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Saturday, March 25, 2017

March 25, 2017-Cruising to Tenacatita.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Still Life in Tenacatita

On Sunday we set sail on our 2017 cruise, two weeks to the day after we finished racing.

That was two weeks of shifting sails and loading the dingy, anchors, life raft, installing cruising equipment and doing provisioning. I thought we could get ready faster than that but the time flew by. As it was, in our haste to get away, we neglected some preparations and would have to make them up underway or when anchored somewhere south. Those included checking the water maker and the batteries, and both were to later give us problems, but we were in a hurry.

We departed fully loaded, ready for three months away from La Cruz, at 11:00 with the first hint of the afternoon thermal and the breeze built and we crossed Banderas Bay close hauled on starboard tack under a glorious blue sky. It was a good start to the trip and we and made excellent time, rounding Cabo Corientes in the afternoon.

And it got better.

By nightfall the wind filled from the north and by 9:00 PM we had a 20 knots behind us and it was pure sailing joy, sliding down swell after swell with the water rushing by the side of the boat and the white caps barely visible in the darkness as we swept them behind. The Southern Cross appeared in the sky ahead of us and that warmed our hearts as we thought of the passages we’d made in the southern oceans when that constellation was our constant companion. We clicked off the miles hitting high 7’s and low 8’s, and seeing occasional 9’s; the sails were filled and the sheets taut and untouched as the wind vane steered us arrow straight. It was joyous and very easy sailing. We had nothing to do on our watches but peer at speedometer and contemplate the fine life of a sailor.

On Monday we sailed into Tenacatita Bay on Mexico’s Gold Coast. It was a landfall which we last made in 1998 and it was then and still is stunningly gorgeous. But after 19 years things looked slightly different than what we held in our memories. We looked for familiar landmarks and saw only a few. Then we rounded Punta Hermanos and Punta Chubasco and arrived in the Bahia Tenacatita anchorage and it looked just like we remembered it. We jibed around Roca Centro and dropped the jib then glided under main alone to a quiet spot to drop the anchor. When Wings settled to the hook in Tenacatita it all came back and it seemed like we were just here last year.

Cruising is great again.

Click here for more photos.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Tenacatita

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

March 10, 2017-Racing is Over

john pounder - jldigitalmedia
Circling Before the Start

This year the racing ended Saturday with the Banderas Bay Regatta. Banderas Bay Regatta is the big race of the year. It is intense with more competitors, more boats on the start line, and more PR. Several teams added professional sailors to their crews.

Maybe we were ready for the season to be over. After three months of weekly, sometime daily racing and many days of special preparation for this event, maybe we were a little burned out. We sailed hard for those final three days and we partied hard every night culminating with the big party Saturday night. We had fun but we didn’t do very well. After winning almost everything during the season we ended up only 5th in the Banderas Bay Regatta.

It was great sailing, glorious conditions, but we made mistakes. They say that in sailboat racing he who makes the least mistakes wins. So that explains it. We had problems every day. We made mistakes, so we didn’t deserve to win. Still, that’s racing. It gives us something to shoot for next year.

On day one, after a fantastic start and leading around the first mark, we headed off in the wrong direction to the second mark. We went .3 miles out of our way and that cost us 160 seconds (navigation error). Then on the last mark rounding we had a problem with the luff of our jib and could not set it for the short beat to the finish which cost us another 40 seconds (equipment failure). There were no miracles with wind shifts that we could play to get it back. We lost the race by less than 200 seconds, so our mistakes and problems took us from first to fourth.

On day two we had a less than stellar start and got caught in a situation with Olas Lindas which caused us both to go slow, probably lost a minute there. Next we had a bad spinnaker set and while that sail was flogging the sheets shook off and it took two attempts to reattach them. I’d guess that cost us 1:30 minutes, so again we had over two minutes to make up. The race was basically a parade and we had no chances to regain the lost time. Instead of second we corrected out to 4th place.

On day three we had another sloppy start, behind Bright Star and we couldn’t get our air clear until after the weather mark, and then it was a parade. We wound up 5th.

Yes, we can gripe about the courses which didn’t favor our boat, but the bottom line was, we screwed up and so we ended up in 5th place in the regatta, and we deserved that.

But the sailing was glorious; beautiful blue sky, flat water, and nice breezes. We worked well as a team and we’ll be back next year. Other than my bad starts, for which I have no good solution, I have fixes in mind for all the other issues. I’m working on them already.

Meanwhile, Sunday morning we were well into the switch-over from race boat to cruising boat. The racing sails come off and after multiple trips to the storage locker the dacron sails on, solar panels, wind vane, dodger, awning, dingy, outboard motor, spare parts. Not a moment to be lost. Maybe once we get everything ready and untie the dock lines we’ll be able to relax. Right now we’re still running hard. It’s what we’ve been doing since December. It must be habit.

john pounder - jldigitalmedia
Going to Weather

wingssail images-nikk white balance
Crew Work

For two more sailboat photos, Click here

Click here for more crew photos.

Fred & Judy. SV Wings, La Cruz Hauncaxtle

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