Coastal Cup 2012

The 2012 Coastal Cup was predicted to be a fast, windy, 360 mile ride from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. David Liebenberg was on California Condor, an Antrim Class 40. Wind at the start was a moderate 10 to 15, but with a 5 knot ebb, getting out the Gate the 5 miles to the turning mark (R8) was fast. The next 2 hours of the race was a tight 2 sail reach in 12 to 15 knots and big swell. We did 4 head-sail changes, and the wind finally freed enough for us to set our A-1. The wind stayed moderate throughout the day and evening. As the sun set, it built to the low 20s. We made our first jibe at 1030 PM, holding the jibe for an hour then heading back out offshore. We were considering peeling to the A-3 as the puffs slowly increased to 25, but decided to stay with the A-1, which was at the top of its range. We were surfing down waves with maximum speeds in the low 20s. At 1:30 am, I was off watch when I was awakened by a whooshing noise followed by frantic yelling. Stumbling out of my bunk I frantically pulled on my foulies and harness while being thrown about down below. “We lost our starboard rudder” was yelled down the companion-way. Luckily it was our weather rudder, so we were able to maintain control until we doused the kite. We took the main down and surveyed the damage. In the dark and being thrown about by the waves it was impossible to take off the top rudder bracket, so we tied it up out of the water with a spinnaker halyard. Checking to make sure the prop was clear of lines we turned on the engine and regained some control of the boat. We were 70 miles away from Morro Bay, the closest harbor, and had minimal steerage. We filled up both port water ballast tanks to keep the port rudder in the water and set a staysail to help make head-way. We arrived in Morro Bay just after noon on Friday under engine and one rudder. It was a great race while it lasted and good preparation for the Pacific Cup next month.

Evan Sjostedt and the others on Rio, a Transpac 52, were excited about the possibility of breaking the 20 hour race record set by Magnitude 80 if the forecast of 25-40 knots of wind materialized. We lead the fleet out of the Golden Gate and did several peels, from the jib and genoa staysail to the A5, then to the A3. The large waves and big apparent wind changes were too much for the A3, which tore. The A4 went up in its place and we held that sail until midnight. A couple hours before sunset, the wind started building to 20-25kts of wind and Rio was ripping down the waves, hitting 25+ knots several times. A huge amount of water was cascading over the deck and our inflatable PFD’s were going off just from being on the foredeck. At midnight, the wind had built to 26-30, beyond the range of the A4. The bow was digging deeper and deeper into the waves, and it was time to switch to the A5. The takedown cost us one tackline, when the cover broke and bunched up behind the jammer, forcing us to cut it. Within ten minutes of putting up the A5, it tore. I went out on the sprit to spike the tack, but once spiked, the tip of the Tylaska shackle caught on the grommet and jammed. I had to wait until the kite was unloaded when we were surfing down a wave to free the shackle. With both our heavy air kites broken, the only sail we could put up was the jib top. We held the jib top until sunrise, still doing 25 knots at times. Down by Point Conception, the impeller on the speedo gave up the ghost and ripped off the bottom of the boat. 20 miles away from the finish, the wind shut off completely. Spoiled by the fast sailing through the night and with the record beyond our reach, we slatted for five hours before we called it quits and motored in to Santa Barbara.

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