Ocean racing is a completely different experience than Bay racing. There are far fewer heart pounding moments like starts, mark rounding and spirited discussions with other boats. There are far less boat on boat shenanigans, but there is lots of strategy and boatspeed discussions - and a lot of other discussions about who knows what before remembering you are supposed to be racing and preparing for the next change that the weather or race course will throw at you. That said, even on a 50+ mile race the Moores were never very far apart. We sailed three abreast bow for bow on starboard tack for at least 3 hours each one of us having moments of ‘we’re going great’ to moments of ‘what the hell just happened’ as the other guy legs out on you.
The race was started in 0-3 knots easterly in a very early quiet ebb. The Moores were the 8th start and we got a little puff in our sequence that got us drifting a little faster than the previous starts, quickly putting us amongst some of the bigger boats. This helped set us up for the overall corrected time results. The northwesterly filled in from....of course, the south, and all the fleets were fully powered up an hour after the first gun. Snafu led the charge out past Bonita. The 6 boat Moore fleet largely stuck together early working our way west and north beyond Bonita, the big question as always was when to commit for the island on starboard. Then came the 3 hour long drag race to the island. The breeze lifted significantly leaving us free to ease the jib slightly and sail fast. The headsail change was always coming and inevitably arrived with the breeze hitting 12 -15 knots.
The island could be seen from 20 miles away- at 6ish knots it is a long layline. We got there around 2.30-3pm in about 20 knots with slightly eased sheets. The island was spectacular, crystal clear with relatively calm seas. As per usual, there was only time enough to steel a few glances at her. Banditos led by just a few boat lengths from Snafu with Mooretician just behind in 3rd.. The first 5 Moores rounded within 10 mins of each other- marvelous racing after around 6 hours on the track.
On the far side of the island chutes were popped on starboard before a quick gybe back to port to see if we could lay the bridge as it was always going to be a tight headstay reach. Now was when you really missed a having 800+ lbs of crew camped on the rail to get the boat rolling. It was obvious we weren’t going to lay the bridge as Pacifica was mostly in our sights. So about half way in to the bridge, kites came down. The wind strength popped up a little a bit and the wave angle squared and we actually got in a few nice surfs.
Positions stayed as they were at the island but we had lost sight of Mooretician, which is never a good thing in the ocean. We were joking that Mooretician had gone north early from the island and was roaring down the course to our north....naah couldn’t be. Sure enough their kite appeared at Bonita seemly abeam of us as we popped the kite again just outside of Mile Rock. Mooretician & Snafu converged incredibly close to each other at the bridge after having sailed completely different courses on the way in. They were close behind us as we all gybed onto starboard to make the finish line within a few minutes of each other.
Big thanks to BAMA for continuing to make this incredible experience possible for us all.
- John Kernot, Banditos