believes in karma, we must have done some awful things prior to the start of
this year's series. Although with sunshine and warmer than normal
temperatures once again bestowed upon us (no complaints there), it appeared
that soon after the Race 3 horns trumpeted our most vital ingredient
required for a successful race would again be a no show. Or make a very
early exit. The majority of forecasts for today DID call for southeasterly
winds 5-10, mostly near the 10 figure. Some models, I was told by other
participants, had it smashing the 10 mph barrier and working its way into
the low teens. (Ooh, steady now!) With this, by far the most promising
prediction to date this early season, the ever so optimistic Race
Committee drafted a nearly 7 mile course. Naturally, reviews were mixed (as
always) at this morning's congregation ranging from "this looks pretty
good" to "man, I knew I should have bought and wore that t-shirt that read
'I wasn't born with enough middle fingers to let you know how I feel'".
Nevertheless, the RC (which so far this year has been solely me - I think
Andre is waiting for better winds to return) remained steadfast in its
decision to sail, drift, or just plain fantasize about traveling 6.8 miles on the river today. And for
what it is worth, after YEARS of serving as a member of the RC, I have
pretty much stopped listening to what anyone says anymore and am immune to
all comments and criticisms. Of course now that I have said that, there is
no telling what type of abuse I am setting myself up to receive next race.
The Cruising Fleet concept did come up again at the
meeting and throughout today's skirmish - several times over Shack Radio.
Something about shortening course for members of this exclusive fleet. In actuality I
did have a plan in the back of my head for an on-the-fly omission of Buoy 4
just in case the winds did not appear and if it looked like sailing further
upstream would result in an overnight affair. But the Cruising Fleet, or rather
more specifically, Chuck acting as lone spokesman on behalf of the CF, was
not interested in that compromise, but rather lobbied to allow the CF to
simply sail to Buoy 1 and back and have count that as their race. Naturally,
the RC was not receptive to such a radical plan (it is kinda like
negotiating with terrorists) but not because of the logistics of such.
Rather, the RC has still yet to recognize this fleet. For as it was drawn out
in the Race 1 Report, it is necessary for members of this group to bake a
meal during the race AND share samples of it with the RC. So far no one has
been forthcoming with said meals (nor have I actually heard reports of any
One will note that this course DOES include two roundings
of our favorite Grasshopper Creek Nun. Perhaps our visits there today to pay
homage will appease the wind gods and give us fair winds throughout the rest
of the series.
....or perhaps not.
Things were not looking that promising early on. Again
the forecast was for the wind to be out of the southeast - at 5-10. Up to
the start of the race, we were experiencing winds out of the northeast at
about those velocities. Although wind of any sort is welcome at this point,
often times when it is coming out of a different direction than forecast, it
normally results in a dying down process before the predicted wind appears.
This dying down period frequently seems to coincide itself with the start of
our races and has an average duration time of anywhere from 3 to 36 hours. I
DID like Chuck's idea for scheduling races next year - publish our race
dates but have the actual race opposite weekends than those dates we have
listed - seems that every weekend we haven't been racing, the wind has been
blowing plentiful. Perhaps that way we can then somehow fool the wind into showing up for
So as the northeast breeze painfully exited while
we dutifully went through the start procedures, we began our crawl out of the
secondary channel and set our sights across river to Grasshopper Creek. A
good bit of this was captured on the cockpit cam installed on board Knot
Click here for the youtube link to the approximate 13 minute video at
which the 5 minute countdown begins at approximately 2:30 into the film.
But beware if you choose to click on this link - the gripping, white
knuckling, edge of your seat footage is not for the faint of heart.
Those with heart conditions or nervous dispositions may do themselves well
to avoid watching! But then if one does not watch, one will miss the
expertly executed "Cover the Line Technique" that Captain Barrow is famous
for on Moriah - excuse me, that boat with that hieroglyphic name,
iIi. And I actually sounded more serious on film than I really was when
I mentioned to him that he was on the course side of the line when the
starting horn blew. Hmm, I am beginning to see just why he named his boat
such, for people just like me pointing out the obvious!
was an impressive but brief spinnaker run on PDQ³
in which one can catch the hoist of towards the latter part of the
linked video above as well. Impressive because how quickly Eric and
Christine hoisted it and how effective it was in its brief flight. And it
was brief because by about the time we reached the main channel, the
northeasterly wind, or lack thereof, disappeared altogether and began its
shift to the southeast.
