December 4, 2010
After being denied our rain points last race, mother nature insured that we received them today. Definitely not a total washout by any means but still an ample amount of moisture for us to determine that yes, it was an additional hardship to endure. The other being a decent river current but we don't hand out extra points for that...yet. We have actually experienced much swifter currents (and heavier rainfall for that matter) but we respected the potential of today's forecast (light winds, rain, current) and set out one of those if/then courses. In other words, IF we make it to such and such buoy and the wind is blowing, THEN we sail the long course. IF not, THEN we head to the finish...IF we can make it that far!
Of course, this is all IF we have actual boats out on the water on a rainy December day. Oh, of course we had participants (Sale Creek sailors never disappoint) but were short a couple of regulars asNightwind and Carol Lynn were MIA. Asylum was not present either but the Tanzer 22 generally does not sail every race. And Captain Mike was absent while David filled in as the surrogate skipper, single handing Beatnik. Hmmm... that annual vacation down to the Caribbean that involves a fair portion of our captains and crew hasn't started yet, has it? No, that is not until early January where they will be "missing" Race 5. But as Chuck reminded me, "Eric, we won't be 'missing' anything!" Yeah, fair enough. That in mind, I am trying to figure a way to move future early January races down to the tropics. Once we figure the logistics, look for a tad increase in next year's entry fees.
Well, although conditions were a bit on the dreary side and we were not going to set sail in the Virgin Islands today, we still approached this epoch like any other - with unabated optimism and smiles on our faces (like those seen here onLady Kiki). Good attitude provides for good karma and a nice little breeze was present from the beginning. Although the rain continued after the start and well into our first upwind leg it would taper off and we would actually see the wind build to about 15 knots today. Perfect! Who needs the BVI's when you have this?
Okay, don't answer that last question. I felt a barrage of "SERIOUSLY?" responses headed my way even before I finished typing that last statement. But one thing some of us experienced on the mighty gray waters of The Tennessee River today was a bit of entertainment provided from the decks of Maniac. Alas, it was not caught on camera (hinting that we need more photographers on the course). It was though, perhaps the most interesting spinnaker hoist we have seen in this series. (And that includes all the amusement I have provided over the years.) Either Tim had "Big Red" recut to a somewhat custom shape or the spinnaker halyard was attached to a clew instead of the head of the sail. We are going to vote on the latter as we did not witness a spar of adequate length to pole the chute out efficiently. Recovery was fairly swift but it allowed the remainder of the fleet to get within striking distance.
The wind built nicely on this run up river. Although no death rolls were witnessed, both Maniac and True Blue reported plenty of yawing on their respective watercraft. No such thing on Boat X, although not having a foreguy or twing lines made for a spinnaker that wanted to blast off to the stratosphere. Since my crew mate Scott had both hands full and I had one free, I simply(?) kept the weight of my free hand on the poled sheet, limiting the spinnaker's tendencies to go skyward. A nice advantage of the compact size of a J24 chute! Grabbing the handheld I hailed, " the wind is up! We are headed to Buoy 5!" The lack of a reply indicated that either no one received my broadcast or it was a no-brainer. (Plus I think Maniac had already passed Buoy 4 and was headed that direction!) Or all boat crews were busy and unable to talk.
As we approached Buoy 5, we were preparing ourselves for a wild upwind ride back. Maniac was first rounding the marker with a takedown that was a bit stronger than their hoist. Boat X was not far behind and made a conservative move, dropping the chute a bit early and allowing for a little time to clean up before turning upwind. Spinnaker was down, genoa was up and in just a matter of seconds we would be rounding the buoy... the wind eased a little but any second we would be rounding.... yep, aaaaannnnyyyy second now. Okay, I was now less thrilled about the choice to go to Buoy 5 as the wind subsided even more and left us sitting just a couple boat lengths from the buoy, making zero headway against the current, and now bobbing in the leftover swells. As we sat there for what seemed an eternity, I thought I heard a cackle from the direction of Maniac but I think they were now too far away! The wind finally did return but was inconsistent as the rest of the fleet struggled to get to Buoy 5. A couple of strange shifts made a rare reverse spinnaker on True Blue - also not caught on film.
Finally we all rounded but once again, there was no catching Maniac for any of us! Boat X would take 2nd today while Shawn and Chuck took 3rd while doing an excellent job taming a football field's worth of spinnaker cloth. The crew on Lady Kiki did a splendid job today and was sailing nicely until the wind completely died for them. But as always, Michelle and company made the most of their wind and sailed to the end and even performed a winch handle overboard maneuver. Fortunately theirs was of the floating variety. Also an excellent job by David single handing on Beatnik. And he smartly kept the spinnaker packed below out of sight. We have been told that soloing with a chute is practically impossible on a J 24 without the benefit of an autopilot. It is quite possible that theory will be tested again in the future... and quite possible it will be even more entertaining than today's spinnaker follies! See everyone next race!
RACE 3 RESULTS
|SKIPPER||BOAT||NAME||PHRF||ELAPSED TIME||CORRECTED TIME||POINTS|
|Tim Chambers||J 29||Maniac||108 (S)||1:31:35||1:20:14||6|
|Eric Almlie||J 24||Boat X||171 (S)||1:46:29||1:28:31||5|
|Shawn Douthat||Ranger 33||True Blue||153 (S)||1:52:44||1:36:40||4|
|Mike Burrus||J 24||Beatnik||186||1:59:45||1:40:13||3|
|Michelle Cash||Ericson 29||Ericson 29||211||3:19:21||2:57:11||2|
|Tim Chambers||J 29||Maniac||21|
|Eric Almlie||J 24||Boat X||18|
|Mike Burrus||J 24||Beatnik||13|
|Shawn Douthat||Ranger 33||True Blue||11|
|James Drozdek||S2 27||Carol Lynn||10|
|Michelle Cash||Ericson 29||Lady Kiki||5|
|Bob Rupe||S2 24||Nightwind||3|
|Mike Miller||Tanzer 22||Asylum||3|
|Race report written by Eric Almlie. ©Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.|