…drunk college guys too, something for everyone! Some drunk sailors too…go figure. Unfortunately for us at this rate the time limit needs extending another 24 hours for us little guys to finish unless something dramatic happens…leaving almost no time in Cabo for fun (ie heavy drinking)before having to return home to jobs and family or cold upwind deliveries.

But after all, we’re sailing, something we obviously love, on an ocean which is relatively smooth, blue sky, whales and dolphins, in a fleet with some of the planets best sailors on some very cool boats…how bad can it really be. But ask me again in 36 hours. We got off the line ok, seem to be holding our own, light upwind isn’t exactly what the SC 50 revels in but we’re ok so far. Now is when those words of wisdom from the editor so many years ago comes back to me; “can we quit yet?” He reminded me Friday night over a carne asada taco feed at my place that he would be warm & tucked in with a young warm body next to him while we would be cold, damp & alone…which reality sounds better to you? Dana Point was just off our port Saturday afternoon and how easily would it have been to sneak back home…nobody will miss us here.

After a slow season last year dealing with some of those aging issues, not the boat, just me, we are again gearing up for the next few years. Cabo and this years Transpac, PV or Cabo next winter with another MEXORC (best inshore regatta ever), followed with PacCup and the Channel Race (Oahu to Kauai) next summer, the program looks great. Mostly the same bunch of nuckleheads as the last few seasons and my son Erik has the boat looking quite sexy for a 30+ year old girl, with her new modern deck layout and some new Ullman Sails.

Well, the 1st position report and daily standing are out and I guess we did better last night than it felt while we were doing it. 1st in class and 1st overall. Updated results.

Maybe light upwind is the SC 50’s forte. It makes dropping out quite a difficult decision, but if you do quit, do it when you are ahead, anyone can quit when there behind…still we need the wind to fill if we are to have any chance of making the cutoff. At one time last night we had the Hvy #1, drifter, Code O, and 1A all on deck and we used them all…at least for a few minutes before the wind changed again and again. Hopefully we can catch a break and hold on…next stop Cabo.