Monday, July 01, 2013
Friday, June 21, 2013
I was pleasantly surprised last night. My normal crew had to be elsewhere. I could not find a crew. My better half volunteered to crew. Now, Hannah is not what I would call a sailor. She will pull lines. She will allow the boat to heal. You get the drift. She was a trooper last night and came out to crew with me. I thank her profusely.
The second surprise was when Jerry Armstrong and his brother-in-law, Mike, volunteered to crew. They normally race "Trigger", an Ericson 23. I guess they wanted to see what sailing a slightly bigger boat would do. I really appreciate that they did crew with me last night. On the final downwind leg of the race Jerry kept the sails trimmed for top speed. Nice job.
The course was T: Start-1-5-1-3-Finish. The wind built about 6:30 to about 8 knots. It was a flukey wind generally from the northwest. We avoided an early start by doing a 360, but "Hail, Yes!" was too close to do a tight 360. We got a decent start, but was last over the line. At least we did not have to go around for being early. We started on starboard tack, close hauled and made our way to off Tomahawk Bay Marina entrance where we tacked to port. Then it happened. The head sail halyard came loose and the jib got baggy. That's when Jerry jumped into action and was figuring out the lines and line switch when the main sail halyard came loose. The chart track shows the green scrigglely on that tack. We rounded the windward mark last, but not far behind. We were able to pass one boat by the time we got to mark 5. Everyone else was going to the Washington shore then tacking to starboard tack. I wanted nothing to do with the shore and its flukey winds. We tacked mid-channel. We also waited longer to tack to the mark, which allowed us to round the mark and go straight to wing on wing. Jerry sorted out the whisker pole by then and did a very good set. But it was a short set because we were able to turn up and do a very broad reach instead, which gave us better speed. This better speed carried us to the final leeward mark ahead of all the boats except "Estella Del Mar" which for some inexplicable reason took off cross river after the mark. Maybe he was sailing another course like we did the first race of this series. At the mark we went from port beam reach to starboard close hauled to barely make inside the finish mark. We got an unexpected horn when we crossed the finish.
Results are in. We finished second. We were 3 minutes 27 seconds behind "Estrella Del Mar". The horn was just for fun.
Sunday, June 16, 2013
It wasn't. Bill Street kindly came to crew. We motored out. We even raised a sail. We did not anchor choosing to idle at river speed near the committee boat until they called the race.
Saturday, June 08, 2013
There was a race, but we did not sail it. The board called out a "W" course, but we sailed a "WW". My statistician wrote done the "W" correctly. When he wrote down the marks, he wrote the marks for the "WW" course. The "W" course is Start-1(which is buoy 2)-4-Finish. The "WW" course is double that, Start-1 (which is buoy 2)-4-1(which is buoy 2)-4-Finish. Once we realized what we had done we went to the finish and at least we did not get a DNF. Everyone else finished within 45 minutes, we finished in one hour and fifteen minutes. Geeeesh.
We had a decent start. We were about 3rd over the line. Others were early and got themselves very out of shape for the start. We were fourth around the first windward mark. We decided not to put up the pole. We were doing fairly well to begin with, but soon started to loose ground with those who had put up their poles. We put up our pole. But we had lost much ground by then. We were 5 around the leeward mark. We were even behind Trigger. Since we thought we had another windward mark to go to we went way out into the channel on port tack. We turned the corner and headed downstream to the windward mark. We were rounding the mark when we noticed La Dolce Vita furling her sails. We commented that something must have happened to them. Someone must have been hurt or something broke. We put up the pole this time and made good time to the leeward mark. That's when we noticed that there were only the big cruising boats down there. I asked to look at the course sheet again. That's when we realized we had sailed the wrong course. We turned around and headed upwind to the finish line and finished the race. We noticed the race committee yelling at us as we went by the committee boat the second time, but could not understand what they said. They were probably trying to tell us we were doing the wrong course.
We had a new crew member last night, to. What a night to show him the lines. Hope he comes back. He proved to be a valuable fore deck person.
Friday, May 24, 2013
What a wet night. Rain fell continuously throughout the race. Wind was from the south about 4 to 6 knots. There was just enough wind to get around the course. The course was roughly Start-at-R, C, R, C, Finish at R. Really it was the "B" windward/leeward course. Strategy was to start on starboard tack near the committee boat. The tactical ended up parking behind the start line and then going to a starboard tack. This worked well as we were first to start and were not over at the horn.
