CORONA DEL MAR, Calif.—Contrary to a general misunderstanding, the Nauti Chicas did not drop out but sailed all the way to the finish line in Balboa Yacht Club’s race from Corona del Mar to Cabo San Lucas early this month—last but an official finisher.
That is, DFL but not DNF.
The six women sailors, sailing the second smallest boat in the fleet, the J/35 Predator, were the 34th and final finisher, but they did finish, officially. They sailed the entire 800 nautical miles and finished at 7:06 p.m. PDT Wednesday, April 2, more than 40 hours before the deadline for official finishers. However, the final press release was issued a few hours earlier listing them as DNF (did not finish).
The error arose from an incorrect position report posted by the race committee that was later corrected. Three other boats—Muneca, Aeolos and Bad Pak—were forced to retire due to gear failures in the heavy seas and windy conditions and were correctly listed as DNF.
Doug Campbell, BYC’s principal race officer for the event, explained that Predator was inadvertently lumped in with the three retired boats, instead of designated as “still racing” at press time.
“Certainly, Predator finished the race and I apologize to all the many Predator supporters and fans,” Campbell said. “They are a hell of a group!”
At one point during the race, Predator’s skipper/navigator Sue Senescu, a four-time Transpac veteran, reported by e-mail from the race course: “The weather and sea conditions were more than anticipated but our crew handled them perfectly. The most detrimental thing to our performance has been the complete shredding of our heaviest kite.”
Team spokesperson and crew member Betsy Crowfoot, also a Transpac veteran, noted: “The team had been clocking 10-plus knots of boat speed in 25-30-knot winds and big seas until they blew up their heavy spinnaker in the early hours of Sunday, March 30. Subsequently, they tallied an average Speed Over Course of 6.11 knots for the race (reflecting the lack of a suitable spinnaker) while their D-class rivals logged 7 to 8.2 knots.
“Responding to reports that the J/35 was ‘struggling’ and comments that other racers were ‘worried about them,’ the crew laughed it off.
“ ‘Although we are the last of the boats to sail into the finish line, our spirits our high!’ said Senescu. ‘We’re disappointed with our results but very proud of our team and our boat.’ “
The Cabo race was the inaugural long-distance offshore race for four of the six crew: yacht owner Terri Manok, Helena Cannady, Denise Eldredge and Judy Rae Karlsen.
After finishing, Crowfoot said, “We had two full days of barbecues, swimming, snorkeling and working on our fantastic tans before celebrating with our friends at the trophy presentation Friday.”
Next on the agenda for the Nauti Chicas is the Newport to Ensenada Race April 25 and all-woman one-design regattas in Puerto Vallarta and Long Beach.
The first finisher at Cabo was Magnitude 80, Doug Baker’s Andrews 80 from Long Beach that set a course record of 2 days 10 hours 23 minutes 27 seconds, an average speed of 13.7 knots.
Sabrina, Chris Calkins’ 50-year-old wooden 50-footer from San Diego, was the overall winner on corrected handicap time under all three systems employed in the race—PHRF, IRC and ORR—and also the first to finish in Class D.
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