November 17, 2007
All good things come to those who wait...and wait...and wait some more. Have I mentioned at some point recently that our wind conditions have been somewhat less than stellar this fall season? Well, for our races anyway. Seems that on non race days our breezes have been bountiful. Don't get me wrong - Race 2 was good and we were thankful for it. But not thankful in the way that we were saying, "wow, this is the best and most awesome wind EVER!!! Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you." After all, during that race there were some ups and downs. No, it was more like Bill Cosby describing his dad as, "the man who, when growing up, ate dirt... and was THANKFUL for that dirt!" It was what we had. But we sailors can be a bit fastidious, so yeah, it could have been better. Please forgive us if we are still somewhat skeptical. And unpromisingly, the wind prophesies for today had been "downgraded" from yesterday's predictions of 10-15 and 15-20 to a measly 5-10. So how would our luck fare for Race 3?
Despite having concerns we did lay out a 7.1 nautical mile course for today's challenge. And wouldn't you know...the wind was perfect! See, we CAN be pleased! A nice southwesterly breeze was present as we sailed around before the start. Andre caught me basking in the joy of a fine wind in the picture on the left. But soon it was down to business as the countdown to the start began. Well actually the countdown began awhile back - like a minute after we finished the last race. I lobby that we get one of those huge countdown clocks like NASA has for Space Shuttle launches and such. Maybe install it out there on the Sale Creek channel point - wouldn't have to worry about watch synchronization or some one on the race committee being off on the horn blasts (a rarity). Yeah, that would be sweet. Uh, about those $15 series entry fees?
Okay, now where were we? Oh, yes the race start. It was a good one again. David on Alexa had an outstanding start despite being in the somewhat intimidating and unenviable position sandwiched between Maniac and Dutchess. But David's experience as a defense attorney renders him immune to such pressures and he held his position strongly and started the race with conviction! After today's contest while at the dock commending him on his fine start David responded, "honestly I didn't know if that was the start horn or 1 minute horn that blew. I saw everyone headed in the same direction, so that's where I went.!" But in the future, such modesty will not be tolerated. When you nail a start like that or do ANYTHING on the course that merits commendation, whether you planned it or not, we expect you to gloat - even a little. After all, let's not forget we ARE sailors!
Speaking of excellent starts, the J 24, although perhaps not on the most favorable end of the starting line, was in a position that enabled them to do something no one else did, and that was exit the Sale Creek secondary channel on a single tack in the passage to Grasshopper Creek and Buoy 1.This achievement would keep them close to, but not ahead of Tim, who was single handing Maniac. As usual, the J 29 blazed the way as we sailed a FUN and somewhat exhausting upwind course. Everyone's speed was up and this would be the best wind we have seen in a race in quite some time. I say again, yes - we sailors can be pleased!
Andre was single handing Dutchess with that big decksweeper foresail of his. He was doing a great job as always in hot pursuit of those J boats. On the eve of the race we saw James and Kristen taking measurements of their boat at the dock that looked suspiciously like those measurements sail makers request when you are ordering a new sail. Sure enough, it won't be too long before Carol Lynn will be sporting some additional square yardage up front. Not that they needed extra today - their 135% was probably the ticket for today's breeze and they were moving fast enough. However, Chuck and Edge were doing a great job on Freya with the 150% and even though they fell behind the S2 27 in position, they kept close enough to remain within striking distance on the downwind leg.
Meanwhile, the girls in Sassafras were doing a great job also. And on corrected time they were pacing the fleet quite well, concerning many of us. About halfway on the upwind course, the breeze intensified a little and some of our toerails began dipping in the water. Ellen and crew put in a reef which is the prudent thing to do because as the adage goes, "if the thought of reefing occurs to you, then it is time to reef." According to the readings taken by Manaic's amonmen...ammeni...amanima.... those little cups that spin around on top of the mast! (Yes, I know it is called an anemometer, I just have a hard time spitting it out verbally sometimes). Anyway, the max reading he got was 18 knots true wind which was probably something like 30 apparent for him (scoff!). But the heaviest of wind was short lived and it soon subsided to about 10-15 for the most part entering the downwind leg.
Maniac of course lead the way, followed by the J 24 with their spinnaker waving proudly. In reality, though, a spinnaker waving like a flag is NOT a good thing. Actually, I'm really just giving the J 24 crew a hard time because their chute was flying good quite soon after it was hoisted. It certainly has taken me longer at times to tame one of those wild beasts! As we watched them chase Maniac we wondered how they would approach the dog leg we put in the middle of the downwind course, the one that would require a close reach sail from one side of the lake to the other before going back downwind (we can be such stinkers when we draw out these races). It was no surprise that the J 24 did a takedown. But we are positive that had a certain banana colored boat been on the lake with us today, it's skipper would have seen that dogleg as a challenge and that spinnaker would have remained hoisted the whole time, even to the point of flogging! That is actually meant as a compliment to Captain Freye as we are always impressed at how well he can "point" with a spinnaker.
Heading to the finish after the dogleg, the spinnaker remained stowed on board the J 24. It can be debated whether or not a second hoist would have been beneficial. Mike Burrus and crew did an outstanding job today but were not quite able to match Tim on Maniac. They corrected out just a minute and 32 seconds behind Tim, who was, by the way, attired with that lucky hat of his. And we all know that THIS is the reason he won again! Congrats to Tim but Mike Burrus still leads the season series. Dutchess was holding onto 3rd position firmly while Freya, which boasted a little more sail area, was slowly gaining on Carol Lynn. Although lacking the position exchanging excitement from the last race, it would be yet another close finish between the two 27 footers. And throw Dutchess into that mix as well. When the dust had settled Andre still took 3rd close behind Chuck and Edge corrected out just in front of the Drozdeks. I followed shortly after in Hasta La Vista while Alexa overtook Sassafras.
As always, great sailing by the fleet. It was truly a great day...but you knew that already didn't you? It is always a great day because we sailors are always happy with the conditions we sail in! See you at Race 4.
RACE 3 RESULTS
Race report written by Eric Almlie. © Copyright 2007. All rights reserved. Photos by Eric Almlie and Andre Rijsdijk.