February 6, 2016
BLOOD ON THE KEEL!
Because underwater, no one can hear a depthfinder alarm scream!
Above the water, however, it is another story. And that not only pertains to screeching depthfinder alarms but also to the yawps that emanate after a thud or scraping sound is heard when one plants their keel into the river bottom. Score Race 7 as the goriest Shackleton race on record to date. A mere 2.2 mile course was developed unilaterally (like we had reached a peace agreement or something) between the Race Committee and the Race 7 Captains. However, it really isn't that difficult to come to a consensus when there are only 3 skippers, one of which is representing the RC. In spite of the little-to-no wind predicted to battle yet another swift river current, this time we all agreed to defy the odds and sail a short distance upstream. Hey, we got lucky with similar conditions predicted for Race 3, so why not attempt this? Hindsight always being what it us (boy, we race course designers fall back on that statement a little too much, don't we?) we probably should have gone back to one of those "fuhgeddaboudit, let's just drift downstream" things. Further hindsight (hind hindsight?) also dictated that we should have started sooner because upon arrival in the channel about 20 minutes or so prior to the start, there was a nice breeze blowing - 15 apparent was the reading on Maniac at one point. But as happens from time to time, the closer Race Thirty approached, the more the wind began to depart.
There was a little something to work with at first but this northeasterly zephyr was only beginning to present itself in spurts, and only over the dreaded Sale Creek Shoals that have been eating up and devouring watercraft since the dawn of boating. During today's skipper's meeting we had jokingly discussed an idea of instead of having a race in which we are required to pass all buoys on the channel side (like we sometimes do), we needed to have one in which we pass all buoys on the NON channel side. The way the wind and current were working today (Some wind and some current over the shoals - outside the channel; NO wind and a fair amount more current in the channel) that crazy idea was actually becoming reality.
The good news for today was that the lake level was up, otherwise there would have been zero chance we could have even thought about sailing over the shoals. The bad news was that although the lake level was up, it wasn't really...up. Not to summer pool anyway, a couple feet shy of it in fact. This made it ugly and although the total count isn't official, I do believe their were close to a dozen groundings today. I personally accounted for half of these and tied the OFFICIAL all-time Shackleton record of 6 in one race. That said, I consider ANY contact with the bottom a grounding, whether one gets stuck or not, so there were only ("only"...hah!) three of these for me. Did I mention it was ugly out there today? Regarding the groundings and the race in general: In the immortal words of Forrest Gump, "that's all I have to say about that."
Well, except for a great job done by the Luna Teak crew today. They kept their contact with the bottom of the lake to a minimum and maximized their speed in a drifter. Great job! See you all at Race 8!
RACE 7 RESULTS
Race report written by Eric Almlie. ©Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.