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, June 11, 2014

It Certainly Felt Like Complete Victory . . .

Everything went Das Boot's way.

We were presented with a steady 16+ knots of wind blowing from a slightly more northerly direction. Didn't understand initially how significant that would turn out. The hard core of the crew, albeit with two valuable members missing, turned out. Race Committee gave us a 4.68nm triangular course to traverse.

Nailed the start. That was nice for a change. The secret in a good breeze is to approach from below with velocity. Basic. Pushed the feisty Alerion up a bit. Escaped a sandwich between to starboard tackers and early tacked off to port to the beach. Only the Soverel, having tacked at the pin, was there. The breeze was coming out of the corner of the beach which is where we tacked back to port. Sailing very hard on the wind just outside the swim buoys, we were close on the heels of the Soverel.

Suddenly, something snapped on the leader's genoa. Could have been a shackle or the sheet. Whatever, she was forced to drop the sail. We never looked back as we realized that we were going to be 3rd around the weather mark. Not without a wrinkle though. Approaching on port, we could see the Alerion was not going to fetch the mark on starboard. I lee-bowed the C&C in time to see the Alerion, now on port was forced to duck us. It turned out that he miscalculated the speed of the C&C behind us . My crew, heard the screaming and looked back and groaned. I couldn't spare that luxury.

On the first run, it took us an insufferably onerous time to hoist. When the spinnaker was aloft, we relaxed. Somewhat. (I couldn't spare a hand or a thought for my camera so there are no on board photos to be posted.) The faster Beneteau and Hunter were ahead, but their conventional rigs forced them higher from the plumb line. Not so the Ranger who sailed DDW with her masthead spinnaker. She drew a arguable inside overlap as we closed along with the Hunter at the reaching pin. Gybing, I elected not to be part of the sandwich and took the Hunter's stern. After rounding, we found ourselves close to leeward of the Ranger. I administered the appropriate hard luff causing the Ranger's spinnaker to collapse and she didn't threaten us further.

The unusual direction of the breeze made the second spinnaker leg more closer to a reach than a run. That was going to cost the leading Beneteau and Hunter a good deal of corrected time as they couldn't sail as high as Das Boot. But it cost us in other ways. Surfer Dude is our first string spinnaker trimmer. Midway through this reach, he screamed back that he couldn't hold it any more. I told him to "Hold on! Help is on its way!" Three guys went forward to rig a cheek block to relieve the load. From then on, it was just a question of getting the chute down at the leeward pin. Which is where the Hunter caught and passed us.

We were the 3rd boat to cross the line. We corrected out to 2nd place and Surfer Dude went up to collect his well-deserved glass with his dad present. The Catalina-38 which corrected out over us, had finished more 5 minutes behind us.


  1. I know you don't use real names in here, but I'm feeling that I have to break those unspoken rules in order to post a ballad that was sung Friday night at a rather large surprise birthday party given for a 75-year old sailor.

    Ballad of Captain Wann

    Captain Wann has been a sailor
    For lo these many years
    And with Judy by his side he's raced a bit
    He's known for skill and bravery
    A man who knows no fears
    And in all this time he's rarely had a hit

    Life on the sloop called Psyché's Song
    When Captain Wann is at the helm what could go wrong
    Brisk Breezes and fair skies, swapping stories, telling lies
    Could be the reason Psyché's Song's crew still gets along

    Captain Wann is a competitor
    Whose strategies are sound
    There are stories of his days being bad
    Like times the winds are with him
    When he hunts Sirocco down
    So makin' dem Bob Marley guys be sad

    He's still racing sharp and feisty
    Though he now be seventy-five
    Wet Wednesdays give an old salt quite a lift
    There's nothing like a close one to make him feel alive
    When he realizes he's blown by Kipp's Gift.

    Life on the sloop Psyché's Song
    When Captain Wann is at the helm - what could go wrong
    Could a cold Corona Gold and plenty in the hold
    Could be the reason Captain Wann keeps goin' strong

  2. I don't read back enough in these pages. I just noticed that back on the 4th of June, the guys in the Ranger pulled the same move on Das Boot and at the same mark, as we pulled on them in this race. I wish I'd remembered that when I was in the bar afterwards. Well, maybe it's better that I didn't...?