Under overcast skies, with winds out of the south, seven frostbite teams completed seven races on a damp and cold Sunday afternoon. The results for Sunday, Feb. 4: 1. Pedro Lorson/Mimi Berry (#536), 2. Ted Toombs/David Cornachio (#514), and 3. Fee Metropoulos/Amelia Amon (#121). There was one capsize after the completion of race #4, but with the able RC rushing to the overturned dinghy, skipper and crew were on a crash boat within minutes and immediately whisked to shore. There was no crew race. With two weeks in a row of Sunday sailing, all are hopeful that the weather will continue to cooperate and provide exciting competition for the rest of the season.
Start of a race on Feb. 4. Seven races were completed on a cold and damp Sunday afternoon.
There are two simultaneous races circumnavigating the world. One is The Race, which is sailed in maxi-catamarans with a crew of at least 12 sailors, and has been mentioned in this column. The other race is the Vendee Globe Race, which is a solo circumnavigation. One of the competitors in the Vendee Globe Race is Ellen MacArthur, a 5'2", 24-year-old yachtswoman, sailing Kingfisher. Last week, Race Headquarters announced the Kingfisher had collided with a submerged object, possibly a container. According to MacArthur, "I was sailing along, the sun was starting to set...when all of a sudden the boat felt like she had hit land...I could see part of the rudder and the dagger board floating away." After checking all the watertight compartments, MacArthur spent a great deal of time getting the broken dagger board out and replacing it with her starboard one. Kingfisher has two lateral dagger boards at mast level, which are essential for upwind sailing and are also interchangeable. MacArthur managed to retrieve the broken dagger board, which was jammed and then transfer the starboard one, while continuing to head upwind so as to lose as little ground as possible. This was quite a feat, considering that the dagger board is twice her height and 1.5 times her weight, and she replaced it while continuing to sail upwind, with the hull on a 20-degree gradient, slamming into huge waves from an uncooperative ocean. Her comments at the end of her ordeal, "I went beyond what I thought were my limits...but Kingfisher was back sailing at her maximum. I've nearly got her racing to her full potential." Her extraordinary efforts have paid off. As of Monday, Feb. 5, Kingfisher is only 36 miles behind the leader, French skipper Michel Desjoyeaux, on PRB, who is 1,935 miles from the finish at Les Sables d'Olonne. Skipper MacArthur has been invited to join Britain's first America's Cup challenge since 1987. The British team's sailing manager, Ian Walker, said of MacArthur, "She could probably do it on her own." Few would disagree with that statement!
In last week's column, mention was made of the breakup of the team of Oracle Racing and the St. Francis YC. Additional information has become available that clarifies the reason for ending their partnership. According to the club's Commodore Steve Taft, negotiations broke down over the issue of control, as Larry Ellison wanted the club to amend its articles of incorporation and by-laws so that he could put three of his people on the board of directors. But since the St. Francis YC is a California corporation, the law requires that the board be elected. So the club couldn't legally comply with Oracle Racing's request even if they wanted to. Ellison's concern was the following scenario: Oracle Racing wins the Cup in 2003, after which the board of directors decide to hold trials for a defender of the next cup, making it impossible for Oracle Racing to defend for the club. Ellison is now looking for a private yacht club that can meet his demands.
In the February issue of Sailing World magazine, is an added section called Sailing World Extra, which is the magazine's annual guide to college sailing. A well-written story by Rick Arneson captures the camaraderie of sailors gathering together for the North/South, a west coast regatta that attracts 150 sailors and 60 sailboats. High school sailors and their parents, and even younger sailors who would like to sail in college, would enjoy reading this delightful "inside" view of college sailing. For example, the author writes, "as the last big regatta of the fall season - the competition is fierce...often the memories people take away from this event have only a little to do with how they crossed the finish line." The complete story, along with others of interest, plus the college sailing directory, is available online at www.campuscourses.com.