August 20, 2016
Reported by Mark Folkman
Five Viper teams and one VX-1 braved the elements and departed King Harbor in Redondo Beach, CA, for a “distance” race to the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA on August 20. The race course was 24 miles in the open ocean around the Palos Verdes Peninsula, then along the Los Angeles Harbor Breakwater wall with the finish off the stern of the venerable Queen of the Seas (aka hotel).
The first leg was a one tack beat to the “R10” bell buoy in 8 knots of breeze and, at the buoy, Tim Carter #223, Mark Folkman #130, and Bob Hayward in #227 were nearly abeam as the course turned to a jib reach. Soon, after the kites were out, the wind went aft, and wind speed began to increase. Increasing to twelve, eighteen, pushing to the mid-twenty knots as we all accelerated down into the harbor, jibing in and out of the kelp line, then in and out of the LA breakwater wall.
The PHRF A, B, and C boats all started ahead of the Vipers, but by the time the race was half over the Vipers had blown right through the entire PHRF fleet (OK, except for that pesky Farr 40 that somehow stayed a few minutes ahead). There were times of steady 13 knots with highs in the 14’s and 15’s!!! What an exceptional ride! Clear, sunny, warm, and full throttle sailing – way too much fun!
After a little over three hours of outrageous sailing we finished and the Viper fleet cruised to the hoists at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club. When it was all said and done, Folkman in #130 was first to finish (right behind that Farr 40 and ahead of Henderson 30, Flying Tiger, J/111, etc), Carter in #223 second, Eric Chadwick #192 third, Mike Hester in #107 fourth, and Bob Hayward in #227 fifth. The VX-1 was well behind in the early going but ended-up right in the middle of the Viper fleet at the finish.
A day of sailing to remember for sure. Only issue: It’s difficult to eat or drink beer or relieve one’s self when going 12 knots for hours on end, so word to the wise…plan ahead!!!