2006 Pacific Cup
While the San Francisco bay is a truly great place to sail, VALIS is made for long-distance voyaging. In December of 2005, I was considering entering VALIS in the 2006 Pacific Cup, a race from San Francisco to Oahu, Hawaii.
The first step was to find a crew. First to sign up were Daniel and Andrew, who had sailed with me to Hawaii and back in 2003. My son-in-law, Ville, was also eager to go, so we had critical mass and the race was on. We discussed the race and crew requirements among ourselves and decided that a fifth crewmamber would be good to have. A friend volunteered to go, but at the last minute had to drop out, leaving us with four for the race -- we decided that we four could handle things after all. Most boats race with a larger crew (and we were to learn why during the race), but VALIS isn't all that huge down below, and sleeping accomodations for a larger crew would have been rather primitive. We decided that we would prefer to have a smaller crew and more space.
While we were making plans, VALIS needed some preparation. The Pacific Cup requires that all participating boats meet the safety requirements of "International Sailing Federation Special Regulations Governing Offshore and Oceanic Racing for 2004-2005 including US SAILING Prescriptions" for a "Catagory One" race. While VALIS is a well-built boat and already met most of the requirements, there remained a number of things that had to be done. Here is the list:
All Pacific Cup boats have to be inspected before the race. After our first inspection, we still had a substantial list of things that had to be completed:
We did manage to take care of everything in time to get a clean bill of health before the race.
In addition, VALIS needed some rigging changes, as we were going to be flying a spinnaker for much of the race. We added:
Other tasks included:
Fortunately, VALIS had recently gotten a new set of sails (main, genoa, and staysail), so these were in good shape for the voyage.
In between all these jobs we had to train as a crew. None of us had spent any serious time with a symmetrical spinnaker, so with the help of our sailmaker (Robin Sodaro of Hood Sailmakers) and our rigger (J.P. of J.P Boatworks) we got in a few hours of practice -- just enough to keep us from totally screwing up, we hoped. We had a couple of offshore overnight sessions, but other than that we didn't do a whole lot of practice. We were comfortable with our ability to sail the boat -- and how hard could racing it be?
While we were preparing, we discovered that recent changes to the Leisurefurl boom-furling system were causing serious damage to the main luff-tape. We went back and forth on this, and thought that we had corrected things. We were to learn otherwise...