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, November 3, 2010

Saturday School

What did I learn from five hours of 12-15 knots in a Harbor-20 Ocean-20?

Two or three things.

First it looked stupid, but going to weather in those conditions, it pays to have a person sitting behing the helmsman. The bow of the H-20 is so narrow, it lacks the buoyancy one might expect; so it pays to get weight of the 3rd person aft to lift the bow. That person has to be agile enough to step over or duck under the tiller on the tacks. Otherwise, your pointing and/or footing performance is not maximized. I have seen this curious line-up in photos, [click on the photo to the right] but didn't make the connection until a friend rubbed my nose in my own stupidity.

The second lesson is don't be so quick to fly a chute in those conditions. Running DDW, wing and wing might be the right thing to do instead of gybing down wind. On an unfamiliar symetrical course the best idea would have been to weigh the spinnaker option after rounding the weather mark and checking out the course.

Third lesson is endurance: I can make it for five hours in 20 feet of fiberglass, but that's about my limit. I didn't learn that until we were back in our slip: I had to crawl out onto the dock. I'm not exaggerating.

I paid for the above lessons. In each of the three one-design races, the Good Guys beat some boats; but not enough. We finished DFL out of eight boats.

But on Sunday, on my own 'proper' yacht, this ol' man did a lot better in handicapped racing. But that's a small consolation: level racing always trumps the best handicapping system. Always and forever. True consolation would be to get another shot at the O-20's soon!


  1. Looked into sailing lessons around here in Redneck utopia but as expected you really have to know someone to be seriously included in group activities. Yeah, anyone can join the local sailing club but to actually get deep into the group you damn near have to have a relative already in.

  2. Beach, I didn't pay $$$ for my lessons. But I paid in pain, humiliation, and the like. The experience was well worth the tariff. Having flunked Saturday School last weekend, I am looking forward to Sunday School this coming weekend. I am hooked on this boat.

    I will try (again) to email you!