Going south for the winter (and rum)

Published on October 31st, 2014

Nineteen yachts, most of them rating in the negatives, are preparing for strong breeze and very fast race times on the first ever “Rum Runner Race” from Newport Beach to San Diego to be held this Saturday, November 1.

Joint hosted by Balboa Yacht Club and San Diego Yacht Club in Southern California, the race has a new course which starts boats in Newport beach and sends them offshore to the 14 mile bank. From there they continue on down the course to finish in San Diego.

The race is promising to be a fun ride down the coast and will serve as a feeder race to the ever popular “Hot Rum Series” held by San Diego Yacht Club each year.

With four divisions, competition will be tough. Leading the pack will be the Orma 60 Trimaran “Mighty Merloe”. Capable of blistering speeds she should blow through the monohull fleet and be on her way to an afternoon finish. Not far behind, the STP65 “Bad Pak”, along with the SC-70 “Maverick” are up against the ultra competitive “Fast 50 Class” boats including “Bud”, “It’s OK”, “Blue Blazes”, “Varuna”, and “Kokopelli II”.

Starting just five minutes ahead of the faster boats, Division 2 has potentially some of the best match ups with the Swan 651 “Second Wind” rating almost even with the SC50 “Horizon” and the J-125 “Timeshaver”. A little ways back you’ll find the Beneteau First 40 “Precepts II” who took straight bullets at this year’s Yachting Cup regatta battling it out with the J-124 “Marisol” and two Flying Tigers, “Mile High Klub” and “Occams Razor”.

Rounding out the fleet is Division 3, with the brand new J-88 “Blue Flash” as scratch boat. She’ll be up against the Soverel 33 “Babe”, the Bavaria 42 “Briar Rose” and finally the Santana 35 “Schock N’ Awe”.

With the Jet Stream making a hard hook down to Southern California the wind forecasters are calling for strong breeze out of the Northwest. The fleet will start with an 11:00am warning signal and five minute rolling starts. The first leg should be somewhat upwind for about 13 miles to get offshore and into the stronger pressure. After rounding the buoy at the 14 mile bank the fleet should free up a bit to enjoy a following sea-state and a fast downwind run to San Diego.

Timing of the weather system will mean everything as the pressure could quickly go away in the evening, or it could continue to build. Forecasts are continually changing from hour to hour giving the fleet’s navigators quite a headache working through the different wind models trying to make the tough decisions on what sails to bring and how to set up the boats.

The awards presentation will be held in the Frost Room at SDYC at 6:00pm, November 8.

Details: http://sdyc.org/race/calendar/events/2771/

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