Monday, March 26, 2012

Frostbite Regatta, Spring 2012

I asked a few fellows to crew on this race, but only Bill Ormond showed up. We had not actually sailed two handed in a very long time. So this cruise was a learning experience for the both of us.

We left the dock at 1100 hours the first warning was suppose to be at 1200 hours. This was suppose to give us time to practice tacking. It did. Tacking was miserable, but by the end of the day, we were doing better. With a crew of three, I have the luxury of being only concerned with the helm. But with two, I am needed to free the windward sheet and trail the leeward sheet when Bill gets ready for it. Meanwhile I also have to maintain course. This was sort of like juggling and riding a unicycle at the same time. This is a learned experience.

The races were C-A-B-C because of the east wind. At about 8 knots the wind was great. Aventura was a delight in these winds. My first inclination was to short tack up the shallow Oregon side of the river. I discussed this with Bill who seemed willing. We started late being way out of position when our pennant came up. I had not started up-river since last year and did not have a good idea of how long it would take to get to the start line. We tried to start on a starboard tack close to the committee boat, but ended up at the mark and tacked back to port to get over the starting line. The current was doing about 2 knots. The two races we ran seemed very similar and I don't remember which one "Serenity Now" made us come about to avoid contact. We were on starboard. They were on port, but they did not tack until very late. We were just unsure whether they would or not and Bill gave me the warning to tack. Either race, this would not have made any difference on the out comes.

After short tacking for a while on the first race, we both decided to just do the long tacks. We both had not been on the boat in a long time and each coming about was a learning experience. We discovered that the mounting ring for the whiskey/spinnaker poles should not be at Bill's belly button level, because this is where the head sail's sheets cross the mast. The knots at the end of the sheets would catch on this ring and make tacking even more of a maneauver that lost ground.

The first windward mark making we underestimated the current again and had to do two extra tacks to make it around the mark. We missed it by 1/2 a boat length. The second time we gave ourselves much more space to make the mark and did not have to do the last giggle to make the mark.

The second time at the mark one boat tried to call mark room, but she was not overlapped and ended up falling off and trying to go to windward of us. I yelled back to her that she was not overlapped at the 3 boat length zone and thus was not entitled to mark room. Sometimes it pays to know the rules.

Both races we set the whisker pole to the port. They were fast runs due to the current and wind. We rounded the leeward mark just fine and came to a port tack to get back to the finish. Fishing boats are great obstructions. We tacked around a few and had to come up to the finish mark on port tack. On the first race we were not going to make the mark on the final port tack but were very close. I headed up and heard the call or "Over". Never did completely go over the finish line. We fell back and continued on our port tack.

The second race finish was with some other boats. We did have to dodge some anchored fishing boats. There were two other boats finishing with us on starboard tacks. Just at the end to add to the finish, I headed up to cross the line a little earlier than I would have staying on the lay line.

The only regret with this race is sometime during the race my Burgee halyard gave way and I lost my SYSCO burgee and the pulley that was secured to the spreader. Neither of us had seen it go overboard. We would not have gone after it anyway. That's the way with old boats. There is always something.