AMHAS - 2017 Pineapple Cup Log
February 3 – Dock out 11am, Miami, EPIC marina- outbound Miami Ship Channel for race start at 2pm.
Pre race strategy – light air, upwind forecast for start – not the best or fastest sailing conditions for the mighty, mighty AMHAS. Our goal for the first leg of the course is to work hard to stay in touch with the bigger, faster boats that sail upwind in light air conditions better than us, especially Dragon, the other Class 40 we are primarily racing against.
3pm – we are racing – light air upwind, decent start on port tack in virtually no wind – just barely enough to keep the boat moving. Sailing east on port tack – under full main and upwind code 0, we are sadly positioned behind Dragon, Renegade and White Rhino – not exactly our pre race strategy – damn it !!!!
6 pm – first sail change from light air upwind code 0 to reaching code 0. TWA 70 degrees, TWS 7 knts, not exactly the correct sail for these conditions but we need to do something to heel the boat over in these light conditions and get rolling. Starting be strongly influenced by gulf stream.
9 pm – computer issues have arisen which seem to quickly develop into our primary computer “shitting the bed” Install back up computer – only works marginally – thankfully we have two marine professionals onboard and between the two of these knuckleheads they are able to get one computer to partially work……….so between the two of them they seem to be half clever………….. we are still sailing under full main and reaching code 0. I can see the navigation lights of Dragon, White Rhino and Renegade all ahead of us – but feel ok because we are still in touch – which is the game plan !!!
Star gazing and moon are just spectacular.
10:30 – just came on watch a half hour ago and was pleasantly surprised that the marine professionals seemed to have apparently redeemed themselves by passing Dragon – which in these light air, upwind conditions is most impressive !!!!!!!!!!! Still sailing upwind in light air with full main and sail change to upwind code 0.
4pm, breeze has built, into solent and one reef in main, still sailing upwind, making good progress to the east, extending our lead on Dragon all day, happy faces onboard – next we need to focus on boat speed and close the gap with Renegade and White Rhino.
10 pm Beautiful sailing – the second night of fantastic star gazing and moon light.
February 5 – SUPERBOWL SUNDAY
6 am – with the marine professionals below asleep – dubbah #1 & dubbah #2 (dubbah is someone from Maine) manage to pass White Rhino with the sunrise – what a special treat – again the Amhas crew is surprised that we are sailing so well upwind and able to pass the scratch boat in our fleet which is 16’ longer while we are sailing upwind in moderate breeze. Next is Renegade !!!!!!!!!!
12 noon – sailing south along the Bahamas – enjoying the views of the islands and trying to avoid the Bahamian rhubarb. Renegade is ahead of us and on the horizon. We are just abeam of Long Island. Full main and solent reaching at 11 knots of boat speed. Lots of banter about the upcoming superbowl. Our computer issues still persist and have prevented us from getting any updates, news or weather info.
4pm – the most amazing double, double rainbow – each end touching the water and two rainbows – the most amazing thing I have ever seen !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
6 pm – beautiful day of sailing – great boat speed – approaching the southern end of Long Island with Renegade just ahead and to windward and White Rhino just behind us – very exciting competition but Dragon has disappeared over the horizon, astern !!!!!!!!!
8pm – South of Long Island, the smug New Yorker is able to establish comms via his cell phone to inform the 3 Patriots fans onboard the mighty, mighty, Amhas that the score is 14 – 0, Atlanta in the second quarter – WTF – break.
10 pm – “B” watch passes Renegade reaching in light air – we have now exceeded our goals and have not just maintained contact with the larger, faster boats – but we have passed them all !!!!!!!!! Fantastic !!
Now we most focus and concentrate on growing our lead over Renegade, White Rhino and Dragon.
1 AM – Sail Change from full main and solent to reaching code 0, footed off slightly to the west and took off. This is a gamble that the extra boat speed created by footing off and sailing extra miles away from rhumb line will pay off down the track.
6 am – We are now west of rhumb and have changed back to the solent so we can head up and work back to the east towards rhumb line. Although we feel like we have sailed fast for the last 5 hours, we still have no comms and are not able to get any position reports to determine if this move has paid off……Because marks of the course Alpha, Bravo and Charlie have been instituted for this race, they completely change the tactics for sailing south to Cuba.
8:30 am – comms established by Dubbah #1, emails and position reports abound in the “in” box.
