Heavy winds and superior tactics gave John Greiner's Red Cloud a clear edge in North Cape Yacht Club's Commodore Perry Race yesterday.
The Santana 35 sloop romped through the 15 to 20-knot westerly breezes to win the overall performance handicap racing fleet division and Class A trophies with a 3:01.16 corrected time.
“It was Red Cloud weather and we knew we had a chance,” Greiner said.
The 39-boat fleet sailed on a challenging new course designed by North Cape skipper Jim Davis.
“We planned it so the boats would stay west of the shipping channel,” Davis said. “For so many years, we just sat out there and swatted flies.
“The new course has short legs that keep the crew involved and occupied. That's a lot better than sitting on the rail during long legs.”
Red Cloud's toughest competition came from two boats in its own class - Jeff MacKay's Wizard and Chip Crawford's Patriot. Both are relatively lightweight Evelyn 32s.
“They got away from us on the three spinnaker legs,” Greiner said, “but when we turned the R6 buoy we sailed a little faster and began to eat up their lead. On the long beat to weather, we finally closed on those guys and made up our time.”
However, Greiner really nailed it down on the second-to-last leg - a short sprint from the east to the south mark.
“I looked around and saw that every other boat was sailing too low [of the rhumbline],” he said. “Then I told my crew not to be in a hurry to put up the spinnaker and we sailed with the number-2 jib all the way in.”
Greiner's crew was comprised of his wife Judy, Sybil Turin, Henry Rose, Scot Decker, Ed Moore and Rob Stephenson.
Staying out of the shipping channel was the key to Holy Toledo's win in Class B.
“When we were beating in the channel, it seemed like there was a current. We had strange sloppy waves,” said co-skipper Clif Vaughan.
Holy Toledo, a Hobie 33, got a head start on Menace, but slipped behind on the downwind leg.
“We finally passed them on the way to the south mark,” Vaughan said. “And we did it by staying out of the channel and getting into a right-hand shift to the northwest.”
The new Jib-and-Main course was an exciting trek even though the boats didn't fly spinnakers, according to Charlie Antal, whose Catalina 38, Querencia, took first overall and Class A
“There were five turns before we came home, and the course took us all along the shoreline,” he said.
Antal made a couple of mistakes along the way.
“First, we almost made the mistake of following a small boat, thinking we could clear a sand bar. We just barely missed it,” he said. “Then we got overpowered coming in with a full main on the last leg and that cost us some time.”
Nevertheless, Querencia got around the 19-mile JAM course in 3 hours and 20 minutes “so fast there was no time for lunch,” Antal said.