On Thursday, November 15th at 10pm P.S.T. Red Star Sailing Team pushed off the docks of the Newport Sea Base aboard Weegie, their Columbia Carbon 32. Under the leadership of skipper, Chuck Welsh, the team was conducting a tryout for the 2019 Transpac. Also aboard were Chandler Hill, Kate Shaner, & Payton Thompson. The team sailed approximately 150nm, in order to practice keeping a watch schedule, become familiar with every position on the boat, and to gain experience with the full range of the sail inventory.
After safety & weather briefings led by Chuck Welsh, we left with the intention of heading to San Diego so that we could maximize our time sailing downwind. Upon exiting the jetty, we hoisted our Code Zero and connected the dots of very light breeze until coming across a SW system that produced breeze anywhere from 4-8 knots. Ultimately, a sail change to the Light 3DL was made as our breeze slowly clocked in front of our bow by the early morning on Friday.
The crew were in good spirits after a group breakfast as we played the shore-breeze slowly heading southeast. By the early afternoon, we had made it within sight of Point Loma after working our way offshore on the J1, then running down into the coast under the Code Zero. In the late afternoon, we conducted a couple mock man overboard drills using a drifting mylar balloon as a target. When we made it to about 10nm off of San Diego Harbor, we changed course to head back towards Newport under the Code Zero.
Overnight, the breeze slowly shifted south, ranging 8-12kts. which gave us the opportunity to put up a Staysail. This quickly shot us up to Newport by Saturday morning. After making it to Newport, we turned around to make another lap. As time went on, the breeze unfortunately slowed to a halt. The crew then took the opportunity to catch up and get to know each other better as we motored offshore, looking for a sea breeze.
Eventually we found some sea breeze filled in around noon about 15nm offshore, so we grabbed the next sail to test, which was the JT. We then made our way towards San Diego making about an average of 4kts. Changing to a cycle of a 3DI J1 and the Code Zero.
From there we aimed back for a mark approximately 15nm offshore of Newport. We continued to play the 4kt. South sea breeze alternating between the J1 heading offshore, and a new chute every 3 hours towards land until we made it through the inventory. The crew was entertained by a “Don’t Tread on Me” graphic they found was on the A5.
In the evening, a marine layer filled in, which ultimately killed all the breeze. By the early morning on Sunday, a patchy 5kt. land breeze set in close to shore as we worked our way Northwest. During this time, we alternated between the J1 and the A1, making it to Newport before sunrise. From there we made two laps between Newport Harbor Jetty and a waypoint around 10nm offshore as the land breeze slowly tapered off.
This put us motoring into the Harbor around 8am on Sunday morning. We took the opportunity to debrief, highlighting the equipment needs and other challenges we could experience on a long offshore race like the Transpac. We then docked at Newport Harbor Yacht Club to de-rig and put away the boat for further maintenance.