Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009 OCSA Summer Evening Series, Race 6.

I had not registered for the series as I was coming off an operation in early July. But I figured I could go out there and join the fun. The wind was late. It did not arrive until 7:00.

The crew this race was Warren. He crewed on La Dolce Vita last year and this is the first time he sailed this year. He was a little rusty. As evident a little later in the race.

When the wind arrived it came up to 8 knots. We shook out our reef in the main from the last sail and raised it fully. Did not do anything with the cunningham. The wind was light enough for full sail.

The start was confusing due the the delay in starting. We went over the line with a horn, but it turned out to be the one minute warning horn. We turned around and restarted a little late, but still in contention. We had turned around and instead of being on a starboard tack we were on a port tack, but in clear air. We did have to avoid a few starboard tacking boats but they did not impead our progress. We tacked early on the Washington side and continued on starboard tack until the concrete wall was abeam. We tacked over to port and started our climb to the wall. About then Dew Drop Inn was on starboard tack and coming from starboard. I just barely would have cleared his bow. He as a matter of tactic decided to turn to clear me by a boat length and yelled "Protest." I had to do a 360 to clear the protest. Meanwhile Warren had overrun the starboard jib sheet. The sail was tight and gave us no slack to be able to clear the overrun. I turned the boat upstream to get clear space to take time to clear the overrun. I moved the jib car aft to give us some slack but it was still not enough. We could not pull the line out of the overrun either. So I got my rigging knife and cut the sheet at the sail. I had kept the sheet as one length and connected it at the sail with just a loop which I had run the sheets through. It was too tight to untie. So cutting the sheet enabled me to tie two bowlines to fasten the sheets to the sail. I will have to go back and reeve the ends of the sheets and adjust the knots so the sheets are even. They need to be even so when the head sail is rolled up, they both become taught at the same time.

By the time the winch was cleared and sheet retied the sun had set. We were so far out of the running and since we really weren't in the race anyway, we retired to the marina. It was a really good night of sailing even if the sailing part was only 50 minutes.

After the boat was moored, I went below to check the track on my netbook only to discover I had not turned the tracking on. DARN. I also discovered the "C" key was missing. After we put the boat away, I came down to the cabin and turned on the cabin lights to look for the key. I found it and continued looking for the "spring". Finally found the spring, a little white plastic thingy that was almost invisible in the dim cabin lights. I tried to put the key back, but the light was too bad to do that, so I put the pieces in my coin pocket to try it again the next day. (The next day at work I had a much better light and only took about 10 minutes to finally. In the end once figuring out how the "spring" (which really was just a hinge) and the key fit together a simple sliding to the left action on the keyboard snapped the key in place. What a relief.

The boat had water in side again. There were a couple of times the rail was under water so I am going to have to investigate caulking the rail. It is either that or taking the toe rails off the boat and resetting them. That would entail taking the 100 screws out and a lot of time.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Thursday, July 2, 2009, SYSCO Summer Series, Crusing Class, Race 5

Nice warm evening. Crew was KD and Chuck. Winds were about 10 to 15 at start and settled down to below 10 by finish. All out of the same direction north north west. The course was C-2-B-2-C.

Started the race on starboard tack. Again we were in heavy traffic. Cepheron always seems to be on my lee. She kept pushing me to luff. (At a discussion after the race at the closing celebration barbecue I had a discussion with Andre. He told me that I should be able to point very well with my San Juan. I need to tighten up the back stay adjuster. Next time. . . ). So we fell behind her and continued until we tacked to port and crossed the river. We tacked at the Washington side to starboard and then tacked again when the concrete wall was abeam. We made the mark after tacking to starboard about 5 boat lengths from the mark. We avoided a few starboard tack boats with little penalty.

Rounding the mark we went into a port wing on wing. Chuck set the pole to starboard. We headed directly for B mark. Some of the bigger boats head over to the Oregon side and then reach up to the mark. One of these races, I will do that. But for now I can't seem to get it out of my head to head straight to the leeward mark. My thinking is that the fastest course between to points is a straight line. About 3/4 of the distance to the mark the wind started to back wind the head sail, coming around to almost a beam reach. We dropped the pole well in advance of the mark.

