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.
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.
Saturday afternnon. Slacker is slipping along at 5 knots on smooth seas. Idyllic and just what the doctor ordered.
The typical light air battle to get out of the Bay ensued yesterday, but we managed to keep up with Rubicon to the West End. A brisk reach ensued across to San Clemente, then the wind slowly started shifting aft. At 12:30 am I raised the spinnaker and kept it up till dawn when the wind died away. Beautiful 3 am sailing with the moonlight last night, enhanced by clouds shadowing the seas.
159 miles to go down to Guadalupe. Loving every mile.
This shot says it all. Moonrise over El Segundo shows Slacker moving 4 miles in 4 hours. With just nothing to work with and being too close to shore and traffic figuring it was a bad area to try to get sleep, I DNF’d around 7:30pm. Of the 14 starters, 2 finished by gutting out the long night and next morning. The light air demon Rubicon III again won, with a special commendation for C’s Folly a Mini helmed by a first time PSSA racer from the East Coast who also finished.
Guadalupe Island is next! Really looking forward to spending a little time offshore.
Not being aboard for 3 months and wondering if Slacker would make it out of the slip, I arrived at 8:30am to find filthy dirty decks. Before the rum could be stowed, a can of Barkeepers Friend was expended to detox the deck. Then behold! The engine started! Autopilot didn’t. Debugging while motoring to the start ensured no prep time to remember what was what before the start but soon Slacker was off towards Ship Rock.
Keeping moving in the light air was the order of the day – and night. More breeze to the west, but it took time to get out there. Kelp was everywhere off PV, but Slacker only had to back down once. Wind built up to 10 knots or so in the Channel, and the boats raced at 6 knots to within 0.5 mile of Ship Rock where we abruptly stopped. There was a effectively restart. All the boats I had worked to pass soon pulled even: Janina, Critter, Grace, Rubicon all pulled alongside as we waited for propulsion as the sun started to set.
Lights moved left and right, forward and back through the beautiful evening. Left of Rhumb line was the place to be. 2 knots of wind is much better than 1! The light air demon Rubicon
slid past Slacker in the last 2 miles or so to take line honors. Race replay available here
Rust off. Ready for Bishop in a few weeks.
Another good day to be on the water. A big fleet of 21 boats came out for the run over to Catalina Island. Rubicon III ruled the day in the light upwind air. Slacker tacked off to the west chasing a mirage & looking for wind but didn’t find any.
The BBQ on the beach was great. Beer, steak, and corn on the cob. Too many skippers and crew to catch up with! Nice close to the year.
Chuck Spear driving his J105 Twelve Bar Blues right over Slacker
Tracee trimming the genoa on the T-10 Thriller. Her backstay is off, and genoa halyard loose for fullness in the light reaching conditions.
The fog lifted just in time for the start with a wonderful fleet of about 15 boats. Funny how we had to blow fog horns to find each other in the mist & run the Rabbit. Light conditions persisted, but the course dictated a lot of close reaching keeping speeds up. The wind was also shifty, requiring almost continuous trimming of both sails. Too bad as I didn’t get much chance to relax. The spinnaker went up twice, once with success over to KH and once losing ground getting back to MDR. Slacker had a good day finishing 3rd over the line behind 12 Bar Blues and the J120 Felicita, despite picking up kelp on the way back from PV.
Brian Radamaker at the start
Forecast was for wind to build to over 20 knots within 3 hours after the start. Alas, the forecast was again optimistic. Another long night ensued for the racers, with Slow Poke edging out Felicita for the win. Slacker ran into unrepairable autopilot issues, and rather than man up & steer all night then to Del Rey on Sunday, I turned tail back to the barn and DNF’d. A very pleasant day on the water all the same!
With 9 starters and 5 official finishers, this year’s race, almost 48 hours long for most, was a test of patience, grit and sleeplessness. The light fluky conditions had no remorse for the fleet and especially the singlehanders. The spinnaker went up, came down and was repacked 6 times during the race. The breeze at the start – 8-10 knots died off with the light and not to get over 6 knots until 24 hours later with the Rock in sight. Then it died off again within 3 hours leaving the fleet mainly drifting for the second night.
These are brutal conditions for racing singlehanders as they must actively work the boat at all times. If you don’t, others will catch the wind and move ahead a few miles while you drift and catch up on sleep. So you try to guess when conditions will be stable enough to sleep for an hour or two. Sometimes they are, but not this race. I pushed through the first night well enough, digging out of a hole off Pt. Dume, but then started to drag on Saturday not sleeping. Slacker managed to round at 5;30 along with a TransAt Mini, fabulously helmed by Przemek on his first offshore race. I got the spinnaker up and crashed in my bunk for 3 hours.
Saturday night was not pretty. I was a mess with little sleep, lack of caffeine headaches and oddly a little queasiness. I was mainly in my bunk, sticking my head up every hour of so. I remember drifting with the current for an hour or two, thinking it was OK if everyone passed me.
By 4 am I could see some lights and was pretty sure the Mini had passed me. A little easterly came up & Slacker was able to move again. We had some lovely sailing with the Milky Way and then the early morning light. Aeriagnie came up to do the groggy 0600 Roll Call and I found Slacker had somehow kept her lead, although Slowpoke might correct on us, but that was fine with me. Brian Radamaker is an ironman out there & deserves the win.
I did see a small pod of Orca on Saturday in the swells. When you see that dorsal fin, you know what it is. Sorry, no photos.
Three cheers to all those who finished. I’m impressed.