[Santana 22] Great Vallejo Race report

Anne-Carlijn Alderkamp acalderkamp at gmail.com
Thu May 1 00:16:43 EDT 2014

Hey Garth and others,

In general, the Santana's are very stable under spinnaker and even if you
broach, you just hold onto the boat and wait until it straightens itself
out. When it get's too reachy, the force of the wind in the spinnaker just
pins you down, and there is just not much you can do about it. The problem
we had initially was when sailing on the border of the windangle that we
could handle with the kite, that a wave would hit the stern and turn the
boat up until the windangle was too reachy, and then we'd broach. So the
trick is to steer down the wave before it knocks you around, and then steer
up to prevent losing too much height (if you're on a reach). When we'd
broach we'd immediately release the vang and then put it back on to help
the boat straighten out. This was a new trick to me from Claire, our crew.
Also, I often sheeted out the main to release the pressure and help steer

After we were all dialed in, it was surprisingly easy, I just constantly
watched the windex and steered with the shifts as much as possible, and
surfing went by itself.

Can't wait to do more of it!

On Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 10:04 AM, Garth Copenhaver
<lodrosangbo at hotmail.com>wrote:

> Great description, Anna! I was wanting a blow by blow of how you did it.
> Sounds like you made a crucial tactical decision by not bearing off over by
> the Richmond bridge and thus sailing a shorter distance.
> I'm curious about round ups on reaches with these boats. It seems like the
> lee helm kind of prevents rounding up on tight reaches.
>  Good luck this Saturday!
> Garth Copenhaver
> 415-450-0843
> On Apr 29, 2014, at 11:33 PM, "Anne-Carlijn Alderkamp" <
> acalderkamp at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Tuna skippers,
> Byte Size sailed the Great Vallejo race last weekend and we had a blast!
> The start consisted of bobbing around with 172 other boats, waiting for the
> start that was postponed twice due to lack of wind. On Saturday the slowest
> boats start last and our start was postponed for almost 2 hours, so I was
> convinced we were never going to make it all the way to Vallejo against the
> ebb. But the westerly started filling in around 12:30 and by the time we
> started (after 1 pm) things were looking great. The wind had shifted since
> the beginning of the starts around 11 am, and we could lay the upwind mark
> in one tack.  We rounded after the Cal 20 “Can of Whoopass” but managed
> to pass them right after the rounding.  The leg to the Richmond Bridge
> against the ebb was tricky, with a close haul on a nasty steep chop. I had
> the feeling we weren’t going fast at all, but we kept up with an Express
> 27, so obviously we weren’t doing so bad. At Southampton we got a 30° lift
> and we decided to stay high and beeline it to the Richmond Bridge. A lot of
> boats stayed low, trying to find some current relieve closer to Richmond,
> but our speed was very good when compared to the bigger boats, so we
> happily chugged along with our competition down from us.
> At Richmond Bridge we had passed a whole bunch of boats that had started
> earlier in light winds. We stayed close to the shore to find some current
> relief and hugged the old wharfs on Pt San Pablo in about 17 kn of breeze.
> After we rounded Pt San Pablo we started looking longingly at our windex to
> see if the wind angle was good enough to set the spinnaker, but
> unfortunately, it was just foreward of beam reach. After about 10 minutes
> we saw the two Cal 20’s the "Can” and “Green Dragon” rounding Pt San Pablo
> and setting the kite. The wind had shifted a couple of degrees aft, so we
> decided: “Let’s give the spinnaker a try!” More boats around us had the
> same idea and for a while everyone looked great with their colorful kites
> up. Then, the wind increased and boats started rounding up left and right.
> There quite some mayhem around us, with flapping kites and boats on one
> ear, and we had some small round-ups, too. The boats around us quickly
> doused their spinnakers, but we kept going in what was now ~20 kn with
> gusts of 25 and a steep ebb chop. I figured out quickly to steer down a
> wave before it hit us and Thijs and Claire dialed the spinnaker trim, so no
> more roundups. It was the most amazing sailing we’ve done on Byte Size and
> we just kept surfing the waves. We hit a couple of waves off the wake of a
> Laser 28, which was just epic! It reminded me of steering a Laser down
> waves in big wind. The batteries in our GPS gave out, but I’m estimating we
> hit some 12-14 kn over the water when surfing those waves. Byte Size
> handled like a charm and I’m now even more impressed by her design. As Tom
> Montoya always says: “Santana’s are sweethearts!”
> In the Carquinez Strait we were sailing down wind and working down to
> avoid a jibe. We doused the spinnaker just before turning into the Mare
> Island Strait. You can’t win the Great Vallejo Race in the Mare Island
> Strait, but you can certainly lose it with the windholes and current. We
> managed to keep it together and finished after sailing 4 hrs, 7 mins, 55
> secs, with just a single tack! Now the wait was for the competition,
> because the “Can” is always tricky to beat. When we saw them come into the
> VYC marina about half an hour after us we knew we had a pretty good shot
> and the results confirmed a first place, beating the “Can” by 8 minutes.
> And we had the fastest corrected mono hull time of all boats! Everyone was
> all smiles after the awesome sailing. Unfortunately, the other Santana 22
> “Sail la Vie” didn’t make the time limit and “Green Dragon” broke their
> rudder and limped in under white sails and steering with the outboard prop.
> My memories of the celebrations are happy and foggy, and the three of us
> passed out on the comfy cushions of Byte Size (Thijs had to go back to fly
> out early Sun morning). The next morning was painful and foggy, but after a
> slow start (40 secs late on the line, yikes) we sailed a decent race back
> in shifty conditions to earn a 2nd place, 2 mins after the “Can”, that
> was single handed by Richard. Congratulations Richard!
> Thanks to the RC for postponing the races until the wind filled in (which
> certainly helped us!) and the Byte Size crew of Claire, Thijs, and Ramon
> for an amazing weekend. And thanks to Gary Mull for designing such an
> awesome boat!
> Check out Norcalsailing.com for their report and some great pictures of
> Byte Size.
> Anna Alderkamp
> "Byte Size" #801
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