Rounding the leeward we went straight to a starboard tack from a port broad reach. I noticed all the other boats going to a port tack after the mark. They were redoing the start of the race when they did not have to. I went to the starboard tack because the leeward mark was set a distance from the leeward shore. This distance was enough for me to continue on starboard tack until the concrete wall was abeam again. We tack to port and started crossing the river. Since we had gained a few boat lengths on the fleet we encounter a few boats on starboard tack and had to maneaver around them. We lost a few seconds, but had gained a few minutes on the fleet because of the previous maneaver.

Rounding the buoy 2, the windward mark, we went back to the port wing on wing and headed straight to the finish mark. We stayed to the mark side of the finish as it gave us a better point of sail.

Some Monday morning quarter backing: On the C-2 leg of a race with north north west winds, I am not going to wait until the Washington side to tack. The middle is much better ground to be in when tacking down river. The current is faster. So next time I am going to tack at the middle of the river. If the wind heads to the north a little, I would stay on the starboard starting tack as long as possible.

Results are in: Aventura came in 6 on the handicapped scoring and 10 on finish scoring for the Cruise-f fleet.

We now I am taking time off to have an operation. A part of my body decided to become cancerous, so I am having it taken out. Probably will not race the next series. Maybe something in August.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009 SYSCO Summer Series, Cruising Class, Race 4

Crew this week consisted of Bill, KD, and his son Hanoor. The wind was a little above the normal 6 to 10 knots of the previous the races. It was from the north west at buoy 2 but north north west at buoy 14.

The race was C-2-14-B-C. A little longer than some races which attests to the wind speed for this race.

Although I brought my netbook and booted it and turned on the GPS and connected it to the netbook, I got distracted and did not start my SeaClear nor my track, so I don't have data like I do on my other races. I miss it.

We started with the pack. The horn went off when we were 2 boat lengths from starting C mark. We were on starboard tack in traffic. We tacked after Cepheron moved in front of us from leeward. The father-son team was new to trimming the head sail. We tacked and lost some while they learned the process. Meanwhile we were still in traffic. Another boat was leeward and was requesting room because he had a boat to leeward who was pushing him. We tacked at the levy to starboard and then went down river until the concrete wall was abeam. Traffic was thinning and we were coming clear. We tacked to port and had to dodge one boat on starboard tack. Then we were clear to go to the wall where we tacked to starboard ourselves and then made the mark. On rounding we went to port tack broad reach with the boom to starboard. We sailed that way for a quarter mile when we jibbed over to the middle of the river. We then jibbed back to port broad reach at the middle of the river. On hindsight, we turned up river too soon and should have gone further over to the Oregon side. The wind fluctuated and started coming more from astern so I asked Bill to put up the pole. We just got the pole up and the wind veered north and started to back wind the head sail. Down came the pole. We had a nice beam reach for a quarter mile. The big boys were all rounding buoy 14 and we had to sail through them to the mark. We went to starboard tack after the leeward mark to make B mark. I kept her high so that we could make the mark on starboard tack, which we did. We rounded the mark and kept her on port broad reach to the finish.

By the end of the race the father son team was working better together. Bill was very good with the main. I asked him to stay in the cabin opening and that worked well. I did not have to step around him when tacking. He seemed comfortable with that.

I am going to have to take the cunningham lines, I rigged, off the sail. They get in the way for when we need to de-power the fully battened main. I have asked twice now of two different people if they could put the pin in the cunningham grommet. Bill noted the grommet is set back and would not allow the sail to be pinned at the base of the boom. I am going to have to look at the situation and see what can be done. The cunningham is suppose to take the depth out of the main, so the cunningham hole should be set aft a bit to pull the sail flatter.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009 SYSCO Summer Series, Race 3.

It wasn't. I did have 4 other team members show up. We raised the main. Motored to the committee boat. Anchored and sat until 7:45. The motored back to the marina. Nice time. Good conversation.
Second time I have used my anchor.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009 SYSCO Summer Series, Race 2

No crew showed up. I did the race single handed. Winds were light to moderate, ranging from 4 to 8 knots. The course was C - 2 - 14 - C. I started on starboard tack. I had a late start, about 1 minute. I tacked at the coffer dam at the east end of Tomahawk Island. Just before the next tack the wind headed me when I was on port tack. Looking at the plot of the race, the heading did not help with speed. Once I tacked, I actually went faster. Note to self: tack sooner near the Washington shore. Starboard tack was short. I tacked when I had the concrete wall abeam. Then another short starboard tack to round the mark. I set the main to starboard and engaged the autohelm. I set the pole to port and went wing on wing ab out a mile. Then I dropped my pole. The wind was back winding the head sail occasionally and would come abeam occasionally. So I sailed a broad reach for about a half mile. I then jibbed toward the center of the river. I joined up with Dew Drop Inn who had remained wing on wing and heading straight for 14. I rounded 14 and took a starboard tack to the finish.

