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 5, 2015

A-Team Does Better

I missed A-Team's start tonight because I stationed myself on Shoreline Park's cliffs where I could look down on the most likely windward marks. After Dazz rounded D-Mark in steady wind, I packed in my camera and went home to work. There was a lot of empty water in front and behind her, so I reckoned there would be an uneventful parade and undramatic finish ahead.

Turns out that the wind died off completely and the came up (a little) from the east. Dazz threaded her way from 10th up to 3rd (out of a dozen boats)!

I texted the crew that I never had felt so unneeded.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A-Team Sailed Without Me

Took a bad fall recently and so I sent the crew out to race with mixed results. They were far too conservative -- embarrassingly so -- on the start. However they were able to catch four boats.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wyliecats Are Easy to Sail, but Difficult to Sail Well?

Lots of close, close racing this Wednesday, especially with the newest boat in our fleet! 15 knots, steady!

I'm frustrated by my learning curve. Is it that this dog is too old to learn or that he has no patience? Doesn't matter in the longer run, I guess, as long as the crew is having fun.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Chamber-Of-Commerce Day

That's what one sailor called it: clear, warm and with a steady 10-knot breeze. I guess I would have called it a chamber-of-commerce day if it had rained heavily the night before. I haven't seen today's actual results, but I think we finished 10 in this 18-boat pursuit race. Not that anyone much cares: it was that much of a perfect day to be on the water.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Over Early!

I killed our chances tonight by crossing the start line seconds early. It was serious because we were confined in a sandwich of boats on either side of us who started on time; it took painfully long to gain water to return and restart. I could blame certain crew members who were absent and are our flawless time keepers, but the responsibility is all mine.
After the start, I more or less turned the helm over to SP and he recovered much of my lost ground. We finished 6th and corrected out to 8th out 13 boats. We had a good steady 13+ knot breeze!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Putting in the A-Team

Optimal crew produces optimal results: 4th place out of 11 starters. But the pesky yellow Morgan-27 beat us out again!

 SP helmed almost the entire race. Gotta keep the remainder of the crew happy! Think I need to spend almost full time as navigator/tactician. For one thing, I can see more of the race.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Not the Man I Was

The McEachen Trophy Race turned up a beautiful day of steady wind and sun, as well as its novel downwind start and unusual bearings. It's always a chance to mix in a little confusion and it transforms our waters to a new and unfamiliar sailing venue.

Dazzler enjoyed the mix. We had our places in the race shuffled several times in this 6nm course and ended up in the tail end of the first half of the fleet. We're still just beginning to learn how to maximize this Wyliecat-30's speed on all points of sail.

After today, I don't think I will get any closer.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Still No Answers

Tonight I surrendered the helm to SP. He had his way with footing instead of pointing. I called the tactical moves in sublimely light winds,(3-7 knots). I don't think he has the answer. But I let him have 'is way. Because what does it matter? Just want to get the boat sold and to get out of racing. I've forgot 90% of what I once thought I knew about racing a boat.

The boat is in good hands with SP & MV. I'm tempted to let them have the boat next week while I am in surgery. Looks like more extremely light winds.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

We're Still Learning

Summer #1 was a pursuit Race of 21 boats in a 14-knot breeze. Unfortunately, there was a huge gap between start times and we did not see a lot of boats. We were fortified with a major addition in crew and technique. Good quick tacking up the Kelp Straits. After rounding the weather mark we were confronted with our usual duel with the Pesky Yellow boat.

This time we threw a hex on her spinnaker, causing her to wrap it and then to go shrimping with it. This gave us time on the last leg to pass her to leeward and beat her to the finish. However, Daz' sister Wyliecat pulled away from us and grabbed a 3rd. We finished 14th and 10th on elapsed time.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Self Humiliation!

Lousy start and I went down hill from there. It's as if my mind went blank with 90 seconds to go and I reverted to past habits of trying to start on the pin end. I have less flexibility in terms of trimming control than on Das Boot.

So, my game plan is to start in the middle of the line where there's clear air & water. But tonight, that went out the window. Write it down to lack of concentration. This pitiful position forced me to accommodate starboard tackers up course, to take too many tacks, to find myself in the middle of the Kelp sea. 4th at the weather mark, but clueless from there on. Everyone passed us. Finished 3rd from the bottom of a 13-boat fleet!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Lowered Expectations

I switched out my set of expectations. Last year I approached each race with expectations of triumph. This year, due more to age and medical circumstances than to the craft I'm sailing, my expectations are more limited: Finishing.

Tonight, starting in the middle of line worked out well for us. Was a tad late, but not by much. Could be a teeny little more aggressive on timing. Had plenty of time and water to choose from in tacking on to port, into the beach. Once there, against the swim bouys' obstruction, discovered lots of competition. We did well in quick-tacking up the narrow corridor between the kelp and the swimming area. The large forty-footer ahead of us couldn't take the pressure and inadvertently sailed into the swimming area and a DSQ.

Out of dozen boats we were 4th at the weather mark and 4th on elapsed time at the finish. But still managed to lose out to the pesky yellow boat!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day Race

A great Sunday afternoon sail.

It was warm enough for Trophy Wife to come along and take her turn on the helm. That's what made the biggest difference for me!

Steady winds from 10-13 knots. Because of the pursuit race format and its punitive rating for us, Dazz did not get to see many boats throughout. Dr L's Perfect passed us at the weather mark. And the yellow Santa Cruz played cat and mouse with us all day, passing us only on spinnaker runs, losing to us in the end. On elapsed time, we were 8th out 18.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

First Thoughts

Worse than performing under expectancies in a race is not knowing exactly what I did wrong. What were my mistakes?

