March 13, 2010
When we last left off, our heroes were desperately ready to set sail in the final Shackleton race of the season. And as these very words are being typed and being spell and grammar checked, those same heroes are getting ready to suit up for the first Shackleton Race of this season. No, we don't prepare ourselves THAT far in advance - it is just that I am six months in arrears for delivering this race report. That has to be some kind of record. But I DID get it online before the next Shackleton Race so technically it is within guidelines! Besides, television shows do this kind of thing all the time. They leave you with some kind of cliff hanger at the end of the season and then you have to wait several months for the conclusion. HEY! Maybe that's how we SHOULD have done the make up race - waited until the next season. Drat! Too late for that now! Well, the wait is over and the rumors that have been floating around all summer long shall be put to rest. Our story concludes...well as soon as I clear out all the red markings within this body of text..
March 13, 2010
It is hard to believe (as I type this at the conclusion of the hottest summer I can remember) that we would even consider having a make up race in The Shackleton Series. I am sure Sir Shackleton (try saying those last 3 words 3 times fast) himself is scoffing at the very idea! But then my memory (for what it is worth) kicks in and reminds me that at it's thickest, there was over 4 inches of ice in some areas around the boats that day. Attempting to break through that for a simple sailboat race would have been asinine. Of course there are some that continue to say this about our winter sailing in general but we have defending ourselves so long that such vilifications fall on deaf ears. Either that or our ears have simply fallen off from frostbite we can no longer hear anything. But the fact that we chose to delay Race 5 for several weeks, don't think for a minute that we were just putting it off in hopes for warmer weather. We HAVE paid our dues this season and today's make up race, although our warmest race since Race 2, was a soggy one. So conditions today were not exactly peachy.
What would today's finale have in store? Well, since catching Maniac would be a mathematical impossibility based on today's head count there would be no drama there. First place for the series was indeed wrapped up before the start as one can see by the smile on Captain Tim's face. Lynn's expression, although surely happy that Maniac would once again savor the spoils of a series victory, seems less thrilled. Probably mostly over the abundance of soon to come spinnaker jibes on a wet foredeck for what now is just a formality of sailing the course. Or instead perhaps wondering, "where in the world are we going to put yet another trophy?"
Opus Dei would have appeared to have a lock on 2nd place for the series as well. Even though Chris Cyrul and the rest of the Olson Boys missed the first two races, they have won every race participated in, and had a 4 point advantage over Carol Lynn and Beatnik and a 6 point advantage over Smoke on the Water and Hasta La Vista. But unfortunately Opus Dei would not be present at this make up race as there was a scheduling conflict with another regatta at PYC, home port of the Olson 30. This was indeed a shame and in the future, there shall be a predetermined date announced at the beginning of the series that will be designated for a make up race, should we ever need another. That being said, I don't think anyone will be losing any sleep knocking Opus Dei out of 2nd Place! Sorry guys.
Two boats best poised for the 2nd place takeover were Carol Lynn and Beatnik and James and Kristen had a stellar start on the former (as did Maniac and Nightwind) while the J24 was a tad tardy to the line. The advantages appeared to be in Carol Lynn's favor at this point until the S2 tried to cut a path through "Andre's Reef" near the Grasshopper Creek Nun. It was the very same shoal that victimized Dutchess in the final match last season and we waited to see if Carol Lynn could spin off. Well, they did spin but take it from someone who has spent some time parked out there in the water, sometimes it feels like all the
spin accomplishes is corkscrewing the keel further into the mud! It was indeed a bitter blow and unfortunately Carol Lynn would not recover, scoring a DNF for the race.
The next two boats positioned for the 2nd place dethroning were Smoke on the Water and Hasta La Vista. But the fact that Smoke's dock lines were still securing the Ranger 23 in its marina slip, odds were not in their favor. Now on Hasta La Vista, I was off to an uncharacteristically decent start at the line and making nice progress on the upwind course. After rounding the Grasshopper Creek Nun and heading downstream I appeared to be the beneficiary of a nice lift, sailing higher than the rest of the nearby fleet. My concentration was broken by some commotion taking place in the cockpit of True Blue on the other side of the channel. You know those guys at the airport that signal the planes into the gates? It sort of looked like that. Arms were being flailed in the direction to where True Blue just sailed past. Furthermore, their gesturing seemed to be for the sole benefit of me. "What in the world could they be pointing at?" I wondered. "Is there some kind of hazard they are trying to point out? And why? I'm nowhere near them and the only thing they are near is that red... buoy...! Aw @#%$*!" I had completely overlooked the infamous Three Hour Nun and had to make a slight detour back, losing precious time and boat positions. Hmmm... the way things were going, Opus Dei might not be relinquishing 2nd Place at the end of this day!
As we tacked down river, there was a nice wind. Along with that though was fairly steady precipitation. Sometimes it was very light sprinkles, sometimes it was heavier. And most of us, depending on our exact course location, experienced a brief pelting of little pellets of ice on the return trip. Upon which I recall looking up to the sky and saying, "Hail? Are you kidding me? HAIL?!?" I am not sure what else could be thrown our way weather wise in this series that we haven't experienced - but I AM positive I heard a loud guffaw echo from above, no doubt that Sir Ernest was enjoying the moment! The hail was very brief for some of us but did last long enough for Athena and Moriah to lightly coat their decks before melting off.