Two unusual sightings this race:

A peregrine falcon circled about 60 feet above my mast 2/3 thirds down the down wind leg of the race. She/He was a beautiful bird.

When going by the committee boat (CB), I followed a 20 footer being helmed by a woman, who kept looking back at me with an apprehensive look. I kept clear of her. I was back about 6 feet from her stern. We were going less than a knot COG. She passed the committee boat and I was trying to get my course when everyone on the CB yelled at me to stop. The 20 foot sail boat had not cleared the CB and the current had washed her up on the bow of the CB. When they yelled I put Aventura hard astern, which kicked my stern to port and pointed me out and away from all the carnage. I took a short loop around to get the last letter of the course as I was distracted by all the commotion. When I joined the line again, I was about 5 boat lengths away from the CB. I noticed the sail boat was just clearing the stern of the CB. A gentleman had jumped aboard and taken the rudder off the stern, which made the boat swing on the line that had been attached to the CB.

Another item of interest for me was that I had a GPS chart plotter aboard, finally. I have an ASUS EEEPC 1000HD. I reloaded the Linux distribution from the XANDROS to the Debian EEEPC 5.0.1. Bill said he is using SeaClear software successfully, so I down loaded it and loaded it to the netbook and my desktop. I had to install wine, version 1.0.1-1 on the netbook. I also downloaded all the NOAA charts, but I really worked on chart # 18531 Columbia River Vancouver to Bonneville. I used gimp, version 2.6.6 on my desktop which is loaded with the Fedora 9 Linux Distribution. I also loaded SeaClear on that, too and my wine version on the desktop is 1.1.14. I chopped up the chart into 3 pieces. I then chopped the top part in two. I used the MapCal executable to calibrate and convert the chart to the SeaClear's WCI format. I then transfered the chart to my netbook. The one trick I had to do to my wine installation is to link dos devices. In the ~/.wine/dosdevices directory link com1 to /dev/ttyUSB0 and com2 to /dev/ttyUSB1.

My GPS device is a Lowrance IFinder. I set the com port to 9600 baud and format to NEMA. I have a data cable that has a 12 volt power plug and a D9 serial terminal. I have a serial to USB converter. I also used a USB extension so I could put the netbook in a safe place. The IFinder is mounted just inside the cabin on the starboard hand gripe panel.

Everything worked just fine. I started recording my track just after I got my main up or about 6:00. I had 10% battery life in the netbook when I turned it off at about 9. Normally the system has a five hour battery life, but this GPS charting must be taxing. Since this was the first time ever for a track, I took the defaults and just turned it on. The points are too sparse. So this morning, I reread the manual and discovered the place to change the settings. Now I should have a better plot next week.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Thursday June 2, 2009, SYSCO Summer Series Race 1

It wasn't. There was a humongous wind, lightening, and thunder storm blowing through Portland between 4 PM and 5:30 PM. Remnants were still here at 6:15.

We drove from Hillsboro unsuspecting that any real storm was about. When we reached the St. Johns neighbourhood, the wind started up furiously. All sorts of dust and debris were being blown from the south east. Very strange weather pattern for Portland.

We got to the boat and all was well. One boat in the marina had a head sail unfurl. Mine was OK. Bill was in his boat. We retired to inside the cabin. We decided to go ahead and eat dinner and have a beer. No race committee boat would brave these conditions to set up the race. After dinner we drove home. That was it for the race.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Thursday May 28, 2009 SYSCO Spring Series, Cruising-S class

Race course was long: 14-2-R-2-X-14

We had two no shows in crew. They did say they weren't coming before hand. Chuck did show up. Thanks Chuck. While we were eating our sandwiches, I noticed a boat coming in a few slips away and helped the guy dock. He thanked me and on a whim, I asked him if he would like to crew on the race. This can be very scary to pick up crew off the dock. You don't know what you get. Of course, I have put all my crew together that way. It really did work out. Bill is his name. He owns the O'Day 25 3 slips away from us in Tomahawk Bay Marina. We got under way without incident.

