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Columbia 9.6 32, 11000lb displacement

Dana Point, California

Sailing Vessel Fluke was sitting in a slip in the Channel Island Marina for over three years when I first saw her. Fluke is a 1976 Columbia 9.6, hull number 31, with a cream hull and white sails. This was 2012 and she was last sailed in 2008 at which time she had a sized diesel. This was the second motor in the boat as she originally had an Atomic 4 gas motor.

The Columbia 9.6 had a good reputation for being built strongly and able to safely take on significant seas and wind and bring the sailors home safe. An Alan Payne design boat, she has a fin keel that is extended back to a skag protected rudder. It was back in about 2006 that she had her standing rigging, lines, sheets, and sails upgraded by a previous owner. She was not well taken care of in the years she was painted what was needed, varnished the wood, replaced wiring, installed white frp ceiling in the cabin, and then addressed the engine room.

Repower project:

1. Find a Yanmar 2 cylinder motor (2QY15) and have it rebuilt.

2. Order Electric Yacht 8.0 Sail H-Hybrid system.

3. Find a good place for modest 100AH AGM battery pack.

4. Clean and paint engine compartment.

5. Install diesel and then the Electric Yacht hybrid

6. Sail and motor the Southern California coast

After this install, we sail Fluke to San Diego, Catalina, Los Angeles, Newport, and Oceanside.

Many day sails from Dana Point. Many opportunities to show off electric propulsion to prospective clients as Fluke is my working demo boat.

Now for the Newport 2 Ensenada Race 2014

As a young boy I read about the sailors who raced from Newport California to Ensenada Baha California. A wonderful armada of boats starting off from the Balboa Pier and racing for glory. This race became an item on my bucket list. Normally a heavy built boat like the Columbia 9.6 would not be the boat of choice for this race. The game plan was simple, begin the race in the normal light air off Newport and when the clock stuck 20:00 hours, fire up the motors and make speed down he rum line to Ensenada. Shut down at 08:00 hours on Saturday and make way to the entertainment that Ensenada affords the visiting sailor.

Well that plan did not count on 20 to 35kts wind. How about 10ft seas or the mix swells. Well Fluke was the first boat to cross the start line at 11:00 hours. Speeding towards shore from the inside starting line, we made about a quarter mile before our first of three tacks in the race. Tacking to starboard to get us to some outside winds, we were making about 5kts going out about 10NMs. When we reached the shipping lanes, we took our second tack and headed for Ensenada at speeds approaching 7kts. Now the wind normally settles down at night off the Southern California coast, but not tonight! Winds pick up to over 15kts and we were making 7kts to 9kts surfing down waves. The winds continue to build and we were now seeing winds of 20-25kts and Fluke was hitting 12kts at times. The fact that Fluke has the fin keel that is tapered back to the skag and a large rudder led by that large skag, she tracked straight and we were never rounded up or felt we could not hold course.

At 3:30 a very wet squall came over the boat and visibility dropped to a mere 10 feet. 20 minutes and it was over. We saw boats facing all directions after the squall passed us. 3:55 on a pilot shift, we had our first misstep as the boom jibs from port to starboard. Who forgot in the excitement of the race to connect the preventor that was lying on the port deck. On the subsequent jib back to get the boom to port (we were sailing with a very heavy main only at this time) we hear a loud crash and see the tearing metal of the boom as it breaks in two at the yoke. Coolly the team secures the mainsail (it is a loose foot and was not damaged) and boom to the cabin top. Out came the foiled foresail jib at about 60%, she is a 150 total. Speeds pick up and we continue to run at 7 to 9kts for the next 4.5 hours. Approaching the Ensenada harbor, we do out last jib, running with the full jib at this time, and continues at about 5-6 kts over the finish line in 23 hours on the nose.

Fluke was has a corrected 234 as determined by the Southern California Yachting Association and PHRF ratings. That brought us in at a corrected time of 14.87 hours and earned a second in our division. Wet and tired, not to get some sleep and enjoy Ensenada.

SV Fluke, Columbia 9.6
Electric Yacht of Southern California
Dana Point, CA