Friday, April 2, 2010

Racing in the Banderas Bay Regatta by Joshua Morrison

When we were in Chamela on the way back up to the Sea of Cortez we were invited to go over to s/v Gato Go for dinner and a movie. Since it was a bouncy anchorage we didn’t put the motor on the dinghy and just rowed over to GatoGo. GatoGo is a big Kenner 43 foot catamaran, that’s a boat with two hulls instead of one, so it’s a big boat. When we got to their boat my mom started making dinner with Craig and Bruce the two guys onboard. While we were eating dinner Craig asked if we wanted to crew with them for the Banderas Bay Regatta and we said “Sure, why not”. When we got to La Cruz they gave us some papers that we would need to get into the party and so we could be crew. So for the kickoff party they did some folk dancing at Paradise Village (a very very expensive hotel resort) and I was thinking “I’m glad I brought my computer if this is going to go on for a while”. We met up with Craig, Bruce, and the other crew that they had, Tom and John. Then the party kind of dispersed to the yacht club and/or any of the restaurants around. We went back to our boat to sleep and get ready to go back in the morning for practice sailing on Gato Go. The next day we got to the marina at Paradise Village with Tom and John then set out for a practice sail. For the first part we practiced our start and got a bearing on where everybody was going to be and who would do what. After scaring ourselves half to death with how close the boats got we went out into the bay and practiced using the screecher (a big sail that’s kind of like a spinnaker). After practice we went in to go eat and go home.

The next day began the races, for the start of racing there was a parade of boats out the channel doing all kinds of stuff; we dressed up in various costumes. For the start instead of having 55 boats start all at once which would lead to sunken boats they had six classes leaving at different times. The slower boats did shorter courses than the faster boats. The course for that day was a lot of upwind sailing and catamarans don’t go upwind very well. We just tried to go as fast as we could on the upwind so we could catch up on the downwind. Of course that never really happened but we had fun getting almost last place. After the race, we hung out in the pool at Paradise Village and had dinner at another restaurant then went home. The second day we were happy because it was a course with supposedly not much upwind and a lot of angles good for catamarans. Although we didn’t finish we still had fun. We all got a little mad at one boat that completely didn’t go around one of the marks. The last day of racing was the same course as the first day so we knew we weren’t going to do very well. To make sure we didn’t finish the wind died right when we were headed up to the last mark. The committee boat gave us an offer to turn around and not go around the last mark and they would give us the points for last. The other option was that we could try and finish, so we took their offer and turned around. Not even five minutes after we turned around the wind picked up so fast that I had gone downstairs for a little bit and when I came back up it was windy! We were saying “couldn’t it die down and pick back up after we finished”. So we just went in with last place and the awards ceremony was next. I’ve been to enough things like that to know it’s going to take twice as long as they intended to. After dinner, I decided to see if any of the little kids wanted to go to the pool because they might have been bored, but none of them wanted to. So I ended up walking around and went to the boat and played on my computer for a while until everyone got back from the awards ceremony. Gato Go is so big they had two extra staterooms to spare so we spent the night on their boat.

On Sunday, instead of taking a taxi we went over to La Cruz with Gato Go. We had fun getting into the marina from their boat in the anchorage because it was very windy which made the water choppy. It was fun racing on Gato Go in the Banderas Bay Regatta. That is all the racing we’re going to do for a while. We won’t do any with our boat ever.

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