The wind was not quite the roar it was last week. But it was forecast as 10 knots. So I wanted to put in the cunningham. Did not want to reef. I had rigged a “jiffy” reefing into the cunningham. The line got in the way. We ended up tying the line to the clamshell cleats' frame on top of the cabin. We sailed to the committee boat. It only took 20 minutes from buoy 2 to 14 with the main sail only. We got the course and made a few runs on the start to gauge timing. On

We nailed the start. We were in the middle of the start line in clear air. Some of the big boys tried to crowd the buoy for the start and missed the mark and had to go around. We stayed on starboard tack for about a quarter mile, then tacked to port. Came up to the barge and tacked again. Most of the other boats had to tack 5 times to get to the mark, too. We ran down river until the concrete wall was abeam and tacked to port again. We rounded the mark and set the pole to port. Sailed broad reach to R. We were grossly over sailed and surfed along. We has let out the head sail all the way. At one time we were passing larger boats. We got overlapped with Cepheron a 33' C&C within 5 boat lengths of the mark and we were windward. He claimed leeward rights and I corrected him that he may have leeward rights but I have mark room rights and he must allow me room to round the mark. Which we did just as a J24 was coming up port tack. I gave him just enough room and rounded the mark and headed toward mid-channel on starboard tack. We tacked for the concrete wall on port tack. We tacked to starboard when the mark came abeam. We made the mark handily, but jibbed wildly and spun around until we were heading in the wrong direction. We got ourselves straightened out but not before letting a lot of boats get ahead of us. We do have to work on our windward roundings. We tried broad reaching for a little but it kept us too close to the Washington side. We could not go over the finish/start line during this leg so we headed for the Oregon side of the river where we jibbed under control this time. We tried broad reaching again but the head sail was being shadowed and loosing power. We set the pole again on the same side of as the boom. This did alright, but I am not going to do that set again. I think the wing on wing set is faster. We were even caught and passed by La Dolce Vida. We rounded the leeward mark, X, and stayed on port tack until the committee boat was abeam. We tacked and finished the race.

Things to remember:
Putting the cunningham in the main sail was good. The boat went just as fast but was much calmer.
We reefed the head sail 75% but after the first rounding we let it out. Since the second and third upwind legs were short, we just left it out.
The wind at Buoy 14 seems less strong than at Buoy 2. It also shifted westward.

Things to repair this weekend:
Boom Kicker. Replaced the 7mm pop rivets with heli-coils, and 1/4-20 SS screws. Added anti-seize compound to help prevent corrosion.
Discovered a very obvious leak at the chain plates. Big problem with the San Juans. The plates come up through a hole cut in the deck. So whenever there is stress put on the plates the deck moves and the caulking separates. I found some very flexible all-weather caulking at Home Depot. I took out a gallon of water from under the port side settee. Maybe the boat may stay dry this Thursday. Might not be a good test. The winds are forecast at 6 to 7 knots.
The mounting on the battery monitor needed fixing.
The propane tank holder had worked its way out of its harness. I put that back.

Things to fix:
The not knot meter.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Thursday's Cruising Class Race on May 21, 2009

Nice wind this evening. It was up a couple of knots. Somewhere above 10.

We got out there a little late. Raised the main with no troubles (used the main halyard the first time, this time). Then the boom kicker decided to part from the mast. The base of the kicker was pop riveted to the mast. Six 1/4 inch pop rivets held the kicker. It just gently popped off. Todd, Rick, and Chuck quickly rigged the boom vang directly on to the mast step and the original vang fitting on the boom. They tied a short extension to the vang line because it was no longer long enough to go to the clam cleat on the cabin top.

Right after taking care of that little incident, we roll out the jib and one of the lazy jax lines fouls the jib sheet. Not a great start to the evening. We sailed past the committee boat after rolling in the head sail. The course is C B 14 B C. The wind is out of the west north west at, as I said earlier, about 10 knots and rising.

We made a run to 14 for a practice rounding and then tacked back to past the starting line. We made the middle of the coffer dam. We also reefed the head sail. Discovered that the cleat for the head sail will not hold the line and jury rigged a knot to another cleat. Something else I need to fix. Since B is further north, our strategy was to immediately tack to the middle of the river and head to the mark.

