Four tall ships raced over night from the Tall Ship Festival in San Pedro to the Festival of Sail in San Diego. It was a perfect day at the start of the race, and the Bill and her new crew hung back to be on the safe side while the other three boats jockied for position at the start.
The conditions were beautiful, and we topped 11 knots at one point with an 18 knot breeze on the beam. As the fleet approached Catalina Island, each in turn was caught in the lee of the island and lost all momentum. As we came out the other side of the doldrums, each boat picked up speed once more and turned south. For the Bill, then turn for San Clemente Island was her downfall. With winds decreasing on a down-hill run, the main began to flog, and soon large tears began to appear along the leach. The consolation was a stunning sunset at sea. As we continued through the night, the tear got worse, and we knew we had no chance.
When morning arrived, we could see the Exy Johnson not too far ahead, and the Irving Johnson in the distance. The Tole Mour was so far ahead that they were out of site. With our damaged main, we did what we could to close on the Exy, but it wasn’t to be.
Regardless of the outcome, we had a great time, enjoyed some superb sailing, and learned a lot about our boat. We can’t wait for next year!