Today was definitely not JAPSDIP, as there was nothing perfect about it nor was the Gulf paradise. It was cool (50 F at about 11:30 AM) with a heavy overcast and intermittent rain. The wind was from the NW around 10 knots at the start time of 1:00 PM, which steadily increased into the low 20s during the time we stayed out. Only five boats came out, Fruition, Raegan-e, Bella Mer, Opalina and Flash. The race was a pursuit style race on an 8.9 NM triangle, windward leeward course. We (Flash) started behind Opalina, Bella Mer and Fruition and in front of Raegan-e. It rained a bit before the start and periodically harder later, and we got quite cold, excepting Drew Gillett, who was properly prepared.
We had a new crew member on board today, Lew Buckminster, who sailed into Venice a few weeks ago from the Chesapeake Bay on his Elite 36-4, Escape, a very pretty boat that you may have seen tied up at Fisherman's Wharf recently. Lew started out at the helm and did a commendable job of steering for the first three legs. The first leg was a beat and we were passed by Raegan-e when she lee-bowed us and we passed Opalina and possibly Bella Mer. The second leg was a bit too close for our spinnaker, so we held a bit high and set it fairly close to the second mark, where we gybed. After getting things squared away we began to gain pretty rapidly on Raegan-e. Unfortunately as we got to the end of the leg we suffered mass confusion and failed to get the chute down before sailing past the mark. At the same time I ran out of steam as well as brains so I grabbed the wheel away from Lew and sent him off to crank winches. What I should have done was to go below and take a nap, because from that point on I was confused, shaking with cold and generally useless. I think that was the coldest I've been while sailing in the nearly 15 years I've been here. While we were recovering from the bad rounding Bella Mer passed us, but before we got to the windward mark for the second time, we passed her again. On the run to the finish the wind started to blow in earnest and about halfway down we gybed and got a terrible figure-eight spinnaker wrap, which we didn't get out by the end. While the crew was fighting with the chute Bella Mer, sailing wing-and-wing, caught and passed us just before we finished. So the final order was Fruition, Raegan-e, Bella Mer, Flash and Opalina.
Mercifully, the race committee canceled the second race.
It's now 10 PM and I think I have warmed up, but I've spent an hour snoozing under a down comforter, had some food and two hot chocolates laced with peppermint schnapps. I think I'm going to move to Florida!
Cheers,
John

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