Rick procured a $3 program for his ipod to time race starts. It's a count down timer. He programmed it earlier to start timing at the first warning. This timing is always troublesome to new racers. I remember having problems keeping it straight when I crewed the first couple of years. Rick had the same problem this evening. We had a discussion on start timing and even ran a practice run on the starting mark.

Started on time.Start sequence is (min):
6:30 first warning 20
6:31 four minute warning for the first race19
6:34 one minute warning for the first race.16
6:35 start of first race.15
6:36 four minute warning for the second race. 14
6:39 one minute warning for the second race11
6:40 start of second race10
6:41 four minute warning for the third race.9
6:44 one minute warning for the third race.6
6:45 start of third race.5
6:46 four minute warning for the fourth race. ( Usually us )4
6:49 one minute warning for the fourth race.1
6:50 start of the fourth race.0

He added another 5 minute interval or started his clock late. So he interpolated the start time. We were about 10 second early. But I ran the start line until I heard the buzzer. At least I thought I ran the line. Once the race started we tacked to the middle of the river. The rest of the fleet was late to the mark and we were clear of them. We were third boat to the mark, which is saying something when we are one of the "s" fleet. We went into a starboard broad reach and were in the big boys. The eventually caught up and passed us, but not with some close sailing. One boat passed me and kept getting in my way. Once past he my bow was behind his beam, he felt he could ignore me as he thought I was now overtaking him. The rules do state that a boat is approaching from behind 22.5 degrees a beam, but I still think that it is only when the boat is going faster than the leading boat which was passing all along. Anyway once I was clear of his stern I moved over to blanket him and kept on sailing. We stayed on the port tack after rounding the mark until the middle of the river and then took the starboard tack to the mark. We were surprised by Barcode again who made it to the windward mark ahead of us. We rounded the mark and jibed to a port broad reach and finished behind Dew Drop Inn and Barcode.

After the race we checked in with the committee boat to see if we had crossed the starting line early. They said we had. But a bottle of rum might undo it. We were crestfallen. I even told coworkers the next day that we had been disqualified, but upon checking the standings we were again third and with no mention of our supposed transgression. Somebody just wanted some rum.

Things we would do differently:
1. Come to starboard tack off the leeward mark and try to make the windward mark on this wind. The wind was clocking northward and was very strong. Seeing Barcode make the mark on his starboard tack. I did not need the extra speed from the middle of the river as it made us overpowered in this strong wind. We could have luffed to make the mark and not waste the tacking to the middle of the river.
2. We are still learning the timing of the start. We were a little early, but it worked out.
3. We should have rigged the mainsail's cunningham in this wind. Remind me when I say "Should we reef", we should at least rig the cunningham. That takes only a foot off the main, but moves the center of effort forward so we can keep course better in the puffs.

I thank the team as they work hard during the race. Now to go to the boat and fix the kicker. Always something on this old boat.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Results are not up, but we did finish tied with Dew Drop Inn. DDI is in our class.

We added a new crew member, Todd. He bought Rick's 23' San Juan. We had 4 crew this evening. The added crew helped on setting the pole, but made the cockpit crowded during mark rounding and coming about. More on that later. I divided up the roles after asking the crew if they had preferences. Rick on the foredeck. Chuck as grinder. Todd as trailer. Myself on the helm. The race was C-2-C-2-C with a northwest wind that averaged 6-8 knots.

Rick used his phone blackberry for timing this evening and we had a much better start. We were no more than 20 seconds behind the horn. But Second Half was to our leeward and kept us from getting in the groove by keeping us luffing. We sailed this way for quite a while until Second Half pulled out in front of us by a half boat length and I could get the boat back into its groove. (Note to self, check rules to see if I had to luff or could have stay on the course in this situation.) We made time on the others and tacked for the concrete wall that marks a great place to tack to starboard for the windward mark, buoy 2. We rounded the mark and went into a port board reach that would lull into a beam reach. We headed directly to the leeward mark, C. After a quarter mile we put up the pole to starboard to widen the gap between the main and head sail. This seemed to help in speed. The wind would gust to broad reach and lull to a beam reach. We decided to stay on port tack after rounding the mark and go out to the middle of the river and take advantage of the midstream current. The wind was starting to die off a bit, but still very nice. Again we tacked to the concrete wall. Tacked again to the mark where we had our mishap.

