December 1, 2012
If anyone 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 governments not 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 being baked).
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 a regatta!
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 On Call. 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!
There 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. Click 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 Teakfollowed 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 well.
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 reappear.
And wouldn't 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.
Overall 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 Tatianawasn'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 Channel!
RACE 3 RESULTS
|SKIPPER||BOAT||NAME||PHRF||ELAPSED TIME||CORRECTED TIME||POINTS|
|Tim Chambers||J 29||Maniac||105 (S)||2:28:37||2:16:43||8|
|Eric Davidson||SR 21||PDQ³||158 (S)||3:08:45||2:50:51||7|
|Eric Almlie||J 24||Luna Teak||168 (S)||3:09:57||2:50:55||6|
|Chuck Alexander||Cheoy Lee 41||Camille||165||3:29:22||3:10:40||5|
|James Drozdek||Tayana 37||Tatiana||204||3:55:02||3:31:55||4|
|David Barrow||Mariner 36||iIi||192 (S)||4:15:00||3:53:14||3|
|Chris Cyrul||Wavelength 24||Whatta Ride!||156 (S)||DSQ||DSQ||1|
|Chris Edwards||Hunter 340||Knot on Call||156 (S)||DNF||DNF||1|
|Tim Chambers||J 29||Maniac||26|
|Eric Almlie||J 24||Luna Teak||21|
|Eric Davidson||SR 21||PDQ³||17|
|Chris Cyrul||Wavelength 24||Whatta Ride!||16|
|Chuck Alexander||Cheoy Lee 41||Camille||14|
|James Drozdek||Tayana 37||Tatiana||7|
|Ginger Noble||Catalina 22||Mother Ship||6|
|Shawn Douthat||Ranger 33||True Blue||6|
|David Barrow||Mariner 36||iIi||4|
|Chris Edwards||Hunter 340||Knot on Call||3|
|Race report written by Eric Almlie. ©Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.|