The final installment of the Catalina Island Series this past October was the pinnacle of West Coast sailing. For the race, we had Tom Hickey, Sam Wright, Nathan Jamieson, Charlie Welsh, and Payton Thompson. This was the first major race that our group of intrepid sailors would experience on the Columbia 32.
The weekend started off with an immaculate delivery in 20 knots of breeze to Long Beach Harbor with only two people on board. That was the first exposure that the team had of the Columbia 32's incredible ability to be sailed shorthanded.
The following day the group gathered at Long Beach Yacht Club, where we attached the square top main and provisioned the boat with the necessary supplies for the weekend. We embarked out to the race course about two hours before the start.
We spent the two hours before the start running critical time and distance runs along the line. After an intensive discussion the team decide to utilize the zero for the initial run out of the harbor. One o'clock rolled around and the warning signal blasted for our class and we made a break for the harbor entrance.
The zero proved to be a useful asset for this part of the course as we kept pace with many of the 40-50 footers in our class. after about 20 minutes of blasting with the zero up we made it to the harbor entrance where we transitioned to a light/medium jib and set our course for Catalina.
After the transition we began to sail our course to Catalina where we had a sustained 11 knots or so with a consistent clock. Sadly we did not see the wind shift as right as we were expecting but it still made for a fun race. The race was somewhat or more like a drag race where we started at the pin rounded the harbor entrance then went directly to Catalina.
After arriving in Catalina we power sailed to Catalina where we were assigned a mooring for the evening. After some relaxing on the mooring the crew decided to call for a launch and headed in for dinner.
After dinner the crew returned to the boat where they decided to just relax and appreciate the stars over our heads. The following day the forecast was not looking optimistic. With the potential for absolutely no breeze there was concern that the race would happen. After a hour long postponement we started.
The start was one of the scarier starts we had done as a team. With the wind being so light we are able to manipulate our boat in ways that other boats cannot. We managed to have a great spot at the pin but the downside is we had to start early causing us to be early over the line to avoid being rear ended by a significantly larger and heavier boat.
After two hours of sailing there was concern that we were not going to be able to finish the race in time because it was so light. So the decision was made to forego racing and to power sail home. After motoring for four miles into a new pressure system we managed to link up with a warm southerly. After seeing the wind build to a significant amount we transitioned to the the zero and had a nice blast back to Newport Beach.