The wind was flukey. Both laps we tacked too soon and had to tack back up to the windward mark. The track tells it all. The track ends at the second windward mark. We ended up doing a close reach starboard tack back to the finish line in almost a straight line from the windward mark. Don't know our finish, but we DNFL. The RC announced our time limit to be somewhere around 20:56. I am not sure about the time, but it was suppose to be 2 hours after the start.
What would we do different next time? We encountered La Dolce Vita on the first windward leg after we had tacked to port. They were on starboard, but we were slightly ahead of them. We ducked behind them which gave up position. A more agressive stance would have been to tack to starboard ahead and slight leeward of them so we could force them to tack. Also, when we duck behind a boat, we should trim the sails for speed and use that to our advantage, rather than just falling off and coming back up to close hauled.
Another wonder is if instead of heading upstream in the light air, we headed downstream. Downstream toward the I-5 bridge usually has more wind than in the broad stretch of the river where the race was held. We were watching the water surface for wind, but did not see any more pronounced tells toward the bridge. There are many if-only's in racing.
The results are in. We are still in first for the series. We placed third Thursday.
Upon review of our course, I noticed we followed the same track back to the windward mark after tacking to port. Even thought we traveled much further up river. I stated to the crew that I wanted to go up further before we tacked. I felt we would not have to endure the low winds at the windward mark as much if we came up to the mark on port tack.
Monday, May 13, 2013
Here we are leading the pack. After a great start, we tacked to port only to realize the mark was attainable on the starboard tack. So we tacked back. Dumb move. We lost two boat lengths on Estrella Del Mar. But when we got to the location of the mark, we could not find it. The race was the "W" course, S-1-4-1-4-F. So by unanimous decree, we headed to Buoy 2. Where everyone was anchored. We joined the flotilla, but we were at the lead, at least. After about 20 minutes enjoying the respete Poncho came by with the "N" flag, abandoning the race. This will be the throw-away race.
Just Bill Street and myself. Nice wind. Sailed almost to Lemon Island. It was a relaxed evening. One of those evenings that make sailing worth all the troubles.
No man overboard exercise.
There is a lesson every time we go out. This time it was Bill's turn to learn how to ease the jib sheet when it is on the winch. Place a hand around one side of the winch on the line. Take the end and let the sheet out with control. This way he was able to let the sheet out a inch. Sometimes that's all it takes to get the sail trimed properly.
I had another lesson in docking. Only had to take it twice. Bill was able to jump off the first time. But I ended up reversing and starting over. We finally got her docked, but it sure was not as good as the first time this season.
No tracks. Just relaxation.
Saturday, May 04, 2013
Another exciting race on the Columbia was held May 2, 2013. Seven boats started. One started too soon, us. I had one Bill counting down time. Another Bill telling me we were too soon, and a Dave I don't quite remember what he was saying. Anyway were were about 5 seconds too soon and had to go around the committee boat to start. Our first attempt was on startboard tack about the middle of the starting line. The fastest way to get back behind the line was to go around the committee boat and start on port tack. The track is below.
Observe the loop around the committee boat. The course was B-2-C-2-C-B. The start line also served as the finish line. Notice the stalling before the start line. We knew we were a little early, but obviously we did not stall enough. This is where the skipper should have done a 360 instead of just stalling. We started in last place. We port tacked close hauled to the center of the channel, then tacked to starboard. We rounded the windward mark and went to port broad reach. Then we put up the whisker pole for wing on wing. It took us a while to pick up speed. My intent was to past the finish line on the Oregon side. Both to avoid the channel current and for better wind. Thats when the track stopped. I must figure out a better way to get our tracks.
We passed only one boat during race, the Ericson 23, Trigger. On the downwind leg we noticed at least two of the other boats in our fleet cross the finish line going down wind. The results show that they were DNF, or disqualified, for doing that. The rules state very plainly that the Finish Line is for the finish only and boats are disqualified for crossing it for any other reason. Three boats were disqualified that night for crossing the line.
The second up wind route was back to the Washington side of the channel to take advantage of the current. We turned to starboard tack and sailed to the Tomahawk Bay Marina entrance where we tacked to port to cross the river. We went as close to the Washington side as we could, but did not make the lay line to the mark when we tacked to starboard. We had to do two short tacks to make the mark. We took the same route as earlier to the leeward mark. At the leeward mark we went to port tack. I tacked after crossing astern a Crusing Fleet B boat, which turned out to be too soon. We crossed the finish line on port tack.
