October 17, 2011

Harvest Moon Regatta 2011

The 2011 Harvest Moon Regatta was completed this past weekend in near perfect conditions.  This years race was the polar opposite of last year when 200 boats battled winds up to 35kts on the nose and 12 foot seas.  Fortunately we were treated to a downwind race in variable conditions ranging from 6-23kts.

The PHRF Spinnaker Class was well represented with everything from a Santa Cruz 50 to Navy 44.  James Liston's J-120 Aeolus was running a new 3A and Staysail that helped power the boat down the coast.  The race started in around 12-15kts of wind at about 130-135 TWA.  Most boats elected to go with a Code 0 but Aeolus went right to the 3A which proved the correct call as they seemed to have better speed and direction towards the first mark at Freeport.  The wind started to shift slightly and it was time to peel to the Max Runner.  The Freeport Buoy was rapidly approaching and Aeolus was in great position as they rounded the mark 4th, right behind a King 40.  A change back to the 3A and a little trouble on the King 40 saw the J-120 now sitting in third boat for boat and 2nd on corrected.

The game plan of staying inside and looking for more pressure paid off as they never saw under 10kts of wind and actually had a puff of 23 as they hit their top speed.  Sunrise came and so did a jibe off the beach about 23 miles from Port Aransas.  A wind shift to 60 degrees saw them right on lay-line and the outside boats now started to struggle to soak down to the entrance buoy.  The King 40 was about a mile behind and the Santa Cruz 50 about 3 miles ahead.  Aeolus rounded the turning buoy just as a tanker was emerging making for some difficult maneuvers in order to stay clear of the large vessel.  This also delayed the spinnaker change and in turn cost the boat around 12 minutes of valuable time against the overall standings.

Third Monohull to finish, Second in Class and Third Overall was a great result in a highly competitive race.  Check out the Full Results and watch the High Definition Video on Ullman Sails TV.