This past Friday and Saturday the westerly breeze was on in the Catalina Channel (16 - 18 kts) so I asked my good friends Steve Brown and Amy Ray to join me on Pacific High to motor over early Sunday morning to the Isthmus in Catalina Island and race home in a probable 25 mile sprint from Catalina back to Long Beach. They both agreed to and the fun was on.
We met at the boat at 0630 and started the 4+ hour motor to Catalina. The highlight of the trip was seeing a CA Grey Whale less than a quarter mile from us heading south for the winter. Quite a sight. We enjoyed pleasant conversation, coffee and Ames' breakfast sandwiches. We arrived at the island with an hour to prepare for the start. We picked up a mooring in Cherry Cove to prepare and rig the boat. Steve and I donned our bathing suits and enjoyed a swim cleaning Pac Highs' bottom while Ames rigged the Jib and Main. The Westerly filled in at 10 kts at 0800 and continued to build all day. At the start we had 14 kts and for the last 7 NM the breeze was 19 - 21.
Needless to say, perfect conditions for us. Our PHRF Class B had several good boats, among them a FT 10, Farr 40, J 145, 2 Tripp 40's, and a ID 35. We took the port tack committee boat end start and headed off to Long Beach on a jib reach getting our reaching AYSO up within ten minutes.
The ensuing 2 1/2+ hour romp is what Pac High is all about. The FT 10 took the westerly above rhumb line route and we took the east of rhumb line route with the Farr 40 in the middle. The breeze piped up and moved aft allowing us to surf up to speeds of 16.9 knots. At the East End of the Long Beach Breakwater 3/4's of a NM from the finish the FT10 was 4 boat lengths in front of us on starboard tack with a jibe and take down to pull off in a breeze to get to the finish and the Farr 40 was a few minutes back with the rest of the fleet safely tucked away. All we had to do was take the AYSO down and jib reach to the finish. (Easier said than done but Steve Brown was on the boat!) Steve Brown who is big, strong and talented simply sucked our chute into the cabin like a vacuum cleaner. The FT10 had problems and lost a lot of time in her maneuver and the die was cast.
During the 5 miles before the Long Beach Breakwater East End a Santa Cruz 52 who started 5 minutes behind us finally passed us. But when the breeze really came on above 20 Pac High turned on the afterburners and we passed the SC 52 back and beat her by minutes. Amazing stuff. Anyway, it looks like we won our class- good times.
All in all, Pac High performed most admirably and the day was awesome. Thank you Steve and Ames!
A link to the results: Results