Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Islas de Todos Santos Race

We were anxious to get back sailing on Agave Azul.  We drove from San Francisco to Ensenada since we had a bunch of gear to put aboard and we wanted a convenient way to visit the local sites and stores around Ensenada.  It was a quick trip, including a side trip to pick up boat shoes for Kathryn at West Marine in San Diego.  The San Diego store is huge - it must be their flagship store.  I planned to come back for a longer window-shopping trip on the way home.

West Marine in San Diego

Sale today - boat shoes for $18.00!

On the drive to Ensenada

Islas de Todos Santos in the background

Welcome to Ensenada

Coral Marina

VI Regata Internacional Todos Santos
Our visit coincided with a local sailing race around Islas de Todos Santos, 8 miles off Ensenada.  We decided to enter to see how Agave Azul would do.  

23 boats entered the 6th annual race; half were from Ensenada and the other half were participants in the San Diego to Ensenada Race that ended the previous day.  The winds started light at 5 – 10 knots, but picked up and held steady at 15 – 20 knots.  It was the fastest Todos Santos race to date.  The course was a beat out, a short downwind leg passing the islands and a beam reach back.

Our start was OK, but our shakedown sail from San Francisco was all down wind, so it took a while to figure out how to make the boat go fast upwind.  When we got our trim sorted out we were able to point 10 degrees higher and started passing a few boats.  

Kathryn at the helm

Tango - 5th place

Sly McFly - 3rd place

Mad Hatter  - 4th place

North island light

Good crew work on Sly McFly ...
They broached a few times, but kept the chute up all the way to the finish

When we rounded the islands I went forward to put up the chute.  I tried something new setting the spinnaker, which didn’t work, and by the time we were ready to gybe back to Ensenada, it was time to douse the chute.  It was probably a good idea, since the final leg had the most wind.  Flying the chute doublehanded with 20 knots on the beam would have been a bit edgy.  Many of the boats that rounded the islands with their spinnakers soon took them down.  We’ll wait until we have more experience sailing Agave Azul.

We had a lot of fun out there and Agave Azul handled herself well.  When we saw the prize list at the awards dinner, we were really hoping for 5th place – dinner for 2 at Sanos, one of the top local restaurants.  We were 5th to cross the line, but we correct out to 7th place, 1 minute 24 seconds behind Tango.  Oh well, next time!

Single Side Band Radio Seminar
We drove back up to San Diego for a pair of seminars to learn more about our SSB radio and using SailMail email and weather download software.  We learned a lot, but still need more hands-on time to get the most out of our system.  Kathryn went back to San Francisco to work and I headed back down to Ensenada to do boat projects.

Driving in Tijuana!
On my return trip to San Diego I learned about the rumored shakedowns by the Tijuana police.  It was a quiet traffic morning and I was driving carefully to be sure I made all the correct turns on my way through Tijuana.  About a mile from the border I was pulled over by a motorcycle policeman.  He explained that I had been speeding and asked me 3 times if I had ever had a ticket in Mexico.  When I said no he explained that I would have to go to the police station in Tijuana to pay the fine.  I asked if I could pay with a check or credit card or by mail, but nope – cash only.  The fine was $140 US – I checked my wallet and only had $60 cash.  OK, can we stop at an ATM first?  The answer was no, I had to see a judge and complete a form to pay by mail … or … I could give the officer the $60 in my wallet right now to pay for the ticket - just fold the bills between your registration please and hand it to me!  Let’s see – I can miss my flight back to San Francisco or pay the half the fine in cash right now.  It seems there is only one thing to do.

Did I break the traffic laws in Ensenada?  Probably, but I’ll be sure to drive even more conservatively the next time!

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