Saturday, May 11, 2013

J/125s Love Fast, Epic Sleigh-ride to Ensenada

J/125 Timeshaver- sailing fast offshore California Ensenada(Newport Beach, CA/ Ensenada, Mexico)- 202 entrants for Ensenada Race saw some of the most epic, "send it down the autobahn" sailing conditions in decades this past weekend.  While it was a mostly windy, classic off-the-wind sleigh-ride in 15-25 kts from the WNW (the outer edge of the Pacific High wobbled in close to the coast compressing a Low depression inshore to the east), the final turn into the finish line at Ensenada was anything but.  Said one hapless, somewhat frustrated sailor, "It took us four hours to sail the last two miles!"

Was this the same race? In the Lexus Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race it depended on what boat you were on. The fastest finished soon enough to seize the glory; the slowest suffered some agony of windless drifting, but only near the end. For most of the fleet, the wind held strong well past the border until entering Todos Santos Bay.

From the "driver's seat" on-board the renowned J/125 TIMESHAVER, we got one report from "KMag" (Keith Magnussen, tactician) from the first day/evening: "A beautiful day of sailing! This years N2E is in full swing right now as we pass Point Loma at 5:30pm on the TIMESHAVER.  We had a good start (avoided a certain boat in our class like the plague) and immediately went to our small laminate Code 0.  Horizon below us and the two Farr 40′s above us meant we had to hold our lane well and avoid any dirty air.  We managed that and now set up for the day.  We opted to be one of the further boats out and ended up switching to our 3A pretty quickly.

With the wind at 260-270 we put the bow up and got on a low plane at about 140 degrees.  We were constantly in the mid teens as we scooted past Horizon, Blue Blazes and anyone else near us.  DERIVATIVE, the other J-125, went inside and he is now off our quarter stern to leeward about 2 miles behind us.  Horizon is to weather and behind about a mile.  We are now doing about 10 kts aimed about 1 mile outside the Coronado Islands. Hope this is the right call because Blue Blazes is looking their going inside the islands at this point. Ensenada by midnight??"

And, from TIMESHAVER's owner, Viggo Torbensen, we got this report: "We participated in the Ensenada race last Friday with my J/125 in the PHRF A class. We came up with a third in class and a fifth overall, this after having demolished the fleet all day long going down the California coast. Outside the Coronados at 6:30 pm we got caught in a small hole for about 20 minutes and the very well sailed "Horizon" a custom SC50, caught up and passed us. Around 10pm we both jibed in for the Ensenada bay, we were running our A2 in 13-15 knots of breeze, 140 apparent the boat speed was in the twelves, every time had a gust we were able to heat up just a bit and get the boat up to 14 knots and we pulled a boat length or two on the SC50 every time. The party was over when with hit an island of weed at 11:30, the boat went from 12 to 2 knots. We were lucky we were able to get out of the weed with just one full back down. We of course have kelp cutter systems on both the keel and rudder, but these are not really made to cut down a forest!! The back down cost us 10 minutes, running 12 knots of boat speed, we lost 2 miles or so to the SC 50, too much distance to recover with only 15 miles to the finish. The J/125 is a rocket ship-- love it, love it, love it!"

For a quickie video of their experience on "Vine" video, check this out little vignette from Keith Magnussen who was aboard TIMESHAVER:

As for the rest of the fleet, similar conditions were seen by the bigger, faster J's.  In PHRF A, the J/145 RADIO FLYER finished 9th and were over an hour behind the J/125 on elapsed time-- indicative of how well sailed Viggo's team cranked on the fleet in the evening/ overnight hours.

In PHRF D, Larry Levielle's team from Santa Barbara YC on the J/29 RUSH STREET again proved they're more than capable competitors offshore, grabbing 2nd in class and just eight minutes off taking overall honors in class.

J/120s had a ball as a one-design offshore racing fleet.  As one might expect, some new faces in the 120 fleet upset the status quo.  While J-ALMIGHTY won by nearly 40 minutes over HASL FREE, the next five boats all finished less than five minutes apart!  Holy smokes, that's remarkably close after that many miles, finishing just about overlapped with one another after 125nm! Third was SHENANIGANS, fourth was FEE EVENT and fifth was ADIOS!   Sailing photo credits- Leslie Richter/ Rockskipper Photography   For more Newport To Ensenada sailing information