January 17, 2010
If this does not restore our reputation as being the hardiest sailors in the Sale
Creek metro area I certainly don't know what would. Just a week after
bowing down to the conditions of Race 5, there was absolutely no way we were
going to let a little bit of rain, fog, ice, and lack of wind spoil our sail
Giving in two weeks in a row? Not in our vocabulary! Although
the Arctic blasts we had been receiving the prior couple of weeks had
finally retreated back up north a few days before Race 6, we were still left
with all this frozen lake water to deal with. Despite the warming trend, the thawing out
process was taking its time. And although there was a clear path in the harbor
by Race Eve, the 2 inch plus thick ice still had a stronghold on the sailboats berthed in their
slips. The exception here were the boats on the outside of A dock that were
freed by the generous swath that Blue Moon cut during a couple recent
tours. It was good for those participants but the rest of us were still frozen
in and rather solidly. Therefore a few ambitious Shackleton participants (James, Mike
Burrus, Mark, and myself) took it
upon ourselves to free the rest of the fleet from the suppressive grip the ice
had on our respective watercraft. With the assistance of turbulence caused by
the prop wash from Carol Lynn and Comfortably Numb, the pure force
of a couple of small aluminum skiffs (horsepower is overrated), and the brandishing of an impressive array
of blunt objects, it wasn't long before the Shackleton fleet and all other boats
were at liberty! And to think all that effort was expended JUST for the
opportunity to drift around in the rain for a couple of hours!
Honestly we were anticipating a little bit of wind for Race 6 and there was
some grumbling (is there ever NOT?) about a mere 3.3 mile journey that would be
today's task. It was the timing of the wind that was uncertain and although it
was certainly possible that the course might be sailed in a very short time
span, it was equally possible that we would be out there awhile getting our
money's worth out of our foulies.
We did initially set an 11:30 start time to allow for the fog to lift, the
rain to stop, and the wind to build - none of which transpired at 11:30. We were
quite prepared to deal with the rain and fog but the lack of any breath of wind
was the biggest issue. So much so that getting any kind of forward momentum going was a
challenge. Therefore we did something we rarely do - especially in a Shackleton
race, and that is we delayed the start until 12:00. Well noon arrived and still
nothing had changed resulting in a second 30 minute delay. At
12:30 those who were desiring time spent out on the water today appeared to be
getting their wish. Because once again we had to further postpone the start.
Those with less expensive foul weather gear were beginning to understand the
concept of "you get what you pay for." However, there was a
glimmer of hope as not only was the rain was beginning to subside, there was a very slight
draft that lead to actual boat movement. This hope led to only a 15 minute delay and
just prior to the 5 minute horn, the wind filled in nicely. At 12:45 we were
Now the fact that our actual races seem to be getting shorter time wise is
not any indication that this will be the norm for future racing out of Sale
Creek. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Although a good sprint is nice
every now and then, we really do prefer those of the marathon variety and always
remain hopeful of seeing that triangular shaped land mass known as Hiwassee
Island on the race course maps in the near future. But for today,
it would turn out that the time spent during all those starting delays would be
longer than the race itself. Now that might not have been the case had the wind
not blown the fog away by the time the fleet reached the Grasshopper Creek buoy.
Even though we could not visibly see the familiar red
nun upon exiting the secondary channel, sailing to it in a brume was certainly
issue as I think every Shackleton sailor through the process of evolution has developed a homing instinct the directs us to
that buoy. Finding our way beyond it, however, that is where we could have run
into trouble. But again, the wind had picked up nicely and visibility on the
river improved greatly.
Yes, Race 6 was practically over right after it started. If you blinked, you
missed Opus Dei and Maniac sail the course. If you blinked
twice, you missed everyone else. And speaking of missing, we are beginning to
have a truancy issue with some of our fleet - MIA were that very same bunch that
were absent for Race 5 - or would have been marked absent since Race 5 was the
race that wasn't. A little bit of jet lag from flying back after several days in
the BVI's perhaps?
The group was indeed back in town but with little sleep coupled with the
poor weather conditions prevailing, we would guess that the motivation for rising
and shining was a tad lacking this a.m. So sadly we were without the services of Moriah and True Blue.
on the Water had Kristin crewing in place of Chuck while Ellen was the
surrogate captain on Athena.
I must say that this was an exciting race once it got underway. There is just
not much to report - this race was too clean - there were no groundings to
entertain, no buoy ramming, and no controversial tactics by anyone.
That said, I guess it really wasn't that exciting after all! It was, however,
a fun sprint and we actually came very close to those two speedy boats that have
been occupying the top two slots as of recent (as opposed to one speedy
boat almost always occupying the top slot.) Of course
when everyone finishes with a corrected time of less than an hour the results
are a little more compact. But it was Beatnik that nearly pulled an upset over Manaic, correcting out just 42 seconds behind. It
would be that other fast boat with all those people on board that would be the
victors of Race 6. Congratulations to Chris Cyrul and the Opus Dei crew.
Excellent race sailed by them and everyone else. Carol Lynn would take
4th while the spinnaker run on Smoke on the Water was just a tad bit too
much for Hasta La Vista to overcome. Bob did another nice job of soloing
on Nightwind and the half crew on board Athena would finish ahead
Anthony on the USS Georgia.
Winter is still in full force around here and the trend of trying conditions
looks to continue for Race 7. Of course that is the way we prefer it now isn't
it? See everyone then!