Efficiency. It’s what makes moths so fast and so fun. They are the smallest possible size, lightest possible weight, lowest possible drag, easiest and cheapest possible transport. In San Diego the fleet has been booming lately we’ve been bringing this spirit of efficiency to everything we do. We share information about what’s working and what’s not during informal practices and our racing follows the same theme.
2018 marked the inaugural year of the West Coast Winter Series. While there is a popular east coast version that takes place annually in Key Largo, California now boasts the largest and most active moth fleet in the country, so having some organized winter racing seemed like an obvious thing to do. With the first two events successfully in the books on Mission Bay, we setup the third one in South Bay (aka foiling paradise) with an emphasis on maximizing fun and quality racing with the absolute minimum in overhead, complexity, and impact on anyone besides ourselves.
Launching from the state park that also hosts the Southwestern Community College, we gave ourselves a smooth beach launch and easy access to the bay and taking advantage of those tax dollars we’re always spending! Nine boats assembled, comprised on four from San Diego, four traveling from San Francisco and one all the way down from Portland, OR. Race committee was handled by a good friend of the fleet, Jimmy, in his awesome Boston Whaler. Entry fees were minimal and we kicked them right over to Jimmy to offset his fuel costs. The event was captured in photos, beautifully, by Steve Ross.
After a quick skippers meeting where we reiterated the “buddy system” where everyone looks out for each other, (with the RC boat ready to assist in a real emergency) it was decided that we would just do as many races as possible for the next two days. The breeze and conditions were straight out of a dream. 12-14 kts, sunny skies and rapid fire racing from Jimmy. The fleet blazed up and down a short-track modified W/L course for six races before stretching the windward mark out and getting two longer ones in after that. Saturday ended with a non-scoring race with a downwind start, starboard leeward mark rounding and finish at the beach.
The fleet carried the crafts up the beach, slightly jell-o legged but sporting big smiles up and down.
Sunday was forecasted to be light but after a short delay on the beach, south bay delivered again with 10 kts for long enough to run four more races before heading back in and bolting back to Mission Bay Yacht Club where four boats got packed up into their travel boxes to ship to Nationals in Key Largo.
The scores weren’t even tallied until sometime on Monday. There were no trophies. There wasn’t even a NOR or printed SI’s. There was no consideration of what might happen if there was a protest. There wouldn’t ever be any. You might think that with everything this lax, that the racing must be a bunch of lallygagging around the buoys. But you’d be wrong. The racing was incredible. It was close with tons of lead changes, strict observance of the rules, competitive starts and photo finishes. But at the same time, if someone needed a few extra minutes before the next start to fix something, everyone was happy to wait for their fellow racer to be ready.
It was everything that good, fun racing requires and pretty much nothing else. Max efficiency. Max fun.
Oh by the way, the event was won by San Diego’s Matt Struble with straight bullets, followed by Brooks Reed from SF in 2nd and SD/SF straddler, Richard Didham.