The 2014 Harvest Moon Regatta was another success. The annual regatta is one of our favorites so check out Keith Magnussen's report from the race on board James Liston's J-120 Aeolus.
The annual Harvest Moon Regatta (HMR) is also my annual trek to the great big state of Texas. In the past this race has throen some very challenging and interesting weather my way and this year was no exception.
After meeting up with my fellow crew members at Houston Yacht Club we headed down to James Liston's J-120 Aeolus. James has been a great customer and friend and I always enjoy sailing on his boat. This year we were sporting a brand new Code-0, Carbon GPL Genoa and an AIRX Code 1A spinnaker. We felt we had a pretty good arsenal to compliment the 3A, Max class running spinnaker and spinnaker stay-sail. Mark Michelson from Dry-UV not only supplied some fantastic crew shirts he also supplied us with a weather routing synopsis. Not sure it would benefit my good friends on the Viper 640, they were looking at a wet ride!
HMR starts of the Galveston pier and our class was due to start at 3pm. We handily won the start as we jumped out to an early lead. The Santa Cruz 50 quickly passed us on the tight jib reach which she is essentially made for. We held off the J-122 for a bit as we traded off lanes looking for clear air. We ended up with the low road and Rebecca (the other J-120) took the high. Low road was not the way to go as we ended up fighting for clear air with the smaller boats we were all passing. Our speed was great as we pushed 10kts of boat speed right on rhumb line.
Unfortunately for us we had some issues on our headsail changes and ended up losing a lot of time. Won't go into details but having the right set up for the bowman to work at night is crucial to success on overnight races. Eventually we had to switch to the number 3 as the wind went more forward and strengthened.
Back to the race! I forgot to mention the beautiful sunset. Sunset's on the water are exceptional. The colors, anticipation of night sailing and promise for some adventure make this time of day very special.
Around 2am (I think) the fun really started. In come two squalls for some excitement. The first one was relatively tame with rain and wind in the 20's. The second one... well thats the one to talk about. Full on downpur, rain going sideways, 30+kts of wind, visibility 5 yards, rain hurting your face means it is about time to reef the main. Job well done on this one!
After the squalls passed the real breeze settled back in. It must have been over 25 at times because we had to flog the main, which was reffed, and only had a #3 headsail up. If you sail J-120's then you know how much breeze it takes to do this.
Fun it was! 16kt top speed with an average of around 13 made this the best sailing of the race!
full results) it was a learning and bonding experience.
See you next year Texas!
|Dolphins surfing the legendary tanker waves Texas are known for|