Fleets come and fleets go, but the Cal 25 remains forever. At least that’s how it is in Southeast Michigan, where the Cal 25 continues a long legacy of great racing, better partying, and lasting forever. Here’s the report from the Detroit gangstas who won last week’s National Championship without winning a race, and our apologies for our almost magazine-like delay in getting it up. Okay, not quite that bad.
The first weekend in August saw the Cal 25 fleet make its way to Port Huron, MI for the 2014 Cal 25 National Championship, some from as far away as Annapolis. Light winds all 3 days caused by a large high pressure system over the Midwest made for some delays with a final tally of 6 races going up on the board. 21 boats was the final headcount for the event, with over half of the fleet representing Detroit.
Target Practice had been awaiting this weekend for some time, and had done tons of boat and sail prep to ready for the event. Numerous jibs were looked at and the entire deck layout was reconfigured to try to give us more control over sail shape and eke out that hundredth of a knot from these 4KSB’es.
Day 1 saw light southerly breezes all day. Race 1 started in ~4knts of breeze, and saw a number of the top boats get off clean and flop onto port after a short while. Places remained relatively static around the course with Target Practice coming away with a deuce. The breeze died and we went under AP for ~90 min waiting for it to fill. When it did from a weak thermal, Race 2 saw a little more action on the line with some yelling and a couple of alleged fouls, but no flags. The rich got richer as clean air was king for the start of this race with the leaders extending, however on the 5 leg race the last downwind saw the breeze dying and things started to get mixed up with boats finding patches of wind that others simply didn’t have and some boats were able to improve their lot on this and the ensuing upwind. We led the day with a 2,2 followed by Draco and Holmebrew.
Nerves ran high on Day 2 as it was moving day. It was again light southerlies but with the expectation that a northerly breeze would fill in at some point. Race 3 and 4 saw more of the same from Day 1 with slightly more breeze, we again went 2,2 however Never Alone found an upwind gear that was untouchable and took 2 bullets. Race 5 was started with an easterly thermal breeze of ~5 knots. We suffered from an unforced error and were called over early just off the boat, while Obscured by Clouds won the pin with clean air and was first around the top mark. The course however was hugely starboard tack favored, so after ducking the line we found some pressure right and still wound up rounding in the top 5. We had struggled with our downwind angles all weekend thus far, and were having trouble sailing as deep as some of the other boats. A quick gybe saw us move up to 3rd and Obscured, Never Alone and us all went around the left mark. Obscured finished first with Never Alone right on their heels, followed by us. This unfortunately ruined our up-till-that-point perfect scoreline of 2-2-2-2.
We went into the final day with a 5 point lead on Never Alone. We expected no more than 2 races, and so the gameplan was to continue to sail our regatta, but keep a loose cover on the competition. Dense fog greeted us on the racecourse, but brought relatively strong breeze with it. However, starting a race in the fog would have been difficult and as it burned off the wind died. At about 1 oclock the fog had lifted and we had sufficient wind to start. The line was pin favored and so with a minute left we tacked away from Never Alone for a pin end start. We hit the line on time and with speed, only to look over our shoulder and see that Never Alone had done the same roughly midline. An early tack away saw us take some transoms to get to the favored board and pressure, and we were able to round in first. We held serve on the downwind and rounded the left mark again in first with Never Alone behind, coming with us out to the right. They reaped the gains of their high upwind mode and we were only able to round in front due to a header at the top mark that forced them to do 2 tacks. That header also saw Patriot squeeze in front coming in from the port layline, with Target Practice and Never Alone close behind. We finished in a dying breeze with our final deuce of the weekend and a 6 point lead on Never Alone.
Racing was very tight all weekend, and Port Huron Yacht Club and the Race Committee did an excellent job getting in 6 good races. Our thanks to Tyson Connelly and PHYC for running an awesome event! Target Practice was sailed by co-owners Erik Ryan and Adam Hollerbach, with me, Nathan Hollerbach, and RJ Wolney rounding out the crew.
USA 632 – Target Practice