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 30, 2011

News Item: In America You Can Do Your Damnest to Kill a Sitting President and...

if you fail, no matter how many people you wound and maim,
you can get time off for good behavior.....

Monday, November 28, 2011

Keeping Tabs

Robin Kirkcaldie and Stephanie Mortensen

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Wanted: Mainsheet Trimmer!

Today Mother Nature and the Race Committee combined to offer us a 3.5 mile course 13-18 knots of wind on a sparkling warm day. We were short-handed. (I would have emailed Baydog return trip tickets, but it was the wrong season: this time of year he's hard-wired into the New York Giants!) Short of hands, we finished as the top boat in the 2nd half of the 14-boat fleet. But it was a fun sail and party afterwards. Thing of it was, being another stupid triangular course, I can't think of anything I might have learned today. The one accomplishment is that the spinnaker is finally dry from last weekend! There aren't any action photos, because we were shorthanded. (Did I mention we were short-handed?) These shots were taken during the post-race party.

I finally got around to this month's Latitude 38, in response to Mikey's query a couple of posts back. There's a great shot of about 8 or 9 Wyliecats racing DDW. That's the high point of this month's issue for me. But I did get a kick out of the article Lee Helm's about PHRF. The discussion at each mark of the time deltas between boats epitomizes PHRF racing for me. I remember that group number-crunching going on whenever I've been crewing on PHRF boats.

I repeat my mantra: 

  • One-design racing is yacht racing in its purest form; everything else (all handicap formulas, algorithm, ratings, etc.) is equally fraudulent. 
  • If all of us are to settle for racing what variant boats we end up owning, the least (or the best) we can do is to arrange for pursuit races.

Then the fraudulent ratings schedule the starts for each boat as opposed to scoring their finishes. That done, for the rest of the time on the water we can all concentrate on sail trim, course and boat handling, boat for boat, like we would in one design. No more holding hand calculators at mark roundings to gauge deltas.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

My Fellow Americans, Happy Thanksgiving!

John F. Kennedy on Thanksgiving:
It is fitting that we observe this year our own day of Thanksgiving. It is fitting that we give our thanks for the safety of our land, for the fertility of our harvests, for the strength of our liberties, for the health of our people. We do so in no spirit of self-righteousness. We recognize that we are the beneficiaries of the toil and devotion of our fathers and that we can pass their legacy on to our children only by equal toil and equal devotion. We recognize too that we live in a world of peril and change - and in so uncertain a time we are all the more grateful for the indestructible gifts of hope and love, which sustain us in adversity and inspire us to labor unceasingly for a more perfect community within this nation and around the earth.
PROCLAMATION 3505 (November 7, 1962)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Yacht Racing Is Always a 3-Way Contest

The forecast was hopeful: rain on Saturday and clearing with 20+ knots on Sunday. Optimal conditions for us for a 12-mile race. But it turned out the storm was late and the rain came Sunday. It's my experience that it dudn't blow much while it's raining. But we have a rule: never call it off until you're on the boat.

Once I was on-board, it looked so cold & rainy Sunday I would have called it off. That's how much the fire has gone out of me. But it was my misfortune that my Laser-38 was in 1st place in the series and we just felt we had to man-up and have a go at it.

Turned out that it was a 3-12 knot breeze in a chop, not our conditions at all. Tailor-made for the Beneteau 40.7 who was carrying a better throw-out than we were. We suffered, but the team was stronger for the experience.

I made a disastrous decision of keeping up the spinnaker too long: when I saw others take theirs down I just had a strong dose of exceptionalism and believed my Laser 38 could carry hers. I wanted to save the crew from the task of dousing it and re-hoisting after we rounded the final mark. Stupid. I always forget: they are young and I am old.

We finished in 7th place and 2nd in the series. At my request, a friend checked the elapsed times and figured if we had finished in front of Merit 25 which blew past us during my aberration, we would have still corrected out behind the Beneteau. Don't ask me if he's still would have been a friend had his calculations led to a different conclusion!) So, my stubborn obstinacy was just a inconsequential gamble of a sailor in desperate circumstances.

Of course, Monday dawned the way Sunday should have.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A National Football Championship Comes to Los Angeles

In real football, having a "soft touch" is a really valued asset. Observe this clinical display by British import Robbie Keane and American home-grown Landon Donovan.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

You Can Take a Doberwoman to the Surf but You Can't Make Her Swim.

She actually does swim very well in the flat water of the harbor. Enough, anyways, that I am confident she could manage to save herself in a sea long enough to be hoisted back aboard. But in the surf, she is just an accidental swimmer. My theory is that it is the outgoing under-tow that creeps her out.

My Doberman who preceded her, could beat Labradors through the surf to his tennis ball, nine times out of ten. But then Red October was an Alpha Dog. Ballou is just a Beta Dog. But she's still cool.

Pretty woman. We rescued her and she rescued us right back.We are inseparable.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

November Race

14 boats started this pursuit race in 19-28 knots. We managed to be 4th to the weather mark but, in fact, we were the 2nd boat to round it successfully. It was that kind of day.

As we approached the reaching mark, a J-109 rapidly overtook us. She was flying the only spinnaker in the fleet today. We managed to secure inside-at-the-mark status.

Given the differential hull speeds involved, I didn't feel like it was anything more than a momentary advantage, and commented that the J was going to be the winner today.
MVP would not agree. He silenced me with,

You can never tell. The fat lady has not yet sung. Don't put your bats away. Stuff can yet happen!
Indeed. In the wake of our flawless gybe, the J-109 spun out. It turned out they couldn't carry their asymmetrical on the 3rd leg's angle to the wind. Of course, I couldn't afford to look back, but my reports were that they had trouble dousing the chute and a lot more trouble threading in their No. 4 blade. Of course, I felt their pain.

By the time we reached the final leg, the J was back on her feet and looked to begin to reeling us in a little; at least enough to give us reason to concentrate things other than keeping our hull under our mainsail. We applied a loose cover, watched our tacking angles and clinched the race by multiple boat lengths.

Very satisfying.

6 Nov Gallery for Friends

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Clipper World Race: Australia-New Zealand

Today sees the Clipper Race fleet start the next leg of the 40,000 miles adventure with the race from Geraldton, Australia to Tauranga, New Zealand.

Race Director, Joff Bailey describes the route:

After a 400 nautical mile upwind leg down the coast of Australia, the teams can start to ease the sheets and head east across the Great Australian Bight. Going south of the rhumb line to get stronger westerly winds may be the fastest option but will add extra miles. The next stage of the race is a dash across the Tasman Sea to the far corner of New Zealand before the final few miles down the east coast to Tauranga.
Dudn't sound like something I would want to do on the real sea. But on the virtual ocean, I would pay to do it!As a matter of fact, I have already paid!

This screen shot was taken 12-Nov 2011 at 0315hrs PST. I have to post this meaningless and fleeting moment just because my leads over Contiguous never last. After shooting this, I immediately gybed on to port, gained nine more boats, and went back to bed. I did not want to watch such a beautiful position erode before my sleepy eyes.

Here's the photo finish. Don't know how the green arrow got in there, but it's pointing at Open Container III, the green hull!

Further comment is diverted to new thread!