Liberty is being free from the things we don't like in order to be slaves of the things we do like.--Ernest Benn

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Gracias a las Tres Lime-A-Ritas!

Sailing together for the first time ever, Las Tres Lime-A-Ritas brought wind, luck and spirit together to produce a triumph of horizon proportions over 20 other boats.

For Dave's Memorial Race, and annual event we are given a 6nm+ race which traverses the marks in our venue in unusual sequence. It is also a pursuit race with a downwind start.

Today, I cancelled my game plan of tacking back up the coast to avoid the adverse current. I just couldn't bring myself to settle on a course away from the second mark. This leg is very deceptive because your GPS tells you you can fetch the H-Mark when you begin the leg on starboard, but you are progressively pushed down by the invisible hand of the current on a higher path. Remaining on the starboard tack, for some reason we found ourselves much higher than the many boats ahead of us. The conclusion is that Das Boot can really point in 16 knots.

By the time it came to tack on to port to fetch H-Mark, there were only two boats. Ahead of us. One we sailed over on the following spinnaker run; the other could not get their spinnaker down following the run.

As Das Boot approached the finish line I was confounded by yet another boat ahead us on the finish line. "How can that be?" I asked aloud? It turned out to be Dave's boat and crew, not competing, but just sailing his course ahead of Dave's Fleet.

Stellar.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Crew's Back!!!!

Ah, how well do things go well with crew!

Down wind start with 14 boats and 15+ knots. Windward-leeward course. Decent start. Flawless sail-handling. Crossed the finish line in 4th. Corrected out to 1st! A fun sail!

 But what did I learn?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

On Keeping Calm and Sailing On

Another perfect start in 18 knots for the last race of the Summer Series of twilights. I am at the top of my game on the starts, generally. From then on, my performance as skipper degenerates. Today it was progressive physical fatigue. Trophy Wife saw it developing. She saved me time and again from missing details.

Miscue from mainsheet cleating led to a momentary heave-to recover trim. That cost us boats. To compensate*, I tried a desperate effort to fetch the weather mark against tide and waves and a shitload of other starboard boats. In the first time in living memory, I not only hit the mark but slid along the wrong side of it. That forced us to re-round it as opposed to merely a penalty turn.

After that, there was no hope except for a relaxing and uneventful final three legs. Nice rollers on the spinnaker reach gave us a top speed of 9 knots. Rookie was back on board to trim the chute and he cried for relief!

Miraculously, we corrected out to 12th out of 16. Try as I might, I cannot completely defeat Das Boot when she has her breeze.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

I Got Nuthin'!

15 or more sailed in eight knots without Das Boot. With only one deck hand, I cancelled. WTF? Went to church (I needed that) and walked the pooch (she needed that) instead. And I better get used to that.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Severely Short-Handed

A perfectly warm, wall-to-wall steady 15-plus knots. And I have 60% of my hard core crew missing. Thank God, Surfer Dude showed up with his dad. And LS. And ex-Mainsheet Trimmer. But I knew they wouldn't be enough. The trouble was, a perfect breeze showed up and promised to be wasted.

WTF was I supposed to do to save the day?

Well, impatience was the first impulse: Rushing around to prepare the boat, taking care of all the details that regular crew see to. In a hurry to turn to wind & hoist in the harbor, I barely missed crashing into an end-tie. Severely shaken, I passively elected to follow the Beneteau across the start line. Curb my impatience by letting him run interference was my rationale. Learning: that guy is too conservative. If you're not on his bow, you're not in the race.

Thereafter, it was passivity at mark roundings. I took discussion of a spinnaker off the table.

At the tailend of a parade around the leeward mark, I tacked off to get some clear air just to see what Das Boot could do for itself, mano a mano, unencumbered by her deficit in crew. After a decent interval, I tacked back on to port for an enjoyable beat, finally, without having to look at sterns that shouldn't even be in my water. I relaxed into my own personal zone of wind, water, hull and sails. Suddenly, Trophy Wife was shouting at me. Some asshole had also broken off and tacked on to starboard. WTF was he doing this far off his "proper" & rational course? What point was he trying to prove? We avoided a T-bone collision with a slam-dunk tack, nailing this idiot in a classic lee-bow position. Later on, I tried to provoke a J-24 into a tacking duel at the end.

Left the docks & harbor in a complete rage: how can such a perfect windy day be allowed to pass so horribly wasted?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Power Outage

14 boats started in 4-5 knots of wind from the south on a course which was ultimately shortened.

We got a staggeringly fine start given the power shortage. Even though we knew it wasn't going anywhere for us in the standings, we had a decent sail.

The only thing I would have done differently was to try the chute on the first leg. Crew suggested the light blue. I guess I didn't think it worth the effort, especially with the traffic snarls with other fleets. Instead, I eventually hyper-extended the jib into a wing-and-wing effort. Worked out. Some.

Any hour on the water beats any day on land. Surely.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Not Much to Say About Tonight's Twilight Race

Another perfect start in another 5.4nm triangular race with 13 other boats in a 13-20 knot breeze. ¾ of Das Boot's crew was aboard. Surfer Dude was missing on account of work and The Kid deserted in favor of another boat needing his 200lbs more than ours. But our team was up to the task.

This race was all about our duel with the C&C. On the first downwind leg, she pulled ahead under spinnaker. Before gybing at the reaching mark, the C&C doused her chute. On the following leg we caught her, but could not pass her to weather or to leeward.

On the final beat, we lost a place to a multi-hull and crossed the finish line in 5th place. Das Boot corrected out to 1st Place by 2 seconds.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

It Certainly Felt Like Complete Victory . . .

Everything went Das Boot's way.

We were presented with a steady 16+ knots of wind blowing from a slightly more northerly direction. Didn't understand initially how significant that would turn out. The hard core of the crew, albeit with two valuable members missing, turned out. Race Committee gave us a 4.68nm triangular course to traverse.

Nailed the start. That was nice for a change. The secret in a good breeze is to approach from below with velocity. Basic. Pushed the feisty Alerion up a bit. Escaped a sandwich between to starboard tackers and early tacked off to port to the beach. Only the Soverel, having tacked at the pin, was there. The breeze was coming out of the corner of the beach which is where we tacked back to port. Sailing very hard on the wind just outside the swim buoys, we were close on the heels of the Soverel.