The 3 Patriots fans are ecstatic with the victory and all onboard are doubly pleased that the position reports shows that we have legged out on Renegade and White Rhino and are approaching Point Alpha in the lead and setting up to be the first boat in our division to reach Point Alpha !!!!!!!!
12 noon – Just passed point Alpha with Renegade and White Rhino visible on the horizon astern. Sail change from solent to reaching Code 0, TWA just allows us to lay Point Bravo. Onboard tactical discussions revolve around: are we required to sail an exclusion zone to the west of A,B & C or do we just need to honor the marks and do we have enough of a lead over Renegade and White Rhino to hold them off on the long downwind leg to MoBay.
4 pm – Sailing west in the Caribbean Sea, just gybed with A2 up, our largest spinnaker. Boat is flying along, sailing in the mid teens, course 252 degrees, pointing directly at Mo Bay – all is well.
8pm – Breeze built into the high 20’s, this required a sail change to a smaller spinnaker. The 2 marine professionals handled this dance on the foredeck with grace, speed and efficiency. Now sailing under 1 reef in main and A4 spinnaker. Boat speed ranging from high teens to low 20’s. Amhas is hooooning along !!!!
1 am Sail Change – back to large A2 spinnaker, gybed and downloaded position report which revealed that we have lost some ground on Renegade, Dragon and White Rhino. We realized that we should have gybed a bit sooner and also should have changed back to the A2 spinnaker a bit sooner. The position report also brought to our attention Hermie Lousie, the 78’ Little Harbor weighing in at a million pounds has screamed up the course and is only 18 miles behind us and winning the division at this moment……………
7 am – gybed and downloaded positon report which shows us in a leveraged position with Dragon, Renegade has sadly passed us and White Rhino is still behind. Renegade has got us ………she sails with a symmetrical spinnaker, poled aft allowing her to sail very deep angles which = less miles than Amhas. Our goal now is to keep White Rhino and Dragon and HL behind us.
9 am – crew breakfast prepared by Dubbah #1 – this culinary delight involves boiling a vessel of water on the tiny jet boil camp stove. The boiling water is then poured into a pouch of freeze dried breakfast skillet “stuff”, the pouch is then sealed up and set aside while the “stuff” turns into something approaching edible. While this is occurring the chef moves the bean bags that serve as our beds off the floor of the boat to make room for food preparation. He then cuts up some cheese on the hull floor which is the galley as well as some small bits of cured salami. Now using the other side of the galley which is the hull bottom on the other side of the boat, he lays out 4 wraps. The wraps are then filled with cheese, salami and the breakfast skillet stuff out of the pouch, some hot sauce is added, the wraps are rolled up on the hull bottom floor and served to the anxiously awaiting crew. Yummmy………….
2pm – amazing display of dolphins playing with Amhas
4 pm - 4.5 miles behind Renegade and safely in-front of Dragon, White Rhino and HL. Our fate is sealed we are resigned to finishing second across the line. Still enjoying great spinnaker sailing conditions. No more gybing required one of the marine professionals perfectly called the layline from 16 miles out.
6 pm – 16.46.43 crossed the finish line only 30 minutes behind Renegade !!!!!! A hard fought race, great competition – Renegade sailed a great race and we really enjoyed sparring with them down the entire race course !!!!!!!!!!
In past Pineapple Cups we have had some difficult times getting situated on the dock but not this time. Amhas was perfectly backed into her spot by our skipper and the dock master did a great job getting our anchor line sorted out for us. The reception on the dock, as always was exceptional and the cold Red Stripes handed to us where just as good as we had been talking about for the last day. In preparation of our arrival the 2 marine professionals took the initiative to complete the reams of paperwork required for customs and immigration. We were escorted to the club to complete customs only to be told that the forms had been filled out in purple ink and only black or blue ink are allowed. What sort of marine professional carries and uses a purple pen………..????
We had to fill out all the forms again using blue ink – completed the process and were welcomed to Jamaica !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This was followed by beers and then cocktails at the cocktail party that conveniently started just after our arrival !!!
Dinner at the club shortly followed, while all seated at the table we realized we were a bit stinky and hot so all it took was a little bit of encouragement from a club member and into the pool we all went, the crew of Dragon and Amhas !!!!!!! You can’t take Class 40 sailors anywhere !!!!!!
After a refreshing dip we all got out only to be encouraged by the Commodore to get back in the pool with a round of beers on him for a photo op !!!!! WHAT A GREAT CLUB !!!!!!!!!!