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

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sunset Cruise

It seemed we were on the water for hours and hours tonight. We never saw 7 knots that I can remember. The south-easterly direction of what wind there was, favored a port tack start. I was sorely tempted even though Das Boot is heavier in displacement than most of the fleet. Displacement sometimes gives you an advantage, once you get some momentum up. With 90 seconds to the start, I regretted my temerity: I saw that J-24 setting up to cross the fleet on port.

We actually did pretty well. I'm getting the hang of tacking this 38-ft Laser in 2 knots of wind. But the fleet was slow. Race Committee had picked the nearest weather mark, of course. But the faster fleets starting behind us eventually created enough bumper-to-bumper traffic around K-Mark to rival any crowded start line.

Once around, the six of us aboard experienced a delicious solitude rare for twilight sailing. Instead of sailing amidst four or five boats there were only four or five boats in sight. Plus a small pod of jumping dolphins.

But it was not boring or depressing, as it would have been had we just been drifting. The breeze never dropped completely and we were able to maintain way. I followed parting instructions from Trophy Wife who is still landlocked with her broken wrist:
  • Keep the rudder as straight as possible & only move it slowly.
  • Don't pinch.
  • Exercise patience.
Crew exhibited marvellously in this slo-motion game of team-chess. As soon as we could hoist spinnaker, we even passed some boats!
The sun set when we still had 1½ legs on the course to go. We finished under running lights, 7th out of a fleet of 15 starters. 2nd in our group of boats. Important and well-sailed boats had dropped out.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

One Mistake Will Get You 4th Place

Got this boo-boo out of the way early. Tried a late barge on the starboard pin. I was too early and I was caught short by the Ranger-33. In the 19 knots of wind the spin gybe was quick if not embarrassing. We followed the Ranger inside at the beach, along with the small yellow boat. It paid off. We were fifth around the weather pin, fourth around the reaching pin, and 3rd around the leeward pin. We corrected out to a 4th out of 15 boats.

Crew prepared and executed well. Flawlessly. New roles are emerging. It's gratifying. Time to order shirts!

Going out to the start line tonight, we knew we were going to be confronted with the cruise ship Crown Princess as a complication to navigating our assigned race course.
What we didn't expect was a full-bodied surfacing of a whale (which we named Full Monty) less than two boat lengths away. Took us completely by surprise so there is no photographic evidence. Thank goodness Full Monty moved off-venue before the races and the Crown Princess waited until after the race to leave! Otherwise . . .

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Two or Three Mistakes Will Get You 6th Place

Our new crew is on pace to attain critical mass. The only problem is skipper error.

The old skipper is missing on a few details. Granted, when it's blowing 18-23 knots and several fleets are racing, his eyes should be on steering through traffic. Things happen quickly when the wind is 'fresh'.

In calmer situations, the old skipper will afford himself time to direct that the traveler will be pre-trimmed for the start so Das Boot will not start in de-powered mode. Also, that the grinding in of the mainsheet will commence before rounding the leeward mark.

Not executing these preparations results in painful de-acceleration for Das Boot. Had Trophy Wife been aboard, these sins of omission would not have been committed.

As a result we only beat half of what little of our Fleet that showed tonight. Exciting competition and exhilarating sail, nevertheless!

Sunday, March 30, 2014


Wow! What a day! Breakfast with my grand children.

Followed by 22 knots of wind, (give or take). Followed by 22 boats, (give or take).

Thanks to my priceless crew: That they can wind up this ol' man & keep him going long enough. And fix Das Boot when she needs it.

I have only pride in them. And gratitude.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Skipper's Error

This story is best told in pictures.

This morning, I consulted a weather site.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Spring Training Is Over

Twilight Spring training is over almost as soon as it began this year. Because of Harbor conditions, all we got was tonight's race. We made the most of it.

Trophy Wife is on the 5-week disabled list with a broken wrist. Spinnaker Maestro has been restricted from heavy-lifting. Now he's bowman coach and back-up helmsman. Incredibly critical, because there are only two people in the Western World who understand Das Boot's chute set-up and one of them is owning a competing boat. To replace him, we've brought up a rookie from the minor leagues, J-Man. Based upon his performance tonight, I'm very hopeful that he's staying up with us longer than just for a cup of coffee.

Tonight we had 15 knots to start with. Kelp Island appeared to be erased by recent storms and we were one of only two to discover that. Going into the beach on the weather mark, things looked very hopeful. But there are some fast boats new to our fleet, particularly, a J-100. So Das Boot found her accustomed position, at the tail end of the front half of the fleet. Mistakes were only made on a spinnaker dousing. Skipper error in assigning tasks.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Ides of March Are Behind Us!

Made it out of the harbor today! And we made it back into the harbor at low tide, too! All 14 boats. And, in between, we made it up to Goleta and Back, for our Fleet's longest race (15.31 nm). Beautiful, warm, sunny, shirt sleeve weather. But not enough wind to go around.

How did we do? Perfect start in 14 knots, but the breeze quickly evaporated, as it were. Two key crew members were missing.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dry Wednesday

Self explanatory post.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

2nd Thoughts!

Hey Team,

I normally do not cancel a sail due to weather until we have assembled the team on board and have given ourselves a chance to come to our senses. The reason being that I have learned that the weather is never actually as bad or worse than the forecast. In tomorrow's instance, I expect high seas and winds: perfect weather for Das Boot! But adventure on the high seas is one thing. Adventure in the harbor? Not so much!

I was down there about 90 minutes ago. This You Tube accurately portrays what I saw:

What I think this means is that tomorrow the water in the harbor will not be that deep and that it will resemble a very sandy spinach soup from all of this runoff. I also expect the harbor's channel will be slightly wider than Das Boot's LOA. I am not willing to risk our engine or keel trying to get back and forth to the start line.

So for this reason I am cancelling our Opening Day sail. I hope you receive this notice in time to change your plans!


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Crew Note

Hey Team,
This shot is from the News-Press of ten years ago, this coming Sunday. This was Opening Day, 2004.

Notice there was sufficient wind to get boats up on their edges with bones in their teeth. Notice also, that back then we were launching the spinnaker out of a 'turtle' bag on deck. Don't recall how we did and I can't find records, but our start wasn't too shabby, huh? As I recall, this was a day after rain when the storm was blowing out of our venue.

Hopefully, this Sunday will also offer us a post-rain day. But rain or shine, Opening Days are part-competition and part-party. Since we perform well in both, I hope all of us can meet-up at 1300hrs at the slip to toss lines.