A teenagers team took part in the Islands Race on 11th March, a course that would take the young and inexperienced crew offshore toward Channel Islands as they raced from the San Pedro to San Diego in California. But with storms in forecast, the lessons they came to know is purely magnificent.
With wind conditions omened to be 30+ knots, and gusting higher to the west of Catalina as well as San Clemente Islands, the Organizing Authority of Islands Race opted to alter 130 nautical mile offshore course to run inside the islands for an 80 nautical mile trek down the coast to San Diego.
Newport Sea Base Youth Sailing Team, sailing aboard Apprentice, and IMX-38, motored up to Long Beach the morning of the race. They even practicing reefing the mainsail ahead of the start, even with wind speeds little more than 5 knots. Cells of inclement weather were forecast to overtake the fleet.
The race started with a southerly flow, triggering the fleet to sail upwind from the beginning. The storm front arrived soon after and the team replied with a headsail change, a reefed main, and then another headsail altered to their #3 jib.
16 year old helmswoman, Catherine Reynolds, was steady on the helm even as the wind and rain strained voices to be heard. Though she has sailed in the 2015 Islands Race and several other long point-to-point races, this was her 1st time sailing the IMX in such weather.