Begin the Journey

Regata del Sol al Sol XL April 25, 2008

Plans for the 40th Regata del Sol al Sol took shape months prior to the lightning strike, and several of the crew members wondered if we would be able to put the boat back together in time for the start of the race. So many plans would be ruined if we could not get the boat ready to sail. All the crew shown here, front to back, Jane Fultz, Capt’n Steve, Josh Mankowski, Ralph Umana, Holly Hollinsworth, Joe McClash, and Jason Fultz pitched in until we knew we could pull it off. Joy and I could continue south or not, depending on how the boat held together for the race. The Angel was ready and so was the crew. Of course, the Mayor of St. Petersburg was there on the day before the race to wish us well, and what could we say. We would do our best.

The Crew
The Crew

The start of the Regata del Sol al Sol XL went smoothly, except for some yelling and screaming from a select group of J-boats in the Spinnaker Division. The Angel had a great start in spite of the fracas. We were the first boat over the line in clean air, and so it went for the entire race. The winds held steady, nothing too outrageous, and we sailed as good a race as we possibly could, no mistakes, good boat speed, and sail change decisions made just at the right time. For example, as I came on watch one night at midnight, Navigator Joe said, “Well Captain, the wind is pretty stiff, and we are having all we can do to hold on to this spinnaker. What do you think?” It was blowing about 18 at the time, just forward of the beam, and the boat was moving at near 10 knots, but she was clearly a handful on the heading we needed to maintain. So the captain called for a change to a 100 % Genoa while both watches were on deck. Not ten minutes later the wind was blowing 25 to 28 knots, and we might have had a disaster on our hands had we delayed or tried to push harder. Good timing, good choices, and so went the race right up until the end when the wind died as we approached the finish.
Approaching Isla Mujeres
Approaching Isla Mujeres

We certainly did not complain though; we finished 2nd in our class, Spinnaker B, and 10th overall out of 54 boats. We even beat the 72 foot Enigma again and had the wind not died, we might have had them all but maybe one. The faster boats got in before the wind died, and we just missed it. All considered, the crew and Capt’n were thrilled as were all the wives, friends, and family.

I can’t say enough about the tremendous support and camaraderie from our friends at the Bradenton Yacht Club, a huge showing of support from the group who flew over to join the celebrations with us, to shower the kids on the Regata de Amigos with cookies and drinks, and to share in all the festivities. Here we all are once again on one of the most peaceful and beautiful islands in the world.

Here's the Whole Family
Here’s the Whole Family Celebrating

The crew and family from left to right – Ralph Umana, Josh Mankowski, Jane Fultz, Captain Steve. Joy, Jason Fultz, Joe McClash, Casy McClash, and Holly Hollinsworth.

Get Ready to Depart