Sailing Japan saw us out there at 7:00pm last Saturday night lined to race in a 56 mile over
nighter. The race was organized by Kansai Yacht Club or KYC as it is known around here and was set to run from out front of Kansai yacht club down to Sumoto (34 21. 2 N 134 57.2 E) and back.
I had been watching the wind and weather for a week or so
prior to race and was uncertain as to what we would actually get on the day.
The start had 8 – 10 knots true from North, Spinnaker start and we were off. One and a half hours into the race and they were all lined
up in the dark. Mast and stern lights stretched out as far as I could
see. We were jostling for position with two or three boats at the
back. The parade was heading South East our wind and wave tactical group (My mates and I)
said go South West. Scary but off we went. Leaving that line of lights
behind and pushing over to the west was very lonely. One mistake here
could cost 10 – 15 miles at the end.
After Gybing to South East we sailed about 30 minutes and felt it coming
on. Next thing we were in 16 – 20 knots from the North West and the boat
was screaming her heart out for us to ease up. Poor old lady at 17
years old she deserves a quieter life. One guy on pole winch the other
on the Spinnaker sheet and we just held her to course. Every wind
shift we shifted. Every change in condition we changed. Truly
We saw the Southern mark Flashing it’s yellow light maybe a
mile ahead. Then we saw the mast head and bow lights coming up at us.
Hammering back up the bay on very tightly reigned in close hauls.
These guys are moving. Who are they? Next we saw the boats, these are
the top boats in the fleet, IMX 38s, X Boat 35s, Farr s, holy sheet ropes,
we are just behind the lead group!
We rounded the mark and pulled her in ready for the 6 hour slog back
up the hill. And slog we did. We pushed our chubby little 17 year old 30
footer for all she is worth. The crew were all pumped and we just
1 mile out from the finish line and the sun is breaking through. We see one boat then
another. An ID35, A Farr 31 IMS, we are still in the lead group. And then
it happened. The wind just stopped. The bay was like glass within
minutes. We started stepping through “puff puddles” as best we could but
those featherweight racers just crept further and further away from
us. Then we saw some more coming up behind us. First one then another.
We could see them glancing over as if to say, “man that’s Spindrift,
what’s she doing up here?” and then slowly but ever so slowly pull
away from us towards the finish line.
The crew were frustrated but never gave up. Not for a second. We
crossed the line 11th overall. That’s yacht racing.
As we pulled into our berth we saw the boats lining up for the Kobe Marina yacht race. A few of them saw us and yelled “come on have a go mate” I took a quick look at the crew and decided to not even bother but did grab some video footage of these starting the race which i was very happy about as the overnoighter really didn’t produce much video at all. Just black with dome red dodts here and there. So here you go. The start of the Kobe Marina club race 7th June 2009. Happy and tired.