Rounding the mark, I got the tiller fouled with line and could not turn. We added about 3 boat lengths downstream to the race while I freed the tiller and finally turned. We set the pole as we did the first downwind leg and headed directly for the mark. That's when Dew Drop Inn caught up to us and we finished in a dead heat.

I don't think setting the pole on the same side as the boom bought us anything. I am going to set the pole opposite side as the boom. It was close to the broad reach, but not quite.

The placement of the crew during rounding or other activity when there are 4 crew is important. The foredeck/main sheet trimer needs to be out of the cockpit and standing on the engine cover in the cabin. This allows enough room for the helmsman to cross between the winches and cabin and still gives him access to the mainsheet. The grinder and trailer or at the back of the cockpit. The grinder is at the leeward winch releasing the leeward sheet while the trailer is on the windward sheet at the start of the tack. The call for "Ready to come about" is given. The coming about is not started until the skipper hers everyones "Ready". "Helms alee" and the helmsman puts the helm to leeward. He moves over to the future windward side to be able to see the telltales. The grinder holds the gib sheet long enought to allow the sail to back wind a bit, then releases and guides the line. The trailer hauls in the line. Meanwhile the foredeck/main sheet man makes sure the main is in place. The helmsman is in the best position to lock the traveler. The grinder moves over with the winch and makes the final adjustments. Finally we are on the other tack.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

SYSCO Spring Series Race Number 2, April 30, 2009

This race was started late. Although the wind was invited to attend at 6:30, it decided not to appear until 7:00. Our race started at 7:20. Again we lined up for a starboard tack across the line at the committee boat end. We timed that but after watching the first start, we decided to start on a port tack from the other side of the river, or on the mark side of the starting line.

We had a better idea of the start time this time, but still go too far down stream and down wind from the start. We were about 1 minute 30 seconds late on our start, but everyone else was too. Still would like to get better starts. We could go upstream on the port tack, but were limited on on our distance due to the 150' out of bounds area in front of the marina. We had to tack to starboard. On starboard tack all we could do was cross the river. We went about to half way across then tacked to port. We were planning on only doing one more tack to reach the windward mark, Buoy 14. I estimate we tacked two boat lengths too soon on this tack. This would have given us room to make the mark, but again we tacked to avoid the out of bounds area and were about ½ boat length of making the mark. We came to within 2 feet of the mark and did not touch. We had to do another tack to port in order to gain distance to come about again and head for the leeward mark. But time caught up with us. Poncho came around with the checker finish flag and called the race just as the sun was going down over the west hills at 8:00 PM.

The team did great work coming about. They were getting tired toward the end and were not as snappy as at the beginning.

Things I would do different: Stay closer to starting line when wind is with the current. It is much easier to idle on one spot and then start than continue to run at the line from a distance. I would continue on the port tack across the river more. That would have given us more cushion in avoiding the out of bounds area near the marinas.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009, SYSCO Spring Series, Cruising Class

This was the first race of the SYSCO Spring Series, Team Aventura's first race as my boat, too.

Introducing the team:
Skipper, me
trailer, topping lift, Chuck
foredeck and grinder, Rick

We all arrived early, 4:50 PM. Traffic from Hillsboro was light. I pick up Chuck at the Orenco Station. He was able to get his meeting finished early. He has a 3:00 PM meeting scheduled Thursdays and most meetings are scheduled for an hour and usually fill the time. This getting done early is a good sign.

When we arrived at the boat, I found I had left the running lights on. I hope I did not confuse my fellow boaters. I hope none of them took evasive actions to avoid the docked boat underway. Rick the other team member had already dropped of the sandwiches, but was not at the boat.

After sandwiches and all the excitement of getting underway, we were out on the water by 5:15. Wind was about 6-8 knots. So we wanted to sail. We got the sail cover off and started to haul the main sail, but the main halyard would not budge. We even put it on the winch and still not budge. We disconnect the shackle from the sail and tried snapping the line in and out to free it at the sheave. We decided to go back to the mooring and go up the mast to free the line. I had just turned the boat around and was looking around, contemplating going up the mast when I noticed the main halyard still shackled to the starboard outer shroud. The "Ahah" moment and the palm on the forehead slap. "Hey, guys, you used the topping lift instead of the main halyard." After head shaking and switching the lines, the main went up normally. The rest of the night will go much more easily now that we have made our first mistake of many.

