I caught wind of Ocean Racing Venture's Havana Cup Yacht Race a few years ago, organized by Jim Duncan. Had a fast little Evelyn 26 monohull at the time with 14 sails so I called a few buddies. What do you think, chance of a lifetime, won't cost a whole lot, should be a Hoot. Well good buddy Jeff Johnson aka JJ put it down on the calendar right then and there! Our only problem was that neither of us knew more than 20 words of Spanish! I thought now who do I know that could suffer the ravages of offshore sailing in a little boat that could! Why my old sailing friend Joe Marble born in the Dominican Republic of course. Joe and I had been friends for over 20 years but him living in the Keys made it many years between visits - I was actually 'best man' at his wedding - he is fluent in Spanish. Anyway, I will not bore you with all the history...the three of us were going to Cuba in Mr.Hoot! This photo is of 'Southern Light' just prior to the start of the race at Pinellas Point in Tampa Bay. I owned 'Southern Light' a 1984 Morgan 323 five years.
Just out of Tampa Bay headed South off of Anna Maria Island. Katsy II with huge spinnaker up. We beat out of the Bay and were doing great but Mr.Hoot being a light weight racer was becoming overpowered with our #3 spinnaker heading down the coast. All we could do was watch Katsy II run away with her heavy ballasted keel. We kept up fairly well with a 170% genoa for a while.
We out pointed a majority of the 251 boat fleet getting out of Tampa Bay but the big cats came into their own in this 12 knot beam reach down the coastline. Held our heads high for being the smallest boat in the entire fleet loaded with enough beer and supplies to reach South America. This image be one of the large cats getting ready to hoist the spinnaker matey.
Another large catamaran Windy 3 inching by us. I might add that all these photos were taken with my first digital camera, a Nikon Coolpix 900. This camera was high tech at the time - a whooping 1Mpix and I splurged to get a 48Mb Compact Flash Card - my how times have changed in 10 years. My current camera is 21Mpix with 66Gigs of Compact Flash Cards. That is 2Mpix per year advancement, great but other technologies have regressed in these 10 years, take Microsoft for example!
Joe enjoying a refreshing race beverage getting ready for our first night out. This is about a 300 mile voyage, it should be under three days sail if we average around 5 knots.
The wind has backed off considerably and we have the largest of our three symmetric spinnakers up. I think JJ is keeping a shut-eye on the spinnaker trim here...
Spinnaker is still full,,,looking a little tie-dyed from wet packs over the years. Still a very good sail and the condition I bought it!
It has been a long day,,,and all three of us were trashed from the pre-race party at Janus Landing for starters
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