Team Wild Hogs en route to Bacardi Miami Sailing Week - Sail Magazine

Team Wild Hogs en route to Bacardi Miami Sailing Week

It was Friday, February 28, when I collected my regular Wild Hogs Viper 640 crew, Buttons Padin and Chris Foley, and left Washington D.C., heading south down I-95 en route to Bacardi Miami Sailing Week.
Author:
Publish date:
 Wild Hogs (#59) chases down Skip Diver (#22) as the two boats round the windward mark. Photo by Cory Silken

Wild Hogs (#59) chases down Skip Diver (#22) as the two boats round the windward mark. Photo by Cory Silken

It was Friday, February 28, when I collected my regular Wild Hogs Viper 640 crew, Buttons Padin and Chris Foley, and left Washington D.C., heading south down I-95 en route to Bacardi Miami Sailing Week. Taking turns sleeping in the back seat, our smart phones full of music and NPR, we made the run in less than 23 hours. When we emerged from the car in Florida wearing shorts and flip-flops, all Hogs were smiling.

On arriving at the US Sailing Training Center in Miami, we were tired but eager to launch the boat and get in some practice for the two-day EFG Viper Winter Cup, which started Sunday morning.

After that came the first annual Viper 640 Miami Scorch on Tuesday—a searing reach across Biscayne Bay to No Name Harbor on the southern tip of Key Biscayne. The Viper class big-wigs are to be congratulated for conceiving the Scorch. It got us all sitting at a long table, where everyone put down the Racing Rules of Sailing and hoisted Presidentes instead.

 Team Wild Hogs making knots southbound on I-95 (below). Photo courtesy of Dan Tucker

Team Wild Hogs making knots southbound on I-95 (below). Photo courtesy of Dan Tucker

Finally, on Thursday, it was time for the main event, Bacardi Miami Sailing Week, which had already been running Star-class races since Monday. Four other classes joined in for the last three days: 40 J/70s, 21 VX Ones, 41 Melges 20s and a handful of Melges 24s. The Viper regatta fleet stood at 25. 

Racing on the first day started before noon, but ended about two hours later as a front loomed over Miami, and the 120-plus boats headed for shore. As we were sitting around the pool and bar at the Coral Reef Yacht Club, the sky to the southwest grew darker and darker, and then all hell broke loose and the wind went from 10 knots to over 35 knots in a matter of seconds. Clearly the race committee made the right call.

On Friday, the forecast called for westerly breezes in the high teens, so we bent on our older sails—a good thing. After three general recalls, including the RC going to the “I” flag and then the black flag to get off the J/70s, the Vipers started in a building breeze that was already in excess of 20 knots.

As we approached the windward mark, Buttons, Chris and I debated whether to set the chute. But hell, we were all in—so up it went. Reaching at over 16 knots, with the bow wave kicking up spray, we approached our first gybe. With other Vipers rounding up all around us, we bore off, gybed and promptly joined our friends swimming. A quick recovery put us back in the chase ahead of the less fortunate—turns out sailing a Viper in what ended up becoming 30 knots with gusts is doable, if not exactly suited to our total crew weight! 

One shredded spin halyard and another broach later, we saw that the RC had wisely signaled for a shore postponement in the hopes that the wind would ease. Ugh! That meant over 2 miles of windward work, including tacking through the narrow Coconut Grove Channel. In the end, though, everyone got in safely, with the exception of some Melges 20s that broke their masts. A short while later, the postponement turned into the day’s racing being cancelled.

Unfortunately, on Saturday we had the opposite problem. Although the start was moved up to 0945 to get in as many races as possible, the wind proved to be light and fluky. The RC had until 1400 to start a race, but at 1330 they decided there simply wasn’t enough breeze, and the regatta was over.

In spite of the crazy conditions, Team Wild Hogs deemed the trip a success. We’d escaped the frigid north and made lots of new sailing friends from across the United States, Britain and Australia. We also got to drink plenty of Bacardi rum!

If you are a member of one of the classes that race at Bacardi Miami Sailing Week, you should be sure to make plans to join us next year. You won’t regret it. 

PeterBauer-bio

Peter Bauer, of Mamaroneck, NY, recently retired,

which has allowed him to pursue his passion for sailing

“without the restrictions of vacation time”

Related

SouthernOcean

The 50th Anniversary of the Golden Globe

Here we go! The 50th anniversary of the Golden Globe, the first singlehanded nonstop round-the-world race, is upon us. On July 1 one tribute event, the Golden Globe Race 2018, will start out of Les Sables d’Olonne, France, with a fleet of 19 amateur skippers setting out in ...read more

180621-X01-Landing-Page

Volvo Ocean Race Cliffhanger

After racing over 44,000 miles round the world and battling their way past the world’s great capes, including the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn, it’s all come down to the final 700-mile leg from Gothenburg, Sweden, to the Hague. Brunel, Mapfre, Dongfeng: going into the ...read more

Stearns Photo

Racing the Solo Mac for a Cause

There are plenty of reasons to do a Chicago-Mac race, and Rich Stearns, who has done literally dozens of ‘em should know. This year, though, he’s doing the Solo-Mac for an especially important reason: to help those with prostate cancer.“Two years ago, I was diagnosed with ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comRafting dangerOne unseen danger when sailing yachts lie alongside one another for a convivial night is that if they happen roll to a wash or begin to move in an unexpected sea, the spreaders can clash ...read more

180615-01 Lead

A Dramatic Comeback in the Volvo

After winning three of the last four legs in the Volvo Ocean Race (and coming in second in the fourth), Dutch-flagged Brunel is now tied for first overall with Spanish-flagged Mapfre and Chinese-flagged Dongfeng following the completion of Leg 10 from Cardiff, Wales, to ...read more

MFS-5-2018-Propan-SP02

Tohatsu LPG-powered 5hp Propane Motor

Gassing it UpTired of ethanol-induced fuel issues? Say goodbye to gasoline. Japanese outboard maker Tohatsu has introduced an LPG-powered 5hp kicker that hooks up to a propane tank for hours of stress-free running. Available in short-, long- or ultra-long-shaft versions, the ...read more