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UK Sailmakers interviewed Lindsey Duda (Chicago Yacht Club) who skippered her Santa Cruz 52 SIN DUDA! to victory in Section 2 of the Chicago-Mackinac race. For Lindsey and her crew, this win was keenly gratifying as the boat “has a lot of furniture” and was racing in light air against many newer, lighter speedsters. Here’s our conversation:
UK: Lindsay, before we get started, give me your single overall take on the race.
LD: We had moments of high speed, but mostly light air. I’ve done Mac races where we have sat for 12 hours going zero knots, but this was not one of those. I was surprised that we would do so well in a light air year.
UK: Tell us about the competition in your Section.
LD: MAIN STREET (a J/145) was our toughest competitor and they finished over an hour after us. She is very fast, and we had eyes on them the whole time. (There was a big mix of boats in their 16-boat section. Third was the Nelson/Marek 46 SKYE, another UK Sailmakers customer, fourth was the Ker 43 ABRACADABRA, the old Christopher Dragon carrying many UK Sailmakers sails and fifth was the Soto 40 ARMA. This was a wide span of boats many of which could have done well in a light air race.) Since we have a lot of furniture, I was surprised that we won this race in the conditions that we sailed in. I always thought the race we would win would be a heavy air one.
UK: How were the conditions…besides light?
LD: We saw a lot of different directions We started with the Code Zero and then sailed with slightly cracked off with the Light No. 1 for a while until the wind shut off and then clocked around. We did lots of sail changes between our light No. 1, Code Zero and A1 (all from UK).
We were pretty keen on fleet management, trying to stay in between our competitors and where we thought the wind was going to fill. Looking at the forecast, we expected the wind on the Michigan shore would die out, so we stayed further out in the Lake, the western most boat in our section. We were pretty confident that when the wind filled in, it would be stronger in the west and in the middle of the Lake it seemed to work out.
UK: Tell me a little about your crew composition.
LD: We sailed with 9. At the start Matt Knighton was aboard as media person to document the start. Not long after getting the video shot of our start, he gathered his gear and jumped overboard and was recovered by a RIB. He just walked past me and jumped off the stern without saying goodbye. It was pretty funny. I was on the Mac Committee this year working closely with the communications team and having Matt aboard was just one way we worked hard to get good images to share. He put the camera on our bowman’s head to get the footage of our start and the unfurling of the Code Zero.
UK: You said you did a lot of sail changes, but mostly between three sails. Tell me more:
LD: I love the Code Zero and we used it quite a bit. We did a last-minute audit of our inventory and left the heavy one and Jib Top on the dock. It was nice to have a smaller inventory since it made sail decisions a bit easier.
We had a brand new main, A1 and A2. The A2 got very little use this race, but the new (Titanium) main is excellent. Having UK’s Pat Considine on the boat is always a great asset. Great sailor, very calm & quiet.
UK: Lindsey, how about one final comment?
LD: I think this was one of my favorite Macs, not just because we won. The race was challenging and the whole fleet was close together the whole time.
UK Sailmakers followed-up with our own Pat Considine (UK Sailmakers Chicago) who was aboard SIN DUDA! for the win. Here are Pat’s comments:
As for sails, we had a year-old UK Code 0 that we had optimized for light air, making it bigger than normal. We also had a 155% light No. 1 genoa and, with all the jib-reaching that we did, that gave us an advantage over many of the newer, lighter boats who don’t jib reach well (the tops of the sails twist off and they lose power). Heck, we didn’t use the new UK No. 3 or A2 at all; but we did use the new A1.
The boat had a new UK Titanium main that replaced a five-year-old Uni-Titanium main. The old sail had a lot of miles on it and had served SIN DUDA! well as the boat traveled around (Transpac, Caribbean 600, Jamaica Race, Cabo San Lucas Race, Puerto Vallarta Race and 3-4 Chicago Mac races).
But mostly we used the light No. 1 genoa, A1 and Code 0. We didn’t do a traditional jib-to-jib headsail change the entire race, and with the Zero on a roller furler, it was a breeze to set and furl.
Going into the race it looked the new light boats would prevail. We didn’t know how we would handle the boats in a light air downwind race. As it turned out, the race was a lot of jib reaching and, as the largest boat in the section, our waterline length and overlapping genoa helped us.
SIN DUDA! is a good boat with good sailors and good sails. That’s always a winning combination.