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, August 31, 2011

The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

Shit happens. Bad start. Tried too hard to compensate for my poor position by cutting the corners at the 2nd mark. Clipped a back stay on another boat. Broke my spinnaker boom in half. Good news: no one on either boat was injured and nothing on the other boat was damaged. The latter was able to finish the race and I was able to speak to the skipper afterwards. Bad news is that my self-confidence is shaken to the roots. And ugly will become the task of replacing the boom.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Wind Winneth and Loseth Races

Tonight, it loseth my Wednesday twilight beer can race. The local print press covers our Wednesday competitions and pegged the wind at 2 knots. Except at the end, it wasn't quite that bad. However, there was not much I could think of doing to obtain an edge over the competition. The port end of the line was extremely favored in the extremely light breeze. Even though the risks were high considering our displacement, I elected a daring port tack start. Nothing to lose, experience to gain, I argued. Tempting the fates did not work: we had to duck 3-5 boats, killing our way in four knots of wind. I tried the short cut through the kelp beds and that didn't pay off too much because we weren't heeled enough to burn through it: we didn't catch any of it in our rudder; just the below the surface friction slowed us down. But I was patient, knowing that there was not that much we could do. Still, in the end I was surprised how well we did: boats who can keep up with us in better wind were behind us, almost on the horizon.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Happiness is Not Seeing the Whites of their Eyes - Just the Bows of their Boats

News at Eleven...
For once the shrouded and constrained imagination of our esteemed fleet management lifted enough to allow for a departure from our monotonous triangle courses. We were assigned a windward-leeward course of decent length, on a decent day and with a decently steady wind. I even saw 19 knots once. The DDW leg offered every boat tactical challenges. As I am out of practice, having lost a sense of my own boat's polars, I found myself guessing most of the time. Apparently, I was guessing correctly on my gybes. A friend told me after the race that what works on any boat is to gybe on the angle of apparent wind. That's an idea I plan to test the next time I get another truly DDW course, (probably Christmas a year from now).

The beauty of not having a parade of boats as we have on triangle courses, is you are never sure of what your relative position vis-s-vis other boats are. There's that much separation. Not until you come to the leeward turning mark. That's where I thought we would find a lot of traffic. Mercilessly, there was very little: One boat asked for room, which we readily conceded. After rounding, however, we encountered a starboard tacker approaching the mark at a hot angle. At the helm, Trophywife responded instantly in a seamanlike manner by ducking. The wind was strong enough that we were able to recover quickly drive over the boat we had earlier conceded room. All was well. We were free to take a lot of photos and finished 4th out of 22 boats!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Slo-Motion Sunset

Wind was 2-7 knots, max. Current and chop was stronger and more constant. Great start on port. In the light stuff, we were always passed on the two weather legs and made up for it, somewhat, on the downwind legs. It took us two hours and eight minutes to complete a 2.79nm course. Going to weather on the final leg, foredeck and afterguard argued over overstanding the finish line. Afterguard argued that every time we footed off for more speed, which was as relative as well as marginal, the chop or current tended to slap our bow down too much so that we risked not being able to fetch the lower end of the finish line! We, on the foredeck, were smart enough to let the afterguard have their way: we edged out two boats who did not have our helmswoman's wisdom. They had to tack twice before they finished.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Loaded for Bear with Chips on Both Shoulders

Other cliches may apply. But the wind again defied lower predictions and was steady at 15 knots. I resolved to find a better angle for my first port tack by looking for space in the center of the line. Starting on starboard, I found such a gate and charged. One yacht my size, which I shall not name, was running the line. I forcefully hailed him that I was coming up. I forced him over the line early and with no regrets. From then on, it was a delightful sail. At the weather mark we were 2nd only to a well-sailed Beneteau 40.7. On the first reach we were passed by the Ranger-33's spinnaker work, but he could not carry it on the 2nd reach and was left deep in our wake. Crew work was flawless, blessed as we were by MVP's return from a business trip. Fun time drinking at the club afterwards.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Happiness Is . . .

Having your oldest son sail a twilight race with you.

I was embarrassed that the wind was not cooperative: it diminished from 17 knots at the start to 10. I was disappointed in my own attention to detail at the leeward mark's sail handling. And, I was enraged that a J-105 flagrantly port-tacked us at the finish line. But, other than that, this was a high point in the summer. Definitely!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Vigilance F.C.

This is Vigilance, my Football Club. 

It's one team in a Rotisserie League of nine teams in all. Last night, in a 3 1/2 hour, nine-way conference call, I paid for this club in sweat equity. This was a zero sum game in which I was faced with the task of drafting 15 players from a list comprising some 500+ real-time profession football players from the English Premier League.

My eight adversaries were my four sons, and four of their friends. All were decidedly younger and better informed about the EPL than I. One spoke with a Cockney or Irish accent. (I can't even tell the difference.) All of them had forgotten more than I would ever know about football: that is a good way of putting it.

To top off my agony, my place in the snake was 9th in the first round; yeah I got to be 1st in the 2nd round, but who likes start off any competition assigned in last place?

Nevertheless, this is my team just as much as the Dodgers belong to Frank McCourt. Actually, more so. 

We'll see how it does in the next 38 games. Can't wait until the season starts.

It's started: Click to expand charts!