XXVIII Banderas Bay Regatta

XXVIII Banderas Bay Regatta

START PRACTICE / BEER CAN:

DATE:24 March, 2021
DEPARTURE:Paradise Village Marina
DESTINATION:Paradise Village Marina
TRIP:21.7
ENGINE HOURS (at Destination)488.08
CREW & GUESTS: Julian, Colin, LeeAnn & Charlie Clark (sv Juliet)

The Banderas Bay regatta organizers set up the day for revolving start practice, and this gave us the opportunity to see how we faired against the competition, as well as get a bit of a routine with the crew expanded with LeeAnne and Charlie from sv Juliet. We left the dock in Paradise Village and put up the sails as soon as we were past the breakwater and headed the few miles to the starting position closer to Bucerias.

The wind was fairly light to begin with but built up nicely with the usual afternoon Banderas Bay thermal effect kicking in. We settled into a routine with Charlie at the helm, and Colin and Julian doing winch work and running to the foredeck to manage the genoa through the gap between the forestay and staysail during tacks, with LeeAnne filling in where needed (“pass me the winch, LeeAnne”). With the (larger) genoa, and constant tacking back and forth through multiple start procedures the winch crew were feeling the burn fairly early.

The starts went pretty well. As a team we seamed to get a good sense of getting to the start line at around the right time, and Charlie’s previous racing experience was a certain asset.

After an hours of starts, we opted to join the Wednesday Beer Can race, and ran the course, feeling pretty good about our performance.

Back at the dock, we were feeling ready for the regatta and had more confidence we might get through the week with our self respect intact.

DAY ONE:

DATE:25 March, 2021
DEPARTURE:Paradise Village Marina
DESTINATION:Paradise Village Marina
TRIP:23.4
ENGINE HOURS (at Destination)489.03
CREW & GUESTS:Julian, Colin, LeeAnne & Charlie Clark (sv Juliet)

After the Beer Can race and practice experience, as well as an early weather report that we were expecting slightly more wind than yesterday, we started the day by swapping out the genoa for the higher cut jib.

After clearing the breakwater however, the wind seemed lighter (it was an hour early in the day) and we had to motor sail to the start in order to get there in time.

We had a good start, and after rounding the first mark, found ourselves amongst some fairly competitive boat for the long reach, and with all three white sails out, we were pretty much holding our own. A long reach the other way, and we finishedwith a few boats behind us, feeling like we were fairly happy.

Checking the results that evening we were delighted to see that we had placed 3rd out of 8 competitors.

DAY TWO:

DATE:26 March, 2021
DEPARTURE:Paradise Village Marina
DESTINATION:Paradise Village Marina
TRIP:26.1
ENGINE HOURS (at Destination)489.36
CREW & GUESTS: Julian, Colin, Charlie Clark (sv Juliet)

Prone to constant indecision, and feeling as though we had some ‘gas in the tank’ the previous day, we put the Genoa back on the forestay in the morning. As it turned out, this made for some nice photo shots but did not do so much for the boat’s performance.

The day was great, and the interesting moment came when we ended up on a similar reach as the previous day, with the same group of boats, however, this time we were not holding our own. This is a bit of a revelation as we had assumed the genoa gave us speed at the cost of ease of handling, but when pitched against the jib and staysail combination, that appears not to be the case.

(Note* It may be that the genoa is older and needs the luff line over-tightened to stop it flapping, and it may be improved with a trip to the sailmaker for a slight recut).

We got the opportunity to fly the spinnaker and did a great job of getting it up and deploying it, however, we still felt that the time lost in deploying it and putting it away overshadowed the benefit of the marginal extra speed on the majority of the leg, particularly given only three of us as crew, and limited hands for all that is required.

We felt we had dropped down from the previous day, and sure enough, we came in 5th for the race, but were just holding onto our 3rd place going into the last day

LeeAnne opted for a recovery day, and instead, flew her drone off the beach, catching the start of the race on video. Her full video is here https://youtu.be/fz1f2VHJQu0 and a segment of that is here:

DAY THREE:

DATE:27 March, 2021
DEPARTURE:Paradise Village Marina
DESTINATION:Paradise Village Marina
TRIP:23.7
ENGINE HOURS (at Destination)490.09
CREW & GUESTS:Julian, Colin, LeeAnn & Charlie Clark (sv Juliet)

As was now customary, we started the day with a sail change back to the jib/staysail magic combo, hoping to replicate the Day One performance however, the first upwind leg was a bit of a disaster and we could never recover, despite solid performance after the first leg. We tacked to early on the first leg, and found ourselves needing to add a further tack to reach the mark. Having tacked the second time we then found ourselves on a port tack, having to give way to boats coming toward the mark on starboard. Needless to say, significant time was lost! Our final placement was 5th out of 8 … still respectable (and I’ll still question a handicap that shows a 1984 Passport 42 as owing time to a Hylas 49, and pretty much on par with a Beneteau 390)

Nevertheless, the rest of the race was super fun, and overall the experience of racing for the four days was quite affirming. Cruising around at a cruisers pace, usually opting for comfort over speed, you get the sense you have become adept at various aspects of seamanship (anchoring, boat handling, etc.) , but not necessarily very good ‘sailors’, so it was great to focus on making the boat go as fast as it will, and also affirming to see the boat respond to being put under pressure.

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