Maniac and Beatnik led on the downwind leg followed by True Blue and Dutchess. The wind had subsided a little and which called for a perfect opportunity to hoist the chute on Hasta La Vista. This was a good move as the San Juan was able to sail past Andre in Dutchess (I am still amazed even 6 months later that he didn't hoist his spinnaker at that point) and then True Blue. Even though Shawn and Chuck were not flying their spinnaker a shadow was soon cast over Hasta La Vista, even in rainy, overcast conditions! Oh, wait, that was the sky darkening for the next little squall (the one responsible for dispensing the aforementioned hail). Actually it was a bit of both as Shawn and Chuck wasted ZERO time in attempting to block my air, and having some success with it. Although it wasn't a spinnaker collapsing type of block, collapsing the chute is probably what I should have done at that point because with those dark clouds came a heavier breeze. And just in time for the upcoming jibes.
Nightwind (seen here earlier in the race) was sailing a little further back but moving along nicely. I inject that here mainly to have reason to insert this nice picture as there were very few pictures taken this race. So here is one. But for the most I was just too busy as was everyone else - no other pictures were supplied. Some have suggested we install an autopilot on the San Juan. After all it would make picture taking and spinnaker flying easier. Autopilot? (scoff) Shackleton didn't have no stinkin' autopilot! But I guess he DID have some one to command, "Yo, buddy! Grab the tiller will ya?" Only that command would probably have an accent that sounded more proper English and less Brooklyn cab driver, wouldn't it? Regardless, an autopilot requires a working 12 volt battery, which the San Juan is lacking. In the meantime this crew thing sounds intriguing. Commands. Orders. Fetch this! Sheet that! Go fix me turkey pot pie! Have I had this sailing solo thing wrong all these years?
Now where was I? Oh yeah, those jibe thingies. Let's just say there were three altogether - one at each buoy rounding. And the experience curve did not come into play here as with each rounding they got progressively worse. The last one around Grasshopper Creek was finally completed and I thought that was the end of my hard labor as the chute could be carried to the finish line. That is until a poorly clipped nab shackle let loose of a sheet. At this point visions of broaching and slipping off a wet foredeck outweighed the desire to rush forward and wrestle with a flailing sheet and giant thrashing piece of cloth. True Blue eased on by the chaos but finally the spinnaker was roped (yes, as in roping a steer as that's what I equate it to), foresail flying, and headed to the finish. There would be no catching Beatnik. Or Maniac - well, you knew that one already. Congrats to Tim and Lynn on another victory - actually, we haven't given them any 'atta boys in several races so this one wasn't isn't your typical, stamped, copied and pasted congratulation (that comes in the next paragraph). GREAT job by EVERYONE today, though. The hail was indeed the topper.
Yes, another season is in the books. And the ink isn't even dry on this page as we are ready to start the next. And congratulations to Maniac for their overall series victory. For them this makes number... bah, I'm tired of counting it! Seriously, as always it was an excellent job by Tim and crew (when he had crew). And Maniac still remains the evil empire within our fleet that we seek to overthrow. And great job by Beatnik to take 2nd Place. A stellar job all year long! And a final trophy for Hasta La Vista which took 3rd. Yes, the San Juan is no longer in our hands and has been sold and moved down river. But that just means new beginnings! Thanks to everyone who participates in this series. It is indeed a blast each and every year and we are thankful for everyone that gets out there with us and plays in the cold. BUT, this upcoming year we are going to have to do one thing. Seriously. When I picked up this last batch of trophies the guy at the shop hesitated before handing them to me, looked me square in the eye and said, "you guys REALLY need to do something about this Maniac!" All right people, let's do it!
RACE 5 RESULTS
|SKIPPER||BOAT||NAME||PHRF||ELAPSED TIME||CORRECTED TIME||POINTS|
|Tim Chambers||J 29||Maniac||108 (S)||1:59:38||1:45:25||10|
|Mike Burrus||J 24||Beatnik||171 (S)||2:21:15||1:58:44||9|
|Eric Almlie||San Juan 24||Hasta La Vista||216 (S)||2:28:03||1:59:36||8|
|Shawn Douthat||Ranger 33||True Blue||168||2:26:47||2:04:39||7|
|Andre Rijsdijk||Trintella 33||Dutchess||191||2:33:40||2:08:31||6|
|Bob Rupe||S2 24||Nightwind||246||3:09:58||2:37:34||5|
|Brandi O'Neal||Seafarer 22||Athena||285||DNF||DNF||2|
|David Barrow||Mariner 36||Moriah||207||DNF||DNF||2|
|James Drozdek||S2 27||Carol Lynn||204||DNF||DNF||2|
FINAL SERIES STANDINGS
|Tim Chambers||J 29||Maniac||84|
|Mike Burrus||J 24||Beatnik||61|
|Eric Almlie||San Juan 24||Hasta La Vista||58|
|Chris Cyrul||Olson 30||Opus Dei||56|
|James Drozdek||S2 27||Carol Lynn||54|
|Mike Edge||Ranger 23||Smoke on the Water||50|
|Shawn Douthat||Ranger 33||True Blue||44|
|Andre Rijsdijk||Trintella 33||Dutchess||34|
|Bob Rupe||S2 24||Nightwind||31|
|Brandi