2012 GLOBALTECH Formula 18 World Championships
Daisy and I loaded up the dogs, boat, and the truck for the trip to Long Beach California early Friday morning. We left Eureka and in Fortuna we stopped for breakfast about 20 minutes in to the trip saw everyone set to travel. I was counting on about 13 hours of driving but like a lot on this trip I was in for a surprise. Two hours later we were stopping for fuel and a dog walk in Willits, Ca. after 134 miles. We used up the Safeway $0.50 fuel discount and got back on the road. We proceeded to make the downhill run to Hwy 20 and headed East, to avoid Bay Area traffic. After driving past several fire areas causing us to slow considerably we came out into clearer area to hit I-5 and make some time South.
Pleased to see clear traffic lanes we made our way to Woodland for some late lunch. We then continued south to Sacramento where there was some traffic but we still were making decent time rarely going below 50 Mph. Just south of Sacramento traffic began to open up and I tucked in behind a 18 wheeler and rolled south at about 60 Mph. We stayed behind the same truck till we got to Lost Hills, Ca. and after 400 miles we stopped to fill the fuel and empty our bladders. It was getting late but there were miles to go and we proceeded on.
Driving at night the traffic was very light and we covered the last 166 miles to get to Long Beach, Ca. at about 2:30 am. We proceeded to Alamitos Bay Yacht Club where we put the boat into the parking lot and went to our Hotel. At our Hotel they were full for the night and we couldn’t check in early. We grabbed a bite to eat at the local diner and drove back to ABYC. We drove into the parking lot and just crawled into the back for a nap. 16 hours on the road and, after a couple hours sleep there was commotion in the lot and I got up to see what was going on. A quick Bathroom trip and then looking at some of the new boats on the lawn and I saw some familiar faces driving in. Jasper and Peter drove in and after getting them the sails they had chartered we talked about going for some breakfast. We went for croissants and donuts with some coffee and went back to begin the process of check-in.
Saturday we got the boat off the trailer and got all the pieces and parts ready to be measured. Having never had the platform certified it was a long process and took most of Saturday to get done. There were several volunteers doing this instead of tuning and sailing their own boats. This meant getting the whole sail boat weighed then removing everything and having the bare platform weighed. We then had to have the individual pieces weighed and recorded. After the Daggers, rudders, poles and sails were stamped I then had to take my sails to the measurement pile. It was late in the day so we stood the mast and got the boat ready other than the sails. We found a nice spot on the grass and made our way to our Hotel for the night. Sunday we got in to the sail measurement area and saw a pile of sails to be measured in. The measurement team was working hard to get the sails done, again being all volunteers giving up time to help others. Daisy and I helped out for a while and after the pile of sails was done we took our sails and put them on the boat. Now that the boat was all legal we went to registration and filled out all the paperwork. We got all the paperwork done and put the boat in the water and sailed over to the beach. We decided to call it a day and went to walk the dogs at the park.
Monday we got the boat together and put the sails up. After some adjustment to the dagger pockets we went out for the practice races. After several tacks down the channel we were in the Pacific and ready to start the practice races. Our boards were still shifting in the pockets as we were on the long tack out to the course so as we met the fleet at the start area we decided to turn back and fix the problem. The winds were light and shifty so we weren’t missing much and wanted the boat in optimal shape for the morning. We hit the beach and changed the boards to a stock set and took the extra padding out of the wells. All was set and we were prepared to begin racing. We went in for the dinner and opening ceremony. Food and beverages were on the patio at ABYC and everyone settled in to hear from our hosts and sponsors. A good time was had and then it was off for some sleep.
Tuesday morning saw a warm calm condition in the area. We made our way to the race area and the wind was light and shifty. The race committee got three races in and we struggled in the light conditions. With the 4 fleet set up we got to race against everyone in the qualifier. Our scores were 56, 53 , 53 which had us back in 106th place. Not a great result but we were not dead last so we sailed on and worked to do better and learn from the poor results. After racing we went back to the Yacht Club for a sponsored dinner and drinks. There was an event every night after racing and the yacht club was a wonderful in making sure everyone was taken happy and relaxed.
Wednesday morning there was a nice fog bank on the water and that meant there would be wind. Daisy and I geared up and made the push off to get to the course. With the wind up it was a quick trip to the race area. Winds were about 12 to 13 and gusting a bit higher but very manageable. Daisy and I began to find our groove and we managed to complete all 3 races in the building breeze. The first race we missed the set-up but began improving from there. A 57th place finish was followed by a 53rd then a 46th place leaving us in 110th place over all but feeling good about doing better as the day went on. We left after racing and a shower to go have dinner with friends.
Thursday morning there was a call for more wind and bigger seas. The fleet was split into Gold and Silver fleet already so we were set to race for the best of the rest. Daisy and I got the boat rigged and made our way out. It was obvious there was going to be more wind and waves. Race one we did well and got a 36th place finish. The big waves were knocking us hard and I lost my footing a few times but we kept the boat going. Several boats were already on the beach so we knew if we kept sailing our positions would keep improving. The third race we were really driving hard. We had every setting perfect and the boat was really going upwind well. We completed the upwind, downwind, upwind , reach and turned down for the bottom gate. The wind was at about 14-15 and gusting to 18-19 knots, with 4 to 5 foot waves and a few rollers at 6 to 7 feet. We were doing about 16 knots downwind when we got into a gust line. We managed to save the boat 2 times but the third time the waves turned the boat sideways. We were in 46th place after missing the last 2 races in the day. We were in 25th place when we flipped so we were doing good but that’s life.
The boat immediately flipped sending Daisy through the main. In the water Daisy got separated and the boat and I drifted off. I managed to call the race committee safety boat and got our boat righted. The boat flipped right back over on me and then this happened again. I decided to wait for the safety boat and they helped me get the boat back upright after picking up Daisy from the ocean. She was about ¼ mile away when they got to her. We tried to transfer her back to our boat but missed twice and then I began to sail back with her on the safety boat. She was transferred to a different boat and then to our boat just inside the channel to the bay. We got the boat back to the beach and started to access the damage. The main sail was damaged and my shoulder was in serious pain. Team Trapout helped me get my boat up the beach and the sails down, Thanks guys you were a big help.
We got cleaned up and talked to the Glasers about repairing the sail. They agreed to fix the sail and I washed it off and laid it out to dry. After another wonderful meal we went chatted with our friends and decided to call it a night. We stopped by the park to walk the dogs and have a relaxing evening. With my shoulder out of socket and in a lot of pain we went back to the hotel with some icepacks and a sling to help me get through the night.
Friday morning I again filled my icepack and put my arm in the sling. We went to ABYC and I informed race committee we were not going to be on the race area for the day. Daisy was asked to again look at some injured people and she did as she had all week long. With me being too torn up to sail anymore we decided to take the boat down and get ready to leave. Mark Jones helped Daisy and I take the mast down and get it to the trailer lot. We got the boat disassembled and ready to go on the trailer. Hugh Styles and Alain Sign from team GBR 7 helped me put the boat on the trailer. Daisy and I then finalized the tie down and covers and we took it easy the rest of the day. We had a nice meal and then went back to the hotel for the night.
Saturday morning we went back to ABYC and said our goodbyes to our friends. We wished everyone well and got on the road. Daisy and I learned a lot and had fun while it lasted. We ended up in 52nd in silver fleet after missing the last six races. Hopefully my shoulder will be back to normal soon and we will be back using what we learned. Thanks to GLOBALTECH, ABYC, ZHIK, HOBIE, NACRA, KAENON, SAIL REVOLUTION, and all that made this a wonderful event.