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.