January 12, 2013
Looking at the following photograph...
Or this one below...
...one could easily and justifiably draw the conclusion that it was just another day at the races in the Shackleton Series. And combining this with the fact that although our calendars are flipped opened to "January" (unless you are a laggard in which case yours might show August 2010) the temperature experienced today was not so Januaryish. Mid to upper 60s? No complaints from the fleet about this nor about the absence of cold points thus far. There was some push to score everyone a wet point at the skipper's meeting - even so the very light sprinkle/drizzle that was present at prep time had exited. Actually, it was more about the humidity and not so much the rain. I know what the non participants are saying now - "Humidity? You guys want an extra point for humidity?!? Judging by those pictures and the conditions described, it sounds like a PERFECT day for sailing! You all are becoming a bunch of wimps!"
Well be that as it may (yes, we have grown to like the milder temperatures) the two image samples from above were the two, count 'em, two, anomalous pictures out of a record number of shots snapped off during a Shackleton race. And just why was there an enormous amount of flash photography taking place in Race 5? (Not that the flashes, if any, were visible.) And what makes these depictions of Race 5 so different? Well about a minute or so before I snapped the startling appearance of blue sky in the spinnaker shot on Luna Teak above, I got the one below ofTrue Blue directly behind me.
I think the event planners for the Race 5 Opening Ceremonies went a little overboard with the fog machines in this one. That stuff kept rolling in and rarely rolled out making spotting our turning buoys (good day to have 6 buoy roundings, huh?), channel markers, and other boats a little more challenging. Fortunately, for the most part (but not always) it was a low level fog and we were able to see nearby sailboats - mostly just the tops. Meanwhile the local bass boat operators seemed to look at the fog as nothing but provocation to put full weight down on their throttles. We could hear them and hear them quite often but generally did not see them (metal flake surprisingly makes for an effective camouflage in reduced visibility situations) until they emerged from the banks maybe 100 feet from us - if we saw them at all. More than once, many of us were bracing for some kind of impact! That is one thing Sir Ernest Shackleton never had to deal with - a bunch of hot-rodders on the water rocketing out of the brume! So score one for the small sailboat fleet from Tennessee!
It must be mentioned that some of the members of fleet had an easier time spotting the markers than others. The captain of said vessel, which will remain nameless (but the boat name rhymes with Brainiac) said he was fortunate he had all the coordinates of the buoys punched into his GPS. GPS coordinates? What is this foreign language being spoken? Never heard of such. And I am sure Sir Ernest never had any blips pop up on some type of chartplotter and I don't think a GPS App was available on his smartphone. Furthermore, although not 100% certain, I think 3 and 4G coverage in the South Pole region was a bit spotty back in those days. Shackleton didn't need any high tech gadgetry! Of course if the fog had been much thicker, the rest of the fleet would have probably run up on some sand bar and had to winter out on it - not unlike The Endurance being stuck in the ice. But we all know what happened to The Endurance so I guess if you have the proper tools, it is probably the prudent thing to put them to use.
Once again, Shack Radio was abuzz with chatter - mostly about the unique conditions of the day. At one point Chuck chimed in, "I have NO idea where the next buoy is." I replied, "stay on course, you are headed right for it." Then again, that was assuming the shark fin sail that was slicing through the clouds to my port side was indeed fromCamille - who knows, it may have been someone else and Chuck may have been headed straight for one of those rock bluffs or something! But we didn't hear any loud crashes or anything and there were no distress calls, so it must have been Camille. Actually, boats were rather identifiable - mainly by their rig or color of sail- whether it be tall, short, fractional, cutter, ketch - whatever, we pretty much knew who was nearby. Or sometimes just by the banter shouted out. We are sure the Maniac crew knew EXACTLY that it was Moriah (iIi) sneaking up on them in the shot below once Captain Dave let loose with his expressive heckling.
For those hopeful of a tack by tack report in this one, I hate to disappoint. Half the time we didn't even know where we were going! Honestly, it wasn't that bad. As mentioned earlier, although it was a thick fog, it would thin out enough at times that you could make out most everyone's position (as well as your own) within the fleet before it would thicken up again. I do know that some of us had difficulty locating Buoys 3 and 4 near Camp Vesperpoint, though. Personally I did not see Buoy 3 until it was about 3 boat lengths away and sailed at least 100 feet downstream of Buoy 4 before it came into view. (So much for blindly guessing the layline.)
A couple of notes regarding this race - the wind was blowing decently at the start even amid the rolling fog. It looked like it would be a good day to complete our course (a downright and blatant plagiarism of last year's Race 8 - sorry, the RC is getting lazy and uncreative as of late). But the wind would not be with us the entire race - well except for one boat, as Tim "We Did Not See Any Wind Less Than 4 Knots" Chambers would later mention. I dare say that at one point many of us were not experiencing anything more than minus 4 knots! So with that, there are no doubts at who won this race and won it rather handily. Congratulations to the Maniac crew!