The winds that night were strong when we got out there. The crew reefed the main. The wind was slowly dying throughout the race. We shuck the reef out the first down wind leg. We tried to host the main but she was too stubborn to raise running downwind. After the port tack at the leeward mark. We tried to raise the main again. Again she was too stubborn to budge. After we tacked to starboard, tried the main halyard winch and she raised easily. The main sail problem really did not affect the boat speed much due to luffing the main so much to keep from healing too much. I need to rig the jiffy reefing for this season.
One untoward incident happened. We failed in our man overboard exercise. My GNU hat blew into the river as any unsecured hat would in a blow. I yelled man-over-board. The crew looked at me in a daze. They looked around and saw that everyone we left the pier with was still on board. I explained that my hat blew off and there it was in the river. Since this was well before the race, this would give us a very excellent means to test our man-over-board skills. I turned the boat around and luffed up to where I thought the hat was. No one thought to get the boat hook. So even if I was close we could not have picked up the hat. Looking back on the incident, I realize I failed to assign someone to watch the hat. I failed to assign someone to get the boat hook. I just failed to lead. As skipper, I am thouroughly shagrined.
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
The first race of the series was short. Start, Mark 1, Mark 3, Finish. It took us 20 minutes and 16 seconds. However, we were about 3 boat lengths in front of the second place boat at the finish. The wind was averaging 8 knots out of the northwest. The starting line was at Charlie. Mark 1 was about where the Tomahawk mark would be, but out further in the river at midstream. Mark 3 was roughly at Baker mark.
Our start was about 30 seconds after the horn. We were about 4th or 5th place in the fleet. We started on starboard tack in the middle of the start line. We did not want anything to do with barging boats or being luffed up over the start line. We managed to round the mark in about 4th place. The fleet decided to run the rhumb line. We decided to go around the finish line. We headed over to the Oregon side of the river and was able to maintain a port broad reach, keeping the head sail powering. When we went around the finish mark we trimmed to almost a beam reach. The fleet was converging on the leeward mark. We were slightly ahead of Suku, the second place boat. Due to our angle to the wind on beam reach Suku made sure we gave him mark room by hailing us. I said sure, but mumbled that we were not going to need to. We being on beam reach and Suku on broad reach, we pulled nicely ahead and rounded the mark only to come up against the majority of the fleet approaching the mark. We luffed slightly to get around Estrella Del Mar who was directly in front of us. Then we fell off to starboard close hauled tack and zoomed to the finish.
The crew performed flawlessly. I am proud of them. Grinders were Bill Street and David Wright. The mainsheet controller and, if needed the foredeck crew, Bill Ormond.
I tried to get a track of the race. I seem to always try. I failed. I did get a track up to the start of the race.
The track ends one second before the start of our race. The last red line of the track is the dying glitch of the GPS.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
The day, March 23, 2013, was a beautiful day. The sun shown. The clouds parted, but the wind did not show up. It did for a while between 1:00 and 2:00 PM. It was enough to start some races but not enough to finish the cruising and another fleet races. We managed to stay close to the race committee boat for most of the starting sequences. The wind was very light and was just enough to stay out of the 150 foot exclusion zone at the starting line.
With the wind so light, we figured to keep close to the committee boat. Our course was R, the starting line, C, 14, B, R, the finish line. It seemed like a long course for the wind that was available at the time, but, hey, it should be fun. We managed to be the first over the start line and headed straight for the mark. We were crabbing all the way. We never made it to the mark. Two boats started from the finish line mark, which was 20 boat lengths upstream, and they made it to the mark only to stall. We watched them as we made it toward the mark, "C". The wind kept getting lighter and lighter until if failed completely. The closest we got to the mark was about 10 boat lengths. We finally anchored abeam another boat and waited for the wind or the mark boat to cancel the race. The mark boat won. The wind did not come up until 4:00 PM when we were back at Rose City Yacht Club eating lasagna and drinking beer.
I tried to get a track of the race. I have everything ready. But I have to change the settings on my netbook so that it does not go to sleep when the keyboard or mouse are inactive.
We shall be practicing a Thursday before the SYSCO Spring Series.
I thank my crew for all the work they did Saturday. Bill Ormand did extra duty with lower and raising the anchor twice during and after the race.
I shall be looking forward to this Spring Series.