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

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Newman . . .

. . . is gone.

Newman's new, undisclosed location
Early in August, Newman joined our crew. He has sailed his last race with us. He has flown out of our paradise and landed into another paradise. He emailed me this picture from his new front porch only this morning, confirming a safe touchdown.

In return email, I reiterated how much we would be missing him, and how much we were hoping this new paradise would work out for him.

After our first rocky race experience with each other, we quickly synched in together. I know I felt more relaxed having his expertise aboard. Das Boot has never been more competitive.

While Newman was on board, I had an experienced skipper with me who could take on mainsheet trim and tactician roles. Not to mention backing me up on helm. He also brought on board his own wind guides and GPS. Experienced with the digital technology of sailing, his second-guessing of my decisions silenced other 2nd-opiners aboard. That's because Newman always had a reason for what he said. And I was gratified to have someone aboard who wanted to win even more than I did.

In a very short time, Newman jelled with Das Boot and everyone aboard. He will be sorely missed.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Lady at the Helm Race

Trophy Wife took the helm from wire-to-wire today. In fact she took over at minus 10 minutes to the start.

I relegated myself to chief beer-drinker, photo-taker and rail-meater. It was hard work, believe me. Keeping my mouth shut? Are you kidding? I wanted to see what the unfettered wisdom and judgment of my team would produce in terms of everything from game plan to tactics and sail-trim.

Okay, okay, I opened my mouth sometimes, but I was only askin', not tellin'!

This was a pursuit race in a steady 12 knots building to 17 with flat seas with the tide moderate and down-coast current about 0.2 knots.

What did I learn? People had radical different approaches to the day's conditions than mine:
  • Das Boot started on starboard close to the starboard pin where I would have selected port tack on the port end.
  • Das Boot went out, tacking up the outside of Kelp Island, where I would have selected the beach route.
  • When Das Boot tacked, sheets were eased until speed was regained. That's not for me in two-digit wind: I like to bang 'er over and bow down until that speed gets back up. (I know I'm in a minority here.)
  • On the last leg, crew believed the closest end of the line was the windward end.
  • One of the reasons old men gravitate toward helming duties as opposed to sail-trim tasks is that they prefer to be assigned to holding on to something stationary with both hands for the duration. I found myself taking refuge in the campanionway., as opposed to either rail where I could at least make myself somewhat useful monitoring tell-tales.
As crew, I botched the spinnaker take-down. Some. Nevertheless, Trophy Wife finished 9th out of 16 boats.
Photo taken from Sirocco (not racing) during the 2nd leg

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Repairs . . . . .

I hate not being able to fix things I am able to break.

Returning after Sunday's race we waited until we reached flat water in the elbow of the harbor before dropping the mainsail. That's S.O.P.

But there was less space & time there because of the wind direction and other returning boats. I was not able to hold my into-the-wind position long enough for the battens to clear the lazy jacks and I jacked-up one batten. Shredded out one Luff-Box. I think that's what it's called. I not only can't fix it myself, I barely can muster the correct nomenclature to describe my problem. My mechanical problems, anyway.

My seamanship problems? Alas, they are somewhat easier to diagnose.

Another problem is that my rigging failure soes not fit neatly into the schedule of my local rigger, who is also having maintenance problems of his own having to do with close friends and family.

So, with a race on this coming Sunday, I don't think I can do what I always prefer to do which is to keep it local. With a two-day delay and working with an out-of-town rigger of very good reputation and helpful attitude, I am hopeful of getting out on the water again Sunday. Not at all certain, but hopeful.

I need to practice my seamanship.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Trophy Wife Helms from Start to Finish

While I just doubled as photographer and rail meat.
For this pursuit race, the Race Committee assigned us a short, 2.41nm windward leeward course on account of the wind showing only 3 knots at start time.

Things didn't look too rosy for Das Boot for the first leg. We drifted across the startline 30 seconds late and eventually found ourselves ensnared in kelp just short of the lay line. At one point we were even dragging a crab pot.

But windward-leeward courses really agree with our self-gybing rig and we caught up with a slew of boats on the 2nd leg. A stiffening breeze helped. Lots of close tactical encounters for TW to deal with, and she handled them very nicely. Ultimately, I figured our start cost us one place at the finish. MB went home with a 8th place glass (out of 18).