First thoughts:

I am not as agile and aware as I once was as a skipper. I am aware of that and don't have to command and confidence as I have had as late as a year ago. Therefore, it is not a good idea to start bang-against the starboard pin or even close to it. Too crowded for me to compete for clear air, I think. Next week, down the line where I can get clear air, be on the line at minus 1 second, and have a more strategic angle tacking off to the beach early. I have got to win the first leg better than I did last night. 4th to weather mark is not good enough. I was in a crowd of boats the entire race, rounding the leeward mark inside, but with four other boats abreast.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Good to Get Back on the Horse What Threw Me

After having suffered the embarrassment of a withdrawal from last week's twilight minutes after starting, it was tremendous to be back on the water again. Last week the 22 knots was too much for this old man and he acknowledged, early on, that he wasn't "having fun".

Tonight was different. We started in 14 knots, maybe seconds late. Tight squeeze with the yellow boat to leeward. When he tacked in toward the beach, we followed to get clear air from other boats. Worked out well for us and we rounded the weather mark and the reaching mark in 2nd place; that Ranger-33 was miles ahead. The multi-hull and the C&C 40 caught us at the leeward mark, but oh well! Sail trim was better going to weather, but we could have improved on a easing the mainsail a little more promptly upon rounding the weather mark.

Just a question of shifting gears without shredding fingers!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I Should Just Get out of the Boat's Way and Let Her Sail

Not much can be said for tonight's race. I am a lot weaker this year than last. At the helm, I was fighting for control going to weather. (The night's breeze was almost twice the forcasted strength.) Was almost early at the start. Indecisive after that. Basically, Dazz was left to sail her self around the course. I cluelessly covered the wrong boat on the final reaching leg, which cost us two boats. Nice rounding at the leeward mark, winning back one boat.

My photography was worse than my helsmanship.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Qualified for Twilight Racing!

It was a good race: Dazzler finally qualified for H-Fleet.

The chilly breeze was above my expectations. The presence of the Princess (if that is her name) Cruiser encouraged the Race Committee to assign us a windward-leeward course instead of the boring triangle. That was a big plus because there are more passing lanes. Dazzler did creditably well (finishing 3rd out of a dozen) except that pesky Ranger-33 passed us yet again.

Lots of crew intensity and mark rounding drama. Fun race.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Memorable Tax Day

What was most special about today?
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers, in honor of Jackie Robinson, were not blacked out on local TV? [Check]
  • Dazz got out on the water again and recorded her 2nd qualifying finish for 2015 Wet Wednesdays? [Check][Check]
  • 100 miles to the south and east of us, my son raced his Harbor-20 for the first time in YEARS, placing 1st among 10 starters (elapsed & corrected times) and did so single-handedly? [Check][Check][Check]
Checking out with extreme pride and gratitude.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Light Air Pursuit Race

Just under 4nm. Congestion at the start. Two boats were over early, spoiling Dazz' perfectly timed start. But in 4 knots of wind, both of them effectively took themselves out of the race. Passed a number of boats on the way to the weather mark. On the reaching leg we caught the rest of them except for Dazz's sister Wyliecat with her brand new square top mainsail.

At the turning mark, Wyliecats were 1st & 2nd! On the 3rd leg we were caught by a slew of large boats with spinnakers and had to round the leeward mark on their outside. I haven't seen the posted results yet, but I think we held our position against the boats we love to beat. We won a 7th place glass, but the other Wyliecat took a bullet, maybe.

That hurts!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

One More Time, Maybe....

It was a royal blast to get out on Dazz for the first Wet Wednesday of the year that counts in a series. Except, for us, it didn't count! We have to race two more times before we qualify for a handicap.

Nevertheless, my youngest son came up from Marina Del Ray to sail Dazz for the first time. He, in fact, hogged the helm from start to finish. There was little room for argument: in his hands Dazz crossed the finish line 3rd out our fleet of dozen boats.

Sunny, warm and maybe 14 knots of wind for this 4.5nm course. A good time was had by all aboard as well as family & friends watching from the bar.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Is There Life After Sailing?

I have to take a moment to record and acknowledge an unpleasant development. This moment is about as good as any other.

On the 4th of January, a day after the first race of the new year, I had to be hospitalized. Last week I was again hospitalized and underwent a couple of surgeries. In the middle of this depressing experience, I realized that my time-on-the-water had been terminated by medical exigencies much earlier than I had thought possible. I could not complete a final year campaigning the best boat I ever owned. My disappointment was deep and profound.

My doctors agreed. So, I have placed my bucket boat, the ultimate Laser-for-the-geriatric-set, on the market.

It has been a wonderful life, pursuing performance in Corinthian sailing, the best individual and team sports out there. Where else can deeper friendships be forged among fellow competitors? Where else can you find your level playing field uniquely disheveled, from one day to the next, by the forces of nature? With your wife by your side every day for 45 years?

I never thought I could live without it, apart from it. But I'm going to try.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Hot Rum #2

We were really sad to miss out on this year's second race.

But I was able to stop by after the start long enough to record that all competitors were obeying posted traffic signs.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Celebrating the Past Year of Sailing Together

But it will also be the last year. I barely made it to the party!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

On Getting Caught

This was a pursuit race and we were having fun being pursued until we were caught by every boat that finished!

In class, ninth out of nine. In five knots of wind, what are you going to do?