My new Chilean friends: Diego, Alejandro, and Antonio! The solar panels are back on for her trip south.
Slacker has been officially sold, but it’s not the end of her adventures. She will be departing Marina Del Rey in a few weeks, doublehanding to Caldera, Chile in the Southern Hemisphere. Even more amazing, it looks like Thriller will be joining Slacker to her new home, either over the summer or next year! It appears there will be a small fleet of T10’s forming there. I will be loaning the new owner the Slacker Tracker, so we can watch his progress south.
We had a lovely sea trial yesterday: Slacker felt comfortable and fast. Sadness comes for me with her departure. There are many, many good memories.
And now I am boatless.
That sole green bow light on Janina haunts my dreams ever since the 2012 night drifting match down the backside of Catalina. In the 3am drizzle, a green bow light ever so slowly got closer…and closer. The Green Eye that never sleeps! By dawn I learn it belonged to the Tartan Ten hunter, Janina correcting out over Slacker for the win. Back to Janina in a moment…
Conventional thinking for this year’s Santa Barbara Island race is go west on port as the wind was expected to veer west that afternoon. Once having done so, you would flop over to starboard and fetch the island. After the start, the fleet largely proceeded west. Then reality set in. Starboard tack became ever more tempting: continue 70 degrees off-course on port, or 30 degrees on starboard and expect to get lifted to the island? The choice was obvious, and most boats flopped over to starboard.
Most, except for Janina. Early in the race Janina found a wind line off Malibu and pulling a horizon job on the fleet. Meanwhile, on Slacker the singlehander was busy arguing with himself. “Surely we’ll get lifted.” He tacked to starboard. “Wait, wasn’t the forecast for more wind to the west?” He tacked to port. For some reason, John Petit aboard Challenge decided to take a flyer with Slacker.
With dusk bringing 30 minutes of drifting conditions complete with spinnaker folly with brief easterlies, the wind filled in and the three of us were off to the island. Janinawisely changed down to a small jib and Slacker passed her, carrying her No. 1 into the darkness.
With the failing light the green bow light appeared. Aaaaaaaggghhhh! 40 miles though the night: It’s getting closer! Or is it? I’m so tired! It’s only a mile back! Surely I’ll be passed! As we tacked our way back to Catalina, the Green Eye caught up to Slacker. Then Slacker got just plain lucky and was lifted to the West End and the breeze held long enough to the finish.
Some light banter before the race on Ch. 72:
Challenge (John Petit): We haven’t seen much of you out here lately.
Slacker: Yes, I’ve been practicing the art of husbandry.
Challenge: That’s a life sentence, my friend.
Slacker: At least some of us know why we come out here singlehanding…
Slacker is officially for sale. There are things I’d like to do, and Slacker does not fit into those plans. She’ll be a great boat for someone – and a great deal as she’s all sorted out.
Moonset Over Guadalupe Island
The last hours of the race were pleasant and thankfully uneventful. The leg from Avalon to Marina Del Rey was done through the early hours of the net day, with a robust amount of shipping traffic that kept me attentive through the night.
But I suspect you really want to know what happened when all the wind hit the fleet down at the island, so here goes.
Towards the end of the usual light air down at Island, I found myself gybing the tacked Ayso downwind. The wind was 2-3 knots out of the South as I struggled back up the East side of the island. The water started agitating more and more and I could see the wind was going to hit shortly. I quickly removed the #1 and up came the #3. Down came the spinnaker and in went 2 reefs. I should point out this all happened in maybe 5 minutes. Then the wind hit and Slacker started upwind. Rubicon picked up the wind a few minutes later but I rapidly lost track of Rubicon. After just a few minutes the main was down completely, and Slacker was still dramatically overpowered, meaning the wind was well over 35 knots. Heavy water started coming aboard and I really wanted the storm jib up. Monitoring the conditions for a few minutes and mulling the headsail change, I noted the north end of the island was a few miles off to port. Checking the chart and confirming a cove of sorts in the shoreline, I tacked over and sailed to the cove. The flat water there was hard to resist, so I anchored, rested and relaxed to wait out the wind.
Most of the fleet handled the short-lived near gale the same way. Felicita, Voice of Reason, and Libre all anchored at the south end of the island to wait out the conditions. Aeriagne kept going due to a scheduling matter with her crew and raced/motored to San Diego. Rubicon and Grace were the two boats to gut it out, and each won their respective divisions.
East End is 20 miles ahead. We should get there if the wind holds. Rubicon finished, Grace will finish shortly, and Felicia just went by to the West. I am engrossed reading of.Saladin.
It’s been a lovely trip.
Slow progress northward as the breeze died off after midnight. Not to return until thus afternoon. Still, a blissful day with light winds and smooth water to charm me. That, and no pressure to race puts me in cruise mode.. Get up every 20 minutes? Yeah, right. Haul out the big genny? Pu-leeze. I’m too busy reading my book.
Speaking of which, just finished up with William the Conqueror. Already working on the folly of the Crusades.
Loving being out here. 100 short miles to Catalina
Way overpowered with only the small jib up, I considered my options. Keep going, break things, get wet, maybe worse. Heave to.and wait for conditions to improve, head for shelter just a few miles away, just.south of the dramatic northern point of Guadalupe Island.
I chose option C.
The Cove was very sheltered from the waves, not so the wind. The experience was akin to Cuyler Harbor on San Miguel. The winds at either location have to be experienced to be believed. My Danforth type Fortress anchor wouldn’t hold on the rocky bottom. I dragged multiple times but took care to never anchor near a lee shore.
After a restless night with the anchor alarm, Slacker departed around 8th for Catalina. Rubicon and Grace gutted out the conditions and are well ahead, but I am in cruising mode getting lost in Mark More’s The Norman Conquest.
190 miles to Catalina.
Here’s how to round Guadalupe Island:
– Make sure to run out of wind as you approach. For best results, keep your spinnaker up to ensure you get a wrap. In the event you have a spinnaker net, get it tangled and take 47 minutes to cut it loose.
– Take your spinnaker down 10 miles early you don’t want to miss the sights while you drift downwind with your jib as you pretend to race.
– When rounding the Southern end, drift aimlessly for 6 hours in no wind to let everyone catch up.
– When the wind fills in, make sure it’s at least 35 knots. No one wants to go upwind with more than a storm jib.
Slacker sought shelter today at the North end of the island to wait for the weather to improve. All OK aboard Slacker, just more than I and my boat wanted to deal with today. Actually really nice here. Will post photos soon.
Not a cloud in the sky.
Major Dickson ‘
Plenty of sunblock
Should be a good day.