The usual light air greeted the small PSSA fleet as we ventured out of Santa Monica Bay. A grey day and rain greeted the sailors as we made our way south. The forecast was to get breezy and rough farther out past Catalina to the Cortes Bank and hold all the way back to the West End. A bit more West than normal, the wind angles looked favorable for the return, despite the 25-30 knot forecast.
The wind picked up as predicted and Sparrow trucked along on a close reach down to the Bank. The ballast tank valves were leaking badly, not allowing use of the water ballast to keep Sparrow on her feet, and causing considerable seawater coming into the boat. The scoops are not watertight, and as Sparrow heels, the lee side valves leak water into the hull.
So Sparrow’s speed was curtailed as the ballast system became inoperable and I shortened sail both to keep her on her feet and to limit the amount of seawater entering the hull. Still, we moved along at a bumpy 9 knots or so for much of the return and finished the 165 miles in 24 hours or so. Not a record, but still a pretty quick trip, especially given the slow conditions getting out of the Bay. As it turned out, all others dropped out due to the conditions, and Sparrow took the win.