Written by Greg Mejlaender
Photos by Wilson Sosa Padilla, Lee Church & Erica M. Jackson
Scoring by Rick Martin
City League #1 was Epic FUN !!!
Most all the forecasts were quite pessimistic for any wind at Des Moines this evening... and most everyone believed it. However, the close-up mm5 showed wind at Des Moines for the evening (after a very calm, late afternoon). I figured there was a good probability of it happening... but the issue was timing. We're supposed to start sailing just after 6 pm. And last night's map models said, wind there at 6. However today's maps said wind at 7 pm. And I knew that, when I said "let's go" for tonight. I hoped we'd get enough to sail for an hour (or maybe 2, if we were lucky). And I knew there was a chance it would not happen... however the evening weather forecast was to be very warm (it was the warmest day in Seattle since early Nov). And blue sky and sunshine!! Therefore, even if the wind did not show up, we'd still have a VERY nice and pleasant evening enjoying great scenery and chatting sailing :)
Wind speed? I'd guessed early in the day (below) that we'd get 5-10 and hopefully a bit more than that, for the evening.
And well... we did get MORE THAN THAT... we had 10 to 18 mph (lots of 12-16 primarily, with whitecaps) wind from 6:30 till dark.
I started rigging at 5:45 when it was dead calm and others were out SUPing. By 6:20 they were back and rigging... we all hit the water after 6:30... we got the first race off just before 7 pm.
We ALL rigged our biggest sail... and tuned them for light wind... with less than usual tension on downhaul and outhaul. We all had full and deep draft jumbo sails... with the leech and head, as full and taut as we could, to catch the expected light breezes.
And we all would've been fine with a solid 5-10... but by the time we were all out at the Pier we had some whitecaps and 10-15. And for the 2 races we did, we had a solid 15+, LOL
Suffice to say that I and many others wished they had a different sail when it was 13-17 out there. I mean it was fine, and it was fast.. but it was a lot of work :)
We had a small fleet, with some of the usual's not there. Six sailors braved the weak forecast, and showed up... and as it turned out, everyone was REALLY happy to be there!!
Darius, Jonathan, Andrew, JohnM, me... and relatively new sailor, Plamen (who again surprised us with great longboard sailing with a big sail, in windy and wavy / swelly conditions). We all had sails from 9 to 11M. It's very difficult to sail downwind with a sail a bit too big for the wind, and in very choppy water.. but this crew has been working on that, and it showed.
Andrew and I were on Kona One Design boards. Plamen on a Mistral Prodigy. John on his Bic Bamba, Jonathan on Fanatic Mega Cat. And the coolest board there was Darius' new (only slightly used, looks perfect) Starboard Phantom 373 L raceboard (297 Liters of pure beast).
We also had a nice bunch of windtalk visitors there to hang out with us - Erica Church (Lee's wife)... Wilson (and family)... DanO and Kelli :) And I think we might be seeing some pics in a few days... that brave Erica and Wilson took, while standing in wind, out at the end of the pier.
So yes... we only got two races run... because of the late start... and because we were all worn out, after 2 races in more wind than our sails could handle comfortably. After the 2nd race most everyone stayed out, beam-reaching back and forth (BAF)... which is much easier than racing up and down wind. We were all fully laid out, over the water, and in the back footstraps on our longboards, reaching BAF !!
Two hours of great, fully powered-up sailing... awesome sunshine and blue sky with great views of Mt. Rainier and the Olympics... and the warmest day in 7 months!!