We sail down to the committee boat (CB). By the time we arrived at the CB, they were handing out rosters. We got in line and got it. Our boat was not on the roster. I told the team I had been contacted by SYSCO Race Captain, and I was told I would be able to race. We circled around again, because we were so busy getting the roster, we did not observe the race board to get the course, which turned out to be C-B-14-R-B-C. Nice course.

Next order of business was to get our start lined up. I needed to practice a run at the start and figure out timing. We found a spot by lining up on marks ashore on both sides of the river and I spotted the I-5 bridge tower and the shore. We took a run at the start and timed it at 1:45 minutes. Ok, that's how we will start. I explained the flags on the CB at little, but not nearly enough. The races start in 5 minute intervals with the cruising class starting in the 4th start at 6:40. We had setup to do the standard starboard tack start on the north end of the starting line. We milled around waiting for the race. I assign one crew to watch for boats and the other to do the timing. The first and second races start. They looked like normal starts, except one poor soul had got entangled on the north mark in the first start.

About the start of the second race, I noticed a barge coming down stream. In fact, its timing was going to place it at our line up point of where we practiced. Well, so much for practicing. Then our timer accidently hit a button on the stopwatch and stopped the timing. We had to rely on my gestimate using my wrist watch. We got over in the crowd milling up for the start of our race. The problem with the river is that the current is always down stream. The wind is usually upstream. This night was no exception. So to line up facing down stream in reasonable shape to get to the start without sailing over the starting line before the horn is the problem.

We started OK. We were about 5 boat lengths from the line at the horn. We were in company and started on starboard tack. We headed for the North Channel. We were above Cirrius II, we gained on her by blanketing her wind. We tacked nicely to line up about 7 to 8 boat lengths from B to establish overlap on starboard tack. We were leeward and we could make the mark and claim "mark room". We rounded the mark amongst traffic and threaded our way between boats. We set the pole to port on a starboard tack wing on wing. We headed straight up river to the downwind mark of Buoy 14. We managed to stay in clear air and gain on boats.

Approaching 14, we got Rick up on the foredeck and instructed him to take the pole off the mast and hold it out to get ready to let the sail go. We signaled that and rounded the mark with at least 5 feed to spare. We headed to the Washington side on port tack. Could not make the mark on the next tack and thus headed some more on starboard tack. But when I got to where I wanted to tack, there was a boat two boat lengths astern and two boatlengths to windward. Both of us were on starboard tack, but to get to the mark we had to go to port tack in front of the other boat. We were gaining a bit, but would not be able to tack before the mark. The other boat would have to tack, too to make the mark. Instead of waiting for the other boat to tack, we tacked. The other boat did the right thing, (Thank you other boat) and tacked to avoid collision. He asked if we were going to take our penalty 360. I did not hesitate and said yes. Looked around and we were clear of any boats and promply pushed the pulled the tiller windward. The boat spun on its keel. We did not change the sail set. We at first gained speed when we spun downwind and then rounding up lost speed until the head sail back winded and pulled the bow to port tack. We lost maybe 30 seconds on that maneuver. We were back on our course and ready to tack to the mark. Looking around I discovered the other boat on a port tack also, but heading away from the mark in the wrong and not closing in the mark. We had gained boat lengths on that boat with this maneuver.

We rounded mark R but did not have to change course that much to head to mark B, our next to last mark. That mark is not as clear in because there was less traffic. We set the pole to port again to run to the finish line. We finished sixth or seventh and were the first less than 30' boat across the line. I thanked and bowed to the committe boat. Rang the ships bell. High fives all around. Good job team.

Rethinking the race, the down wind mark at 14 could have been handled better. If be used that like the start, we could have come about on starboard tack and eliminated an additional tack and the fortunate penalty.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I am back and the racing season is too. I participated as crew in the SYSCO Frost Bite Regatta. It was good to be with last years skipper and crew. The regatta never got started. We left the marina about 10:15 and motored until 12:45 when the committee boat did three blasts of their horn and took down the orange and blue flags. The rain was pretty light, but steady. The wind was non-existent.

I met the diver yesterday at 9. He inspected the zinc on the propeller shaft and said it was in good shape so we did not replace it. He then cleaned the bottom of Aventura. She had 3 inches of growth at the waterline on the sunny side of the boat.

I got the bottom cleaned because I have found 3 more team member who have committed to the SYSCO Spring Racing Series. We will be doing the Thursday night cruising class races. We will be practising April 9th and meeting for the first time. Should be very interesting.