Other jottings and musings - apparently there WAS enough nylon in the world to fabricate a colorful spinnaker worthy of use on Camille. Chuck had recently located a used one that fit the towering Cheoy Lee rig nicely. For a steal of a price, too - and from a reputable source - and not some sleazy, back alley spinnaker dealer. We try to avoid any shady dealings with those in the sailing underworld. ...It was almost, for the first time ever in Shack history, a complete spinnaker class. But alas, Captain Eric from PDQ³ was single handing today and it is physically impossible to solo with a spinnaker on the SR 21. ...We would also like to congratulate Race 5's second place finisher, True Blue for a nicely sailed race and if I am not mistaken, the only other boat other than Maniac to have 3 spinnaker sets in this one. Again, I could be wrong on that - remember visibility was a bit of an issue today! ...And finishing their first Shackleton race ever (after 3 previous attempts), a shout out to the Knot on Call crew! They came upriver in the fog, raced in the fog, and returned back to home port in the fog.. and darkness. That type of dedication is worthy of an extra point. But unfortunately, those precious points cannot simply be handed out a the RC's will. Anarchy would result. But instead, those paying attention to numbers will notice a PHRF adjustment for the Hunter 340 - honestly, it has nothing to do with their efforts in Race 5 but rather, the prior assigned handicap was an administrative error on my part. Now corrected. ...Thanks to James on Tatiana for providing some nice pictures of the race. Kristen had mentioned something about cooking something down below - you know, to qualify for the Cruising Fleet. But once again, the RC left the Race 5 arena hungry! ...Even though I didn't use them (maybe I am too choosy) thanks also to Lynn onManiac for the pictures she sent. And finally, even though scoring a DNF, it is always more fun to have Moriah IIIout there on the race course to keep us awake and entertained! ...For the rest, enjoy the remaining pictures from Race 5 until we see you in Race 6!
One more thing before getting on to the race results. Bob Rupe, former skipper of Nightwind and now crewmember on Maniac located an informative article on the type of fog we were dealing with in Race 5. You are required to know this information for your final exams!
Advection fog is the fog that is produced when damp air is moved across a surface that is cooler than the air. It is most commonly seen over seas or other bodies of water, but it is possible over snow-covered or frosty land masses, as well. When the temperature of the air is lowered to its dew point, changes start to happen. First, saturation occurs. Then, fog.
In areas where sea air is cooled by the water, advection fog is most common. Consequently, this fog is also called sea fog. Advection fog is usually seen during certain seasons, specifically spring and the first few months of summer. At that time, the surface temperature of the sea water is either at its lowest temperature or recovering from a winter season where it was already at its lowest.
There are plenty of examples of advection fog around the globe. Britain is surrounded by seas, and the sea air almost always approaches the country from the southwest. As a result, advection is quite common in that section of the country. Throughout Britain, there are regional names for the same occurrence. For example, the "fret" is common alongside the Northumbrian coast and the "haar" is seen in the southeaster portion of Scotland.
Some areas seem more advection fog than others. For example, in Newfoundland, it is typical four days out of every ten, particularly in the month of July. This is because there is a cool current called the Labrador Current in the sea that creates fog when warmer air hits it.
Other areas where advection fog is common include the Oya Shio and Kamchatka waters in the Pacific Ocean. In addition, there are areas of higher latitudes where it is found over pack ice and in the open ocean waters, even in the summer months. These areas include Antarctica, the Canadian archipelagos, and sections of the Arctic Ocean.
Costal advection fog is seen when extremely cold water moves parallel to subtropical continents. The Canaries Current near northwestern Africa, the Benguela Current near southwestern Africa, and the Humbolt Current near Chile are among the most well-known cool water currents that work to chill low-level air. Consequently, these areas often have advection fog.
If the wind in the above mentioned areas is less than 30 knots, the fog stays put. Alternatively, if the wind is stronger, the fog lifts. As a result, it forms stratiform clouds.
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RACE 5 RESULTS
|SKIPPER||BOAT||NAME||PHRF||ELAPSED TIME||CORRECTED TIME||POINTS|
|Tim Chambers||J 29||Maniac||105 (S)||2:05:11||1:51:53||8|
|Shawn Douthat||Ranger 33||True Blue||163 (S)||3:33:41||3:13:02||7|
|Eric Almlie||J 24||Luna Teak||168 (S)||3:37:56||3:16:39||6|
|Chuck Alexander||Cheoy Lee 41||Camille||150 (S)||4:11:00||3:52:00||5|
|James Drozdek||Tayana 37||Tatiana||189 (S)||4:28:39||4:04:42||4|
|Eric Davidson||SR 21||PDQ³||173||4:30:00||4:08:05||3|
|Chris Edwards||Hunter 340||Knot on Call||165||4:38:00||4:17:06||2|
|David Barrow||Mariner 36||Moriah III||192 (S)||DNF||DNF||1|
|Tim Chambers||J 29||Maniac||39|
|Eric Almlie||J 24||Luna Teak||30|
|Chris Cyrul||Wavelength 24||Whatta Ride!||22|
|Eric Davidson||SR 21||PDQ³||22|
|Chuck Alexander||Cheoy Lee 41||Camille||19|
|Shawn Douthat||Ranger 33||True Blue||17|
|James Drozdek||Tayana 37||Tatiana||11|
|Ginger Noble||Catalina 22||Mother Ship||6|
|David Barrow||Mariner 36||Moriah III||5|
|Chris Edwards||Hunter 340||Knot on Call||5|
|Andre Rijsdijk||Trintella 33||Dutchess||1|
|Race report written by Eric Almlie. ©Copyright 2013. All rights reserved|