No announcement yet.

Double Pucker During Spinnaker Cup! ( From the front page)

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Double Pucker During Spinnaker Cup! ( From the front page)

    It's been a busy week for the McCormacks, who double handed their Farr 30 Trunk Monkey in the Spinnaker Cup, then sailed it home, got back to work including a flight across country......and now work feverishly getting the final preps done for their departure, doublehanding the Pacific Cup!!! But they managed to piece together this little masterpiece we are very appreciative of and even gathered some video.......Just before the big crash!!! Then managed to get a tad more afterward!!!


    2010 Spinnaker Cup in Review
    Jody and Skip McCormack
    Farr 30 – Trunk Monkey

    The 2010 Spinnaker Cup was our chance to do a final full shakedown of the Monkey before our departure on the Pacific Cup in a few weeks. The Spinnaker Cup has always been a great sprint race with varying wind conditions. The race is usually light at the start to windy at the finish. If we are lucky, we would get into Monterey by sun down to avoid the inevitable light winds at the finish after dark.

    This year proved to be a banner year. The Race Committee made a fantastic decision (Thanks mom and dad!) to hold off on starting the race until we had enough breeze to connect the dots up to the bridge. The start was in max flood, so the strategy was to be the right hand boat off the line. This meant we were going to be giving up the favored end, but would exit the flood first.

    The start went smoothly with Jody doing an incredible job trimming through the wind and tide transitions. We work really well together on board. Jody calls wind, tide and jib trim and I just try to keep flow over the foils. At the bridge we had already begun passing some of the boats in the earlier starts.

    Once passed the bridge we skirted up the North Shore to Diablo Point before making the dash across the big flood. In hind site, we could have jumped across a little sooner, as the back eddy on the south shore was very advantageous to Recidivist who took a large chunk out of our lead by heading across closer to the bridge.
    It’s always nice to race against Recidivist. As a teenager I was fortunate enough to sail with Colin and learned everything I knew about running the front end of a big boat from Radar and all the other great crew on board. It is wonderful to see the boat out and sailing hard.

    As Recidivist and the Monkey rounded mile rock heading to Montara, the goal was to stay outside for the building sea breeze over the next 24 hours. There had been a low pressure system over the area the preceding two days, so the thermal push along Wadell and Davenport would not be effective this year. This ruled out staying inshore and pushed the fleet offshore headed to the port gybe layline in the middle of Monterey Bay.

    We set our Jib Top around mid Ocean Beach and began opening up on Recidivist again. At Montara we pushed a little early to set our big mast head runner (I had grabbed the wrong bag leaving the house and left the masthead reacher at home… ooops). We put up the big kite and struggled to keep the bow up until the breeze began to slowly clock around behind us.

    At Montara the wind was in the low teens and it was a beautiful ride down the coast past Half Moon Bay, Pigeon Point, Ano Nuevo, Davenport, and finally Santa Cruz. We made it into Monterey Bay around 8:00 in the evening. Only twenty five miles to go and averaging boat speeds in the low teens we figured a quick finish to our race! The breeze was blowing 25kts and we were comfortably sailing downwind, giving Jody some great time on the helm as she has gotten really comfortable driving the twitchy boat in big wind.
    As the sun began to set, the diurnal push began to sneak the breeze up over 25kts. In the ocean we expect an increase of breeze as the sun sets and it usually settles down an hour or so after sunset back into its normal range.

    So as the breeze began to increase, the thought process was to leave the masthead up through this temporary puff and we’ll be sitting pretty after a good sprint toward the finish. We tethered on, tightened up our lifejackets and settled in for the “short” puff.
    Well, the breeze did continue to increase. Jody was again driving in what was now 30kts of breeze and aggressively keeping the boat under the top of the rig. We plugged the bow into a wave and did a quick round up, at which point we probably should have taken the masthead kite down.

    Hind sight is always 20/20.
    Instead, we got the boat pointed back at Monterey and those 17, 18, 20kt boat speed bursts were too much to let go. Hey, the boat was responding well, the wind was going to drop soon; we will just keep the kite up a little longer. Sounds good, right?

    When the wind hit 35kts steady, the discussion began as to whether we could take the kite down. The final decision was that “God will take it down”. The boat was very lively at this point but still handling incredibly. There was no more steering around waves. The goal was to just keep the hull under the top of the rig so that the big kite doesn’t pull the top of the mast to windward or leeward, effectively crashing the boat for us. Water was crashing over the decks as we plowed over and through steep wind chop. The backstay was cranked on so the rig wouldn’t go over the front of the boat and the main was pulled in a little so the boat wouldn’t tip further to weather in the puffs.

