Monday, February 2, 2015

Key West Musings- Dave Reed Sailing J/70s

Dave Reed- Sailing World- Editor(Key West, FL)- “How true is it that when your best day is your last day, it’s the only day you can remember. That’s how today went for us on the J/70 MUSE: With 20 knots, waves, and sunshine, all was good for three solid, but physically demanding races. The race committee did an outstanding job getting us out there early, and turning around the races quickly. The beats were short and lumpy, the runs shorter and exhilarating.

The planing return trip to the harbor . . . ahh— just an extra shot on top.

Starting had been our issue all week, and while today was a slight improvement, despite an OCS restart, we did finally get a good clean jump in the final race. A bit on starboard, a bit on port, and a whole lot of working the main we were with the top 10, and when you’re in the top, everything is a lot easier: cleaner entries into the leeward gates, less potential for chaos, and of course clear air.

There were times where we were really struggling, though, especially on port tack, more bow into the steep chop. Trying a combination of changes to the other controls, we ultimately just put the bow down more regularly and it seemed to help most of the time. There were many times where Heather and I were out of sync, and part of this I’m still learning how the boat should feel, anticipating and reacting to the puffs and waves better, and more than anything else, anticipating what she is going to do. When the bow is being thrown around up, down, left, and right, that’s not easy . . . at all!

But, we were clearly as best as we’d been all week in that final race, and the highlight of it all was the final jibe into the finish. We hadn’t had a single perfect jibe all week, and magically this one happened. The kite came across and filled, the main floated and stalled mid-way through the turn, we popped up on a 15-knot plane, with the finish straight ahead. Fifty-something boats in the rearview mirror was a perfect image to end it.

We finished 17th overall in the big fleet and second overall to Jim Cunningham in the Corinthian division. Cunningham ran away with it, but we squeaked into the silver on a tiebreaker with Brian Elliot’s B-Squared. And now speaking of silver, this thirsty sailor sure could use one of those Key West margaritas to ease the pain in my lower back.

Silver tequila, please.  No salt. I had enough of that for one day.”

Here’s another musing from Dave: “One of the best places to be at Quantum Key West Race Week isn’t on Duval Street or Mallory Square, it’s at “The Galleon,” a non-descript beige condo building with a marina on one side and a tiki bar and pool on the other. Packed into the marina are most of the sportboats, J/70s, Melges 24s, and a whole bunch of the IRC big-boats. Come 0900, the place is a bustling with pros going to work and the rest of us amateurs enjoying another holiday in the sun. When the races are done, boats get put away and the question of the day before heading over to the Tiki Bar for a mudslide is always, “How’d you do?”

Be sure to read more of SAILING WORLD Editor Dave Reed’s commentary while sailing with Heather Gregg on her J/70 MUSE.  Here’s the link: