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.