S/V VALIS in Lahaina, Maui

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The 2006 Pacific Cup
San Francisco to Hawaii

Race Day

The Pacific Cup divides the participants into divisions based on a boat's time allowance handicap, which is calculated for the conditions of the typical race. We were in Division B. The race start is staggered over several days in an attempt to have all the boats finish relatively close together. Our division's start was on July 3, the first day, after the double-handed division, and Division A. Divisions C, D, and E were to start on July 4th, 5th,and 6th, respectively.

The morning of July 3rd, the VALIS crew arrived at around 8:00 AM and finished loading the provisions. Our friends and family were on hand to see us off, and at 10:30 we cast off, and headed out towards the San Francisco Marina for our 11:30 start. As we raised our sails, we noticed that the main had a rip in the luff-tape. Still beliving the earlier problem to be solved, we thought that this was just previous damage that hadn't been noticed before. The decision was made to head back to Sausalito for repairs. We called our families and friends to let then know what was going on, and motored back to the slip. Fortunately the sailmaker and rigger were available, so we soon had the main in the shop, and with Andrew's help the luff-tape was replaced and the sail quickly back onboard VALIS. We had missed the start, but we were ready to go - better late than never!

VALIS and the Messed-Up Mainsail (photo Latitude 38)

Not Again!

As we again made our way towards the starting line, we hoisted the main -- but something wasn't right! The luff-tape was bunching up and tearing again. Obviously we had been deluding ourselved about having fixed the problem. After (very) briefly wondering if we should just go ahead with the race in spite of the trouble, we came to our senses and headed back to the slip. More phone calls were made, careful study was performed, and the root cause was finally discovered by our rigger. He modified the offending fitting, Andrew and the sailmaker again replaced the luff-tape, and VALIS was ready to go again.

But I wasn't.

This had been a day of violent ups and downs, and we were all physically and emotionally wiped out. I decided that we needed a good night's sleep, and that we would carefully analyze the situation in the morning before starting our race to Hawaii. I didn't want us to pressure ourselves into making a foolish decision. We weren't expecting to win the race -- we were doing it for the fun and the experience of it (and it was a great excuse to sail to Hawaii again). We agreed to meet at the boat in the morning.

We Try Again