Thursday, May 14, 2009

WNR Race 3: 5/13/09

The evening of 5/22 brought a gusty southeasterly breeze at about 15 knots (with some puffs higher). Temperatures at WNR start time were in the 70's and the racing conditions just don't get much better than this. Unfortunately (for me), my neuroscience final exam was at 8:30 AM on 5/14 so it was not a good night for me to be out racing sailboats. In anticipation of a night spent studying, I corraled my regular crew into representing the fleet in my absence. However, after a solid day spent studying, I decided that I could afford to take a break for a couple hours and go along. However, I also decided that I would forego the driving responsibilities in the interest of getting my crew ready so that they could participate in future races in my absence. Therefore, I had Mike Meinhold take the helm and all I did was make polite suggestions to everybody from the companionway (well, that's mostly what I did anyway...)

The start was highly boat favored there were at least 2 boats who were caught barging and had to peel off. We were a bit late, but we got a decent start at the boat with clear air and I said to Mike that clean is better than on time. We tacked a bit early for the layline to the cone, but it wound up being fortuitous as we were able to watch Brian Palmer go too far on port until he ran aground at which point I politely suggested we should tack before the same thing happened to us. I was able to get 2 choice photos of Brian trying to unearth himself:
I guess they thought dropping the jib was going to help them get off more quickly?
Note to self: don't sail past the Back Creek channel. It gets mighty shallow in there...

Well fortunately we did succeed in avoiding Brian's fate, but unfortunately we were inside the starboard tack layline. No matter, we proceeded ahead and were close to Harry at the last cross. He did manage to hold us off at the mark, though, and the 2 extra tacks slowed us down as well.

We elected not to use the spinnaker on the way down due to the puffy conditions and the fact that we were making hull speed anyhow. Tim Williams did use his and clearly it worked to his advantage as he managed to pass TC who led at the first two marks to take the bullet. Harry came 3rd, we came 4th and Brian (after extricating his keel from the mud...) came 5th. I will let Tim comment on what he thought was particularly fast getting around the course, since he won the race, he clearly knows better than I do. I am sorry that I didn't get a picture of him broaching after he came around the windward mark. It was time I will not be so slow on the shutter...

All in all, it was an agreeable night on the water, with fresh breezes, agreeable temperatures, and even a little studying squeezed in between. Thanks to my crew for driving and operating the boat so that I could study! And for those of you who are curious, I did manage to pass neuroscience. I did not achieve the 90% that Don C suggested before, but I learned a ton, and I actually really enjoyed the subject...maybe because I got to do some sailing while studying it. Maybe I'll become a neurologist...who knows?

WNR series results are online at:

We will do it all again next week at 1835. Don't be late! (Actually, I will be out of town next week, so y'all will have to enjoy it in my absence...)

What a great crew, huh? Note the barbecue. That is the extra secret sauce on the S/V Calliope program...


  1. J,

    We had trouble at the start putting a reef in the main. It was very painful watching the electronic sands drip through the electronic hourglass as my crew wrestled with rigging. The result was a boat end start that was about 1 minute after the gun. However, we aboard LinGin enjoy a challenge and to your point about better to be in clear air than on time, we found ourselves in very clear air with options abounding.

    We had watched the previous classes and liked the progress of the boats that went left and did so ourselves. We rounded a good bit behind Argo and once we had our kite up, watched them raise and immediately douse theirs. I'm not sure what the issue was, but I definitely think there was a problem--T.C. would have preferred to fly it.

    We didn't pass T.C. under spinnaker, but we caught up and were less than 1 boat length behind at the red nun. We followed closely all the way into the harbor.

    The harbor was VERY puffy, with 20+ degree shifts. We were sometimes making the line without tacking and sometime ridiculously low, looking like we would ram the boats at AYC.

    T.C. bore off a bit during one of the shifts and we held high, backwinding the jib quite a bit. It paid off, though. T.C. put in a hitch to get around the docks and pass in front. Once he tacked back, though, we had slid by, just barely making the docks.

    It was quite a photo finish. Sometimes that trick works, other times we're not so lucky with the shifts.

    All and all a GREAT night of sailing. Too much fun.

  2. It was a great night to be sailing!

    Here's a summary from LinGin's perspective:

    Thanks to some crew foul-ups on my part we were a few seconds too late to the line for Tim to work his usual magic. But two Catalina's politely tacked away early and mostly cleared our air. We stayed on starboard, and saw some lift?, for longer than most which turned out to be plain lucky for us. I think it put us in a position further out in the river so that, when we tacked onto port, we had more room to go right. So much that we tacked back to starboard on what eventually, after a few dozen oscillations, turned out to be the layline for the windward mark. (With the boisterous sailing I was mostly head-down working on trim so I don't really know how everyone else negotiated the beat.)

    At the rounding we went for what might have been an ill-advised gybe set. Ill-advised only in that I didn't have the afterguy set before the hoist and some drama ensued. The good news, in my opinion, is no photos means no evidence. :)

    We ate into a good bit of Argo's lead, surfing at 7kts, on the run when they didn't fly the chute. A conservative douse and rounding at the red nun had us within 3-4 lengths of Argo and slightly to windward. We went into that slightly awkward not-quite-closehauled-trim regime and Tim worked the helm and called trim to stay tight with Argo.

    Entering the harbor, we both came up tight on the wind. It was shifty and puffy hard to keep the sails filled without falling off quite a bit. Tim applied his finger-tip control to the 9000lb. A30. TC, probably due to shifts and boats, sailed a little lower. At the seawall they tacked and crossed us but the down-speed second tack back onto port robbed all the mo they had left. Tim's high wire tight-rope act at the helm just managed to keep us above the seawall and AYC docks to single-tack it to the line, sliding under Argo to take the gun at the last moment!

    It was a great night for a sail.


  3. Hey Glen there is nothing wrong with a little afterguy malfunction. It happens to all of us...

    Wish I could have gotten some pictures though... Next time believe me I will have my finger on the shutter.

    Congrats on the ace.