Friday, May 24, 2013

SYSCO Spring Series Thursday Night Race, May 23, 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

SYSCO Spring Series Race 4, May 24, 2012

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.
Sailing Practice, 5-9-2013

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

2013 SYSCO Spring Series, Thursdays, Race 2, 5-2-2013

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

Race One, SYSCO Spring Thursday Evening Series, 4-25-2013

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.