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, September 21, 2011

Ending Twilight Series for 2011

Been sailing on every race day without spinnaker. Everyday we go out, I approach sailing with slumping shoulders. I do not even try to martial up a full crew as only a skeleton crew is needed. 

But every day the weather colludes with the boat to produce and exhilarating sail. Same old story: we do remarkably well in super light winds, thanks to the team's efforts, and predictably well in steady winds thanks to boat's and rig's qualities. 

Quandaries of selling the boat with or without spinnaker pole persist. I would like to do a major home remodel, of course. With the proceeds, I could fortify and expand the beach house so that Trophy Wife and I can live here forever with our Doberwoman, even if without a boat for the first time in our lives. But then each day we return to the boat, the beloved vessel speaks up in her own behalf.

Until perhaps today. The wind was 7-10 knots. We had an outstanding start. We were out guessed only by a Merit-25 which miraculously crossed the fleet on port. We rounded the weather mark in fourth and then could only watch as close to a dozen of boats steadily passed us under their spinnakers.

I had forgotten how much I hate looking at transoms.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Charity Regatta on 9/11

I'm too poor to fashion myself as a philanthropist. But I'm not going to hold back from throwing a little scratch in the pot for the opportunity of introducing some land-lubbers into the subtleties and niceties of our Corinthian sport. Not to mention motivating wealthy donors to reach for their own wallets!

The RC managed to keep every crew and guests in two large fleets in respectful silence for 90 seconds during a missing-man fly over.

However, today didn't offer conditions favorable to promoting our sport: our fleet of 22 boats suffered in 2-5 knots of wind. I would ordinarily love those challenging conditions in a 20-ft one-design, but not while I am abusing my 20-year-old cruising boat by making her race!

We were without spinnaker & pole, of course, so I dragged out a ten year old drifter and we raised that after a crowded start.

In those adverse conditions, it's hard to assess how it paid off.

Maybe it was one of those things you do to fight off boredom and passivity.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sans Spinnaker

Back on the horse that threw me. Missing out on Sunday's racing depressed the stuff out of me. Thought the best idea was to get back on the water, even if it meant suffering the slings and arrows of going without a spinnaker. It turned out that we were fairly competitive.

I learned that the safest way for me to start was to follow by S.O.P.: be aggressive, assertive and look for the starting gate on the starboard end of the line, as opposed to any open hole in the center. That's what I am used to: the navigating the edge between pushing other boats up and being the pushee. In this instance, slowly and deliberately, I was able to push three barging boats up. It turned out that the windward boat refused to budge over the line and should have been protested. The boat nearest to me pressed the Beneteau to luff up the windward Ranger 33. There was a lot of hailing. At the start, we bore off into clean air and were immediately able to tack to port unobstructed. We did so just in time to see one of the bargers on port tack T-bone a late starboard starter. There was damage. The real offender was the windward Ranger 33, but the guilty often go free in sailing as well as life.

15 knots with a skeleton crew of four! We were oh... maybe 4th around the weather mark. Wing-and-winging without a spinnaker, we were rolled by two boats on the first reaching leg. But from there on it was clear sailing and we held position with our giant main. Wind veered and died some at the leeward mark. We tacked off away from the beach onto starboard earlier than normal to catch some winds in the 12kt range and then tacked back to cover.

A 5th place glass was waiting us.