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The great "E" adventure of Team Abacus

posted Apr 30, 2012, 10:49 PM by Fabio Maino   [ updated Apr 30, 2012, 11:00 PM ]

This was the first time Abacus (USA8) has tried to do the N2E race (CAT 1) after 4 or 5 SD to Ensenada Races (CAT 2). It almost did not happen since Tim the owner started a new job last sept and was not sure about being able to take the time. Fortunately, the enthusiastic crew plus the "Ohio gang" made it possible.
The Ohio connection - Kris Zillmann (Abacus main trimmer) invited her elementry school mates Mike Rushing from Los Angeles and Warren Richter from APS to team up for the race. And these folks happen to be seriously great sailors.
The Abacus regulars were Colin Delaney (Bow), Sean Davis (Trimmer), Laura Andersen (Pit), Kris Z (skipper and chief of catering for this race) and Tim (the owner and past class president).
From the GRIBs, it was looking to be a medium to long race, with routing projections from 17 to 24 hrs earlier that week. We were looking at Bluewater (free SW), Sailplanner (trial version) and PredictWind (free version). Two of the three routings told us to go way out (like 50 miles out -- "are you nuts Tim?" they all asked) So the team was ready to slug it out. Plenty of food, water, 48 cans of beer, 2 big bottles of rum, boxes of snacks.......It was kind of ridiculous to show up at the start-line with a full-sized crew, boat sitting way way lower than the float marks (Fortunately I vetoed bringing the BBQ to make ribs or we would have sank!!) next to Plankton (Viper 830, past winner) with crew of 3 as well as Anarchy with a more much more reasonable looking crew weight. Of course we were smoked at the start, in fact, we were almost a minute late (this part is classified).
Viper went low, Anarchy went high, we were just left to pick off the J105's, J109's and the odd 10R to get air in the middle. Looked like that for the next hour or two until Anarchy went Code zero up high to pick off the J120s that started with us but on the outside line and the Viper put their reacher or may be zero up below and ahead of us, both boats owing us 6 secs a mile. We responded with our secret weapon (lol) 5 year old EP Gen 1 "OOPS - cut too flat" AP kite and made it work, successfully fending off a bunch of J120's dropping down on us from the high road. We watched Anarchy dissappear offshore in the haze as they switched to their new Ullman runner while we had to wait till the righty came to us before we could put up our 2011 new Dave Hirsch designed North runner because we did not want to sail towards inland.
The patience paid off when the righty came, we were in control. It was 250 earlier in the day going to 270 for a long time and then 
kept going onto 330(?). That put the Viper into the "danger" zone near the Coronados Island (at first "danger" was meant to describe no wind zone after 8pm but the tragic end of the Hunter 376 that wasrun over by a ship gave it even more evil meaning). We thought we may even have seen the big ship involved but we were not sure.  It also appears that the righty may have put Anarchy out too far out at that point in the race and perhaps made them gybe in into dead air (??). All we know was that we stay sailing on same gybe (heading at times with COG of 220+) until we almost abeam to Ensenada 50+ miles out (yes a five followed by a zero), punctuated by a couple of "holes", especially one that made us shift down to a jib for a couple of hours before sunrise. At sunrise, we put runner back up and were on port gybe surfing in at 10 kts+ at times to encounter Misfit (1D35 mod) crossing our bow ahead by about a mile. We used them as a performance gage and after they gybed in, we regybed to stbd and crossed behind them by same distance. Luckily they were there, we saw them hit "too soon Lagoon" (North side of the Todos Santos Bay) and start to slow. That confirmed our original plan to bail South, so we kept going south towards the Todos Santos light gybed in with pressure and surf to hit the "express lane". After some really masterful sailing by the Ohioans, with Kris & Warren switch-hitting on the helm, we found the finish line at Coral after almost 26 hours of racing and shared the finish line with Timeshaver (a J125 that started 10 minutes before us).
Results -- Overall corrected 2nd place behind Medicine Man (MAXI), Class win (Sprit B PLUS ahead of entire Sprit A class of J120s by >90 minutes), Fastest overall corrected for 1st time race entry.

Overall Corrected:

MAXI 97777 MEDICINE MAN 20:00:25 23:26:40 FIN 
SPRIT B USA 8 ABACUS 25:53:52 24:26:22 FIN
93145 RADIO FLYER 23:25:40 24:28:10 FIN
65002 BAD PAK 19:48:19 24:42:04 FIN
USA634 ARMIDA 27:44:14 24:49:14 FIN
50904 PLANKTON 26:15:39 24:54:24 FIN
18081 FLACA 25:05:15 25:05:15 FIN
50665 PROBLEM CHILD 27:34:14 25:16:44
FIN PHRF A 40050 TEMPTRESS 25:05:15 25:17:45 FIN

2012 Newport to Ensenada