    Just as the sun set, we knew we only had a little longer to hold on. We were hitting low 20’s of boatspeed. As Jody and I were discussing how to get the Nav lights and Instrument lights turned on, a massive hole appeared in the ocean between two steep crests. As we had done previously, there was no driving around it. We just sent the boat into the back of that wave with the hull dead under the top of the rig. Green water tumbled over the deck, past the mast partners, the cabin top winches and into the cockpit. The shoulders on the kite stretched out as the hull almost came to a stop in the back of the wave. The apparent wind increased in the kite pulling the shoulders up and away from the rig. The top of the rig wanted to keep going downwind, while the bow of the boat was 5 feet under the wave and NOT wanting to continue downwind.
    Both Jody and I slid forward grabbing the lifelines as we went. The stern of the boat was pulled out of the water by the backstay as the kite kept pulling the top of the rig. I knew we were in trouble when the rudder cleared the water and the boat was STILL square to the wind. Further and further the stern rose until the entire kite seemed like it was in the water. As has happened many times before to many other sailors, the thought went through the mind “Which way is it going to fall?” The only hope to salvage the situation was if the boat rounded up to weather.

    But not today; we came down on our port side with a slam and the boom sticking straight up in the air. We kept getting pushed over by the wind on the main. Both Jody and I were in a lot of water with arms, legs and bodies inside the lifelines, but all wrapped up in a giant mess of tethers and sheets. Two loud “POOOFs” shot off as our desk vests simultaneously went off. At that point we had to laugh (picture that scene from Tommy Boy where he is on the airplane…yeah you know the one…)

    The most amazing part of sailing with Jody is how calm she is in a stressful situation. I’ve been fortunate enough to have sailed with some incredible sailors and experienced some crazy stuff. So when these situations arise, it is very refreshing to have a calm, cool, collected person to work with and get ourselves re-sorted.
    The first thing was to make sure we were okay; uninjured and with everything on the boat. Check (mostly – we did lose Suzie’s Brownies overboard). Next was to figure out the prognosis of the boat. By now the boom had come back down, and the boat had begun to right itself. The first thing we saw was the spinnaker pole sticking out to weather as we were now on Starboard tack flogging sideways to the swell. We saw the pole was broken, so the kite had to come down. As I looked up that wasn’t even going to be an option as the entire kite was in shreds and flogging in 35kts of breeze.

    The rig was getting bounced around because the kite was pulling the top of the rig down towards the water to leeward. It became apparent the remainder of the kite had to come down immediately so it wouldn’t wrap around the instruments at the top of the rig. I ran forward as Jody went to the starboard guy and wrapped it onto the primary winch. As she wound the guy in I helped feed the sheet, tylaskas and finally shreds of kite around the starboard shroud. The halyard had been blown, but the kite was draped around the rig, forestay and shrouds.

    (On a side note: after we got home we ran up the rig to check for any damage. I had to clean salt flecks off of the VHF antenna which is normally 50ft off the water…hmmm….bad monkey…)

    Finally we got most of the kite down, leaving a significant portion of the threads streaming from the shrouds, spreaders and forestay. We tacked the boat around and turned back downwind, about 5 minutes after stuffing the bow into the back of the wave. It took about 20 more minutes to clean up the boat and decide what was next. At that point, the evening push was relaxing and the wind slowly dropped back down to the mid 20’s. Without a pole we stuck the JT back up and began gibing back and forth to the finish.

    It took about a half hour for us to figure out that we could wing the jib out and point directly at the mark, doing 10kts on average and higher as we dropped off waves.
    We finished at midnight, pretty tired and well humbled. Steve Stroub and Rob Schmidt (Go Tiburon!!) were incredibly generous to us and offered a spot in their hotel room for us to crash and clean up. We had anticipated turning and burning in Monterey after the finish. However, it was nice to have a chance to get cleaned up, dried out and well rested before the trip North.

    A huge thank you to Steve and Rob for supporting a couple of wet sailors! The breeze backed off over the next few days and our delivery home was extremely pleasant. We hopped over to Santa Cruz, the Half Moon Bay and finally sailed in under the gate on Sunday around 8 in the evening.

    The final tally: 1 broken pole, 1 bent spinnaker track ring, 1 spinnaker track pulled off the front of the rig, 1 blown up masthead runner, 2 of Suzie Moore’s remaining incredible brownies overboard (worst part of the crash), 1 (extra) harness lost overboard, 1 spotlight overboard, 2 lifejacket CO2 cartridges, 2 doses of adrenaline and huge smiles from ear to ear as we crossed the finish line!
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery