Tuesday, June 05, 2012

California Dreamin

Steph and Andy Schwenk trailered their Santa Cruz 27 to the land of sunshine for the annual Delta Ditch Run. This race goes from Richmond Ca to Stockton Ca up theSan Joaquin River Valley. The typical winds blow Easterly as the central valley heats up it draws the cool ocean air upriver at 20-30 kts just like the Columbia River Gorge. This year it was 103 in Stockton and 67 in Richmond and the locals claim the temperature difference equals the wind speed. The race course is 65miles similar to the Juan de Fuca Race @ Swiftsure except that the first monohull was done in less than 6 hours. Andy was the road warrior leaving Thursday at noon, meeting a customer at Shilshole, picking up a spar in Watsonville, launching the Rumpus at Richmond, dropping the trailer at Stockton and picking up Steph at the Sacramento airport Friday at 11pm. The buses leave Stockton at 6am to deliver the sailors to Richmond for a 1030 start. The start is just under the Bay Bridge near The Brothers and the big boats set their kites and soon were over the horizon in 20-25 knot puffy spinnaker rides. We started with the Moore 24's and 8 other Sc-27's and battled for clear air for the first hour as we passed under the Carquinez bridge. The boat speed stayed steady around 10 kts with surges into the teens. Warm fresh water and sunshine kept the sunscreen in high demand and the fresh water bottles did not last long as we drank and squirted them to keep it cool. The multihulls soon blazed past to finish less than 4 hours later. There are several twisty turns and  the carnage can be viewed at norcalsailing, presure-drop and sailing anarchy. 5 rigs came down, several boats went aground, sails were shredded, and 7 MOB's. Everyone ended up safe and the party at Stockton was memorable though I have a suspicion some patrons were over served.We finally switched to the chicken kite, a small heavy spinnaker and kinda took the foot off the pedal after it was obvious the Moores, Expresses and especially the Wabbits plane out sooner than we do and we had a healthy lead on the other Sc-27's. Not to mention the repair bill even for a rig shop owner was going up fast, those carbon poles are kinda spendy.....Former AYC member Steve Kleinbart was our MVP crew person and AYC member Tom Gilbert sailed to second place aboard an Etchells. Hopefully Windermere will be a little gentler on the fuel bill and rigging.