Hardway is 67nm race from Santa Barbra to Ventura California via the Channel Islands run by the Pierpont Bay Yacht Club. I was fortunate enough to join the crew of Buena Vista for the race, an Olsen 40ft from Ventura Yacht Club.
The morning started early with a 0630 departure from Ventura for the delivery to Santa Barbra. Jet lagged I struggled to make it to the boat, but once aboard soon plied with coffee and sea stories, while we watched Humpback whales feed.
A quick dash into Santa Barbra to pick up our bow lady and cupcakes from the owners wife then back out to sea into a building breeze for the start.
The course was simple: start; head towards a channel between the islands and mainland where there was more wind; then pick the correct line to round Anacapa Island without getting caught in the wind shadow of 1000m high Santa Cruz island to windward or getting tangled in weed to close to the shore; then a reach home.
We had our ups and downs, in what I can only describe as the best sailing conditions I can remember in many years. The crew were a delight to sail with, with stories of their 2012 Pacific Cup race to Hawaii and countless coastal voyages. I helped Lissa on the bow, while Dwight the owner and skipper ran the cockpit with a team of his mates, some which he had sailed with since high school.
I had been warned by many that this race was associated with being becalmed for long periods, I had prepared for a night at sea, but the champagne keep coming all the way to our finish at 17:30 that evening. Second on line, third on rating. And like sailors everywhere rum, music and laughs.
The one thing that was distracting was the helicopters overhead, turns out there was a humpback in the marina. All yacht clubs have their issues!
Commodore Sally Garrett