Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A WNR Catch Up

  • I am missing J's eloquent missives from the racing front. I cannot do him justice, but .... we need some more racing chit chat on this blog!!! Apologies but this is decidedly from the Laughing Gull Perspective.

    Check out the coverage on t2p.tv (http://www.t2p.tv/guide/wns10s2.php) you need to sign up, but the slow connection is free. They also have a good series - "Upside down is slow" which is most amusing.

    Starting with the most recent one first as that was most interesting from our perspective...


    We were a little bit off on this race until the very end. We started a little behind the gun. We arrived at the upwind mark kind of with the pack, and then tacked over onto the South side of the course from this point on we were about 200 yards too far south. Heading int the right direction, and feeling good as we were to windward of the fleet and sailing a little large and therefore had maximum boat speed. This was great until we passed in front of Calliope on her way back to the harbor, and J (much to his credit and our appreciation) brought to our attention that we were not headed for the right mark. Aaaaack - well who knows what happened. Its not like we have not been around that mark before! So while the whole fleet headed back to the harbor, we hung a hard turn, and headed wing to wing back to the red nun. Do you get the picture - some stupid Alberg approaching the mark from the wrong side and rounding in front of a couple of J105s and other speedy boats - in our defense, we did approach on starboard.

    Anyway after that, we figured we were good and done, and we just kind of put our heads down and sailed. At some point we looked up and saw Tim in Asylum. He tacked in front of us by the Academy wall, and that was the last we saw of him. He got lost in the pack on that side of the harbor. The next time we saw an Alberg was by the finish line, and saw Harry not too far in front of us - whaaaa?! We were very surprised. Somehow J and Tim had become tied up in the mess of boats that is the finish on Wednesday night. We had short tacked up the academy side of the harbor, missing all the faster boats by the chart house. That will be the last time J helps us out! They say the harbor is a whole new race, but this is the first time we have actually come out on top in the harbour.

    One key was that we really hussled on the tacks. By the time we got to the end, the team was beginning to gel, and needed a beer!! Ray and Mike did an awesome job on the job. Mike is a motor boat guy, but ... we will convert him yet.


    I was watching this one on a motor boat - first time I have ever done that, and needless to say, the wind was great - why was I not on the boat?! Ray and Sandy from Viceroy joined us. They were in Annapolis harbor as this was the night before the summer cruise.

    Anyway First comment. Did Lin Gin run aground trying to get to the race on time?? From our perspective both Ray and I thought it looked like she came to a grinding halt out by the tripod marker. It did not seem to matter, even though they must have got to the line late, by half way back to the harbor, it seemed as if LinGin was in the lead. How does that happen?

    Interesting to see the race by spectator boat. We were out by the Bay Bridge when all the big boats turned around. it was a Jibe mark - do you take chute down first? carry it around them mark, and then take it down? T2PTV has some good footage - http://www.t2p.tv/index.php (Free for slow connection, but you need to sign up).

    7/14 - Albergs get a good showing on t2p.tv - (when you see two kids n the foredeck, that is Laughing Gull; Julien is busy hooking up the chute)

    I thought it was going to be another slow one, but the wind picked up nicely. Downwind start. I was chasing Harry thinking I was going to force him up the line to the committee boat, but he got by. I shouted at him to slow down, but you know how that goes. In the meantime, got nasty looks from some PHRF boat that happened to get between me and Harry and clearly could not understand why the leeward boat on Starboard was expecting him to get out of the way. Anyway we chased Harry all the way to the upwind mark, and rounded that with Lin Gin in the lead, Asylum right behind us, and Calliope and Skybird somewhere in the mix. The only registered boat that was not there was Argo, and TC is still nursing an engine back to health. He refuses to take our advice and take the thing out to make a mooring anchor!

    All the boats immediately tacked over onto starboard and headed over towards Back Creek. Seeing as how one can never win following the crowd, we took off for the north shore. This seemed to pay off big time. By the time we needed to do a quick tack to make the nun and the turn into the harbor, we crossed in front of Linn Gin by a boat length or two - technically I think that put us in the lead. However, anytime you tack an Alberg that is 2 + boat lengths that you give up, so Linn Gin rounded the nun and took off into the harbor.

    Coming back towards the red nun was excellent as the Farr 40s were making their way back at the same time. They were on starboard, and we cut right between two of them - close behind one, and just hoping we had enough headway to make it past the second. we tacked right on top of the second. We were close enough to talk, and I warned her I was tacking to cover, but all that got me was a good laugh from the folks on their rail.

    Once we rounded the nun and were headed into the harbor it was clear that this was going to be a spinnaker finish. Was the wind going to hold? Would we be taking the chute down the moment we had it up? We headed upwind a bit to see where things stood, and to put ourselves at a better angle going into the harbor above all the other boats - there is nothing so pitiful as an old A30 getting stalled by all the big boats stealing all the wind - we were going to be upwind of that mess. Harry had the same idea - he was heading even further upwind than us. A few hundred yards past the turn, the chute goes up, and we are headed for the finish line. AYC had called the right race course for the various classes. They had sent the really fast boats on a long course, and the A30s on the short course. We were finishing with the J105, and presumably a few other really fast ones. We were sailing through the anchorage for a while alongside a J105 that had exactly the same color chute - it would have made an interesting shot to get the old and the new together. We were not alongside each other for long.

    Typical downwind finish - EXCEPT we were right behind two big boats (105s) nose to nose for the line, and right behind us were two others fighting it out (I think for third and fourth). The moment the two in front of us crossed the line, they rounded up (so they did not hit the Eastport bridge for those not familiar with how these races end). I was spending all my time trying to get across the line with two big boats dropping chutes and cluttering things up. The moment we were called across the line - hard to port drop chute along side a J105 that had just done the same. Turned my head left, and damn those 105 chutes look big as they are heading for you. You can see this on t2p.tv - it felt closer than it looks there.

    Whew good fun - about time too. Finish order was Linn Gin, Laughing Gull, Second 2 Nunn, SkyBird? and Asylum?