February 28, 2015
I think the integrity of our truth in advertising bar we have set is about to get knocked down a notch. For as you know, the Shackleton Series developed, adopted, and has always embraced the slogan "regardless of conditions" for all these years. Over 100 races in fact with only 2 instances in which we could not or did not race. Add a number 3 to that list. The official announcement to postpone Race 8 was made about 18 hours prior to the skipper's meeting although we had informed many participants throughout the week that after observing the long term forecast, there was a strong chance Race 8 would be delayed. But the e-mail sent out to all captains and most of the crew members clearly stated our reasoning summarized in 3 bullet points:
This actually appeared to be a popular decision and several long standing Shack Club members stated things like "good call" or "wise move" and even "that is the prudent decision." And yes, when Saturday morning did roll around there was indeed a mix that had passed through the overnight hours making travel a bit messy - heck, even the shopping malls delayed opening a couple of hours Saturday morning. If there was ever any truer indication of inclement weather and/or bad roads than a closed mall, I sure haven't seen it. So, with what appeared to be an overwhelming majority in favor of the postponement (not one single "nay" was voiced), it would seem that we have FINALLY come to our senses around here and we can be proud of the conservative stance we took, one which guaranteed (like Shackleton's expedition party) that no one would be lost this day. And with all those crazy, cold, and blustery conditions we have boldly set sail in over the past years added up, perhaps we could now finally rest on our laurels.
There was this that was brought to my attention:
This is one of several photos from a J24 race that took place in Boston Harbor just a week prior to our bail out. You can click on this hyperlink for the entire photo album. No, they didn't sail the entire race through the ice but rather it flowed into part of the course during the race. It was a slushy ice and did not appear of the type posing any mortal threat to gelcoat. Regardless, after scrolling through some those excellent photos, it is seeing something like this where I can relate to a tired old champion boxer having to get into the ring yet again to prove themselves to some young up-and-coming hot shot. It is all about pride and one does not want to hang their head in shame or hear some smarty make a claim that we are not Boston Strong but only Sale Creek Strong. The competitive fire and Shackletonian spirit lives on!
When we DID sail Race 8 on its make up date it was not in exactly the most ideal of weather either. Well, yes the sun WAS shining but that was about the only bright spot. A few days after an eight inch snowfall bombed the Tennessee Valley (I can actually hear Bostonian's rolling their eyes at the mention of a mere 8" of snow) there was still plenty left over for us on race day and since no one opted for the marina's "Deluxe" boat maintenance plan (the one that included all deck snow removal on race days) today's participants were busy sweeping and picking up snow and chunks of ice of their respective boats. Although the snow in the cockpit of Hasta La Vista looked like one could just scoop it out, it was really more solid chunks of ice that had a death grip on the surface. I think most boat owner's manuals recommend against utilizing an ice pick in such situations and since none of the other snow removal tools had an effect on the cockpit snow, we would have to wait for mother nature to slowly clear it off, which made for some difficult footing when having to pull in sheets and other lines in today. Somewhere, Sir Shackleton himself is nodding his head in approval at our valiant efforts today!
But the attendance chart for today showed a lot of absentees. One captain wasn't "feeling well", one wasn't "feeling 'it' "while some others were simply MIA. And even one captain had a boat but no rudder. The aft foil on Luna Teak was indeed another absentee this day. That's actually what happens when you win your first race around here (Luna Teak emerged victorious in Race 7) - we take your rudder away and see how well you do next time without it! Call it a slight handicap adjustment. Unfortunately, the rudder from the J24 was in need of some fiberglass repairs and Captain Chris had scheduled the job in to take place after Race 7 since he was already aware that he would be missing Race 8. That is, if Race 8 had taken place on its originally scheduled day. In the meantime, fiberglass repairs, epoxy work, and painting are not the ideal tasks to do during the cold wintery weather that had moved in like an unwelcome house guest over the past few weeks. So Chris was offering his crewing services today and once again,Hasta La Vista picked up some crew.
Today would be a match race since only two boats braved the elements. Yes it was sunny, but prep time temps today were in the low 20s and we would reward ourselves with a cold point. Perhaps we could lob snowballs at each other and get an extra moisture point for that while we sailed a repeat of the Race 1 course in a light northwesterly (and sometimes northeasterly) breeze that came and went a lot today. For the record the forecast was for light southerly Winds, some even optimistically calling for 5-10. Well the snowball thing did not come into play and no extra points were awarded - not that it would have helped or changed anything in the standings. It wasManiac and Hasta La Vista battling it out in the season's final match. So it comes to this. Man to man, mano a mano, toe to toe, nose to nose, shirt to skins, eggs over medium. Guess it has been a long season since I am now quoting Ernest P. Worrell. And as much as I would like pen an underdog victory David and Goliath style, it was simply not the case today. Maniac would correct out with a 1:31:22 finish time while Hasta La Vista was just a tad bit behind finishing with a corrected time of 2:00:52.
Once again, congratulations to the Maniac crew for another fine season sailed, although we did have a 4 different boats taste victory this season with some very close finish times (just not today). Overall a nice and competitive season that really only saw 2 races that provided cold points - so don't stamp the wimp label on us yet. We will be back again next year. Until then, happy sailing!
|Race report written by Eric Almlie ©Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.|