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Russ Fender (Admin)

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Posted on Friday, November 03, 2000 - 04:32 pm:   

The 30-foot S2 9.1 C-SHELL bested a fleet of 44 boats in this year's Lime Cup, a series of two point-to-point races from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale and back. The following is a report by Don Stagg of UK Miami who sailed on C-Shell.

This years Lime Cup, turned out to be very similar to years gone by. Summer in Miami seems to be getting hotter each year, and this year was no exception. Saturday's start had light, southwesterly winds. It is a simple course starting at Bug Light out to a buoy marking the north east corner of Biscayne National Park about 2.5 NM. east. Turn north, and head to the finish just South of Port Everglades / Ft. Lauderdale. The first day's course is measured at 27 NM. miles.

The start went off on time, with almost everyone approaching the line on starboard, close reaching, then setting spinnakers in almost no wind. Because of the Gulf Stream's influence, this race is a navigators/tactician's nightmare. The light air and the southwest wind direction, made the first mark, a non issue, for most boats. Make sure you leave it to port, and head for the Gulf Stream as quickly as you can. For us this meant sailing away from our target at Port Everglades.

To the casual observer it seems simple, sail to the Gulf Stream head, north and finish. Not so, the trick is, to find it, not go too far out, and know when to come back in. Parts of the Stream can run as fast as three knots, which makes a difference in your northward progress when your speed through the water is only 2.5 knots. C-SHELL was the furthest boat out from shore for a while -- at times 5 miles east of the rhumbline. We were surprised that, after hours of hard racing, we had not even passed the Port of Miami entrance buoy, a further clue as to how light the conditions were. We decided to go even further out, flirting with the problem of knowing when to pay the piper and head back in to the finish.
That soon became no problem. The wind began to fill in from the SE, and was building every hour. By this time around 1 p.m., we were looking pretty good, and started our long northwest journey to the finish, only two boats stayed out longer than we did. A Hobie 33 and an Express 37 ­ both which owed us a ton of time. We were able to work inside of the Express, but the Hobie was on an angle, that would not have worked for us. The fleet on the inside appeared to be dropping back. We continued to work down, in an ever increasing breeze. Now our new .75 oz. Matrix chute was in it's element. Our Kevlar Tape-Drive main was also doing an excellent job.

The new breeze allowed us to almost sail to the finish, on that tack. Only one jibe was necessary to keep us driving hard to the finish. We were pretty sure we had a good race, because we were counting from the front, not the back of the fleet. A very well prepared Soverel 26, finished a little too close behind us, and put 2 minutes and 29 sec. on us. We finished just before three and were looking forward to lime daiquiris poolside at Pier 66 in Ft. Lauderdale.

Sunday's start was postponed for about 30 minutes until the wind decided to go SE at about 5 knots. We started five minutes behind the Hobies, which all headed for the beach. Tactics on the return trip dictate staying out of the Gulf Stream and looking for any counter current that may be in close to shore. We short tacked along the beach, going in to the areas marked off for swimming, which took us into eight feet of water. Then we went east, toward the Gulf Stream. We did not sail offshore into water deeper than 40 feet, which set up a series of long port tacks and short starboards.

Both in the light and heavy air we, seemed to have excellent boat speed and height, with our all purpose Kevlar Tape-Drive No. 1. The Soverel 26 that started ten minutes ahead of us was now in full view and a Tripp 33 with a full Banks inventory tried to go over us, but couldn't, things were going well. We felt that one of the important considerations was, how to approach the finish. It is about 1 and 1/2 miles out from the beach, and we felt probably in some Northerly current. Our plan was to try to hit the Starboard tack lay line. We didn't see anyone else do this, but it made sense to stay out of the expected current as long as possible. We almost made the line on starboard, but with only a few boat lengths left, tacked over to finish 7 min 31 seconds ahead of the Soverel on corrected time.

We felt we had sailed a good race, and hoped we had moved up in the overall standings. We knew we had saved enough time to give us overall in our division, but we weren't sure how we would finish overall in PHRF. At the awards presentation we were a little surprised to hear the Hobies had finished 1,2,3 overall. But were grateful, to get our beer mugs / silver platter for winning our division which included two other S2 9.1s. It's not over till it's over, someone once said.

On Tuesday morning I got a call from Bob Buchman the owner of LOKI saying that he was pretty sure that we had won the overall PHRF prize for the series because the race committee had gotten the Hobie 33's mixed up in the starting order somehow, on both Sat. and Sun. Of course the Owner of C-SHELL John Duncan was amazed and gratified to hear this. He promised that the crew would get together and celebrate ASAP. It is a shame that we didn't get to bask, in the Lime Cup light but that's Yacht Racing.

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