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Monday, February 27, 2006

AS Requested RE: Morpheus - Sunday ....


This is a message from four years in the blogging future. After Morpheus won their class in the CABO 2010 Race from Newport Beach, I thought it apropos to backpost this e-mail thread from 2006 for context. I crewed on a Morpheus delivery from SF to SD, and then watched her race to Puerto Vallarta. This e-mail summarized the race.

Jim,
Regarding: " Rob and I would like to have MW write a summary of all of our mistakes and email it to us after the finish!! "

Given my general ignorance about all things nautical, I was surprised by this request.

However, one can only assume that my penetrating analytical skills are what prompted this desperate plea, so I decided to take this seriously. My expectation, of course, was that Morpheus would win the race, thereby rendering any such analysis moot. Just in case, I thought I should be prepared.

First, I decided to address my embarrassing unfamiliarity with sailing terminology. As a first step, yesterday I had the word PORT tattooed on the back of my right had and the word STARBOARD tattooed on the back of my left hand. Wait! - I know, I know - I fixed it. Once I recognized the problem, I went back and had the footnote "OTHER HAND" and an arrow added to the design. It was done tastefully and I am happy with the work.

Next, I transcribed all the detailed "Boat Speed and Heading" data from the FIS site, created a giant spreadsheet showing minute by minute comparisons of all the Division 3 competitors and laboriously overlaid the wind speed and heading on a minute by minute basis . Armed with this data I began the analysis. Of course, all of the sail changes were pretty obvious to anyone following the FIS graphical tracking lines, so I won't bore everyone with the details. Net net, all the sail changes seemed appropriate (except for that one embarrassing incident trimming the kite - but I don't think it cost you that much and the less said the better).

I worked on this all night so let me just jump straight to the conclusion. I can only identify two mistakes in the race, one tactical, and one strategic.

TACTICAL ERROR
The tactical error was when you failed to follow Blue Blazes lead when approaching Puerto Vallarta last night. According to the FIS tracking map, which clearly shows BB sailing over land, they apparently contracted with a Chinook CH47 Heavy Lifting Helicopter to lift them out of the water and deposit them in the harbor. This was a brilliant move, which you did not follow.This dramatically exposed a failure of initiative and creativity on the part of the leadership of the Morpheus crew.

STRATEGIC ERROR
This occurred a little earlier in the race.

The key decision took place around May of 2000.

You should have bought Blue Blazes.

Congrats to you and the crew on a great race. It was fun to watch. Have a great time in PV. - MW


-----Original Message-----

From: MORPHEUS
Sent: Sunday, 26 February 2006 5:43 p.m.
To: Debra, MW
Subject: Morpheus - Sunday .... YUCK!!

Once again, we are all wishing we were you, because you know who's doing
well and who has not!!

Great position reports this morning!! Again, surprised that BB had not made
big gains. We've been sailing hard, countless sail changes, etc. Perhaps
that is paying off??

Anyway, we knew there would be trouble south of Cabo, but no this much. Did
BB have wind to our south and sail away?? Did lucky dog get the new breeze
first?? Did everyone have as much trouble getting East as we did?? Who
knows??? YOU DO!!

We floated from about 8am until a 4-5 knot breeze filled in at 2pm. Then
tried to use it to get east, but port gybe ended up with us sailing NE and
that could only keep us trapped under Cabo, so we gybed to the south looking
for more breeze and found some. (Humm...this makes us worry about BB!!)

Anyway, once in that breeze we were able to gybe again and basically head
east. Our weather says this may be a single gybe leg from here on out.
We'll try to work south for the expected lifts on the other side prior to
finish. Looks like maybe finish around midnight best case tomorrow???

Would much rather finish in daylight before the wind dies....

Time will tell. See ya!!

PS> Rob and I would like to have MW write a summary of all of our
mistakes and email it to us after the finish!! That should be fun reading!

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