And about that time the CF's
idea of only sailing to Buoy 1 and back was starting to sound pretty good.
An even better idea was again captured on the Knot on Call cam.
here to view that short footage. A TV in the cockpit to watch football
on the return trip after the race? Brilliant! Captain Edwards has the
coolest gadgets on board! It would have been equally genius to watch
something during the race, too - at least at this point as there certainly
wasn't much action on the water.
But our optimism and patience was soon rewarded
as a light southerly breeze began to blow and making Buoy 1 was not as
painstaking as it could have been. Nor was the ride downstream to Buoy 2. In
fact the wind began to build a little bit - I mean it wasn't rail in the
water put a reef in type of wind by any stretch, but a decent breeze to push
us along and making for a pleasant sail - albeit a little on the fluky side.
Often times tell tales on my foresail were flying very different at the top
than at the bottom. Maniac and Whatta Ride! lead the
pace, PDQ³ and Luna Teak followed further back, then the rest
of the fleet - Camille, Tatiana, Knot on Call,
and iIi, none of which had chosen to secede and headed to Buoy 2 as
Rounding the windward mark,
spinnakers popped out one by one and it looked like sailing the entire
course was not going to be an issue. Maniac found good wind on the
western shore while Whatta Ride! sailed in that vicinity as well. But
soon and somewhat unexpectedly, the wind began to take a bit of a siesta.
Spinnakers on Luna Teak and PDQ³ were still full for the most
part but frequently on the verge of collapsing when out-sailing our
following wind. Having been quiet for the last hour, the VHF airwaves that
host Shack Radio began to crackle to life - again more discussion on
shortening course. By this time, however, Maniac had already rounded
Buoy 3 and well on their way to number 4. Of course I knew if I responded
with this bit of information in regards to eliminating Buoy 4 the reply
would have been, "So? And this is a problem because...?" No, we were in for
the duration and once again, I remained optimistic that the wind would again
you know - I was right for a change? By about the time Luna Teak and
PDQ³ paid our final respects to The Grasshopper Creek Nun today, the
southeasterlies returned and began to build a little better than previous -
low teens was indeed a correct prophecy and the beat from Buoy 4 to the
finish was perhaps the most fun leg we have seen this season.
it did turn out to be a nice day of sailing - once the wind decided to fill
in for good. A nice spinnaker run on iIi was caught on camera by
James - when Tatiana wasn't busy dodging barges. The crew on
Whatta Ride! did a tremendous job today AND we were most impressed by
Captain Cyrul's donning of the wetsuit early this morning to dive in the
cold dark waters to remove a little slime from the Wavelength's
underside. However, Whatta Ride! was concentrating a little too hard
on Buoy 4 that Buoy 3 must have become an oversight. Oh well - it happens to the
best of us. Well, in reality, I think it has happened to pretty much ALL of
us at one point or another! So their valiant efforts today would result in a DSQ. And although providing us the nice video footage and seeing their
cruising spinnaker make an appearance for the first time during the race,
Knot on Call would once again retire early to head back downstream to
make it back to home port before dark. Just as a thought guys, we CAN find
you a slip to tie up to and spend the night if you would like to stay a bit
longer and finish a race!
It turned out that some food WAS baked in the oven on
board Camille today! Yes, Amy made a batch of brownies that I bet
were going to be delicious. Sadly no one would find out because while they
were cooling on top of the stove, the pan toppled over during one of the
tacks on Camille, throwing the pan face down on the cabin sole.
Honestly I think that is the most tragic event I have written about in the
history of this series! If someone had a trumpet or bugle there is no doubt
we would have heard Taps played across the lake. It was a back and forth duel between
Luna Teak and PDQ³
the entire race. This always makes it fun. The SR would get the upper hand
today, though by a good 4 second margin. Well, that leaves one boat left to
declare the victor of Race 3. With a smaller than normal crew consisting of Tim
and Bob, Maniac did a great job finding the wind today and really did smoke
the rest of the fleet. Congratulations to them for another great job. Stay
tuned for the follies of Race 4 - see you then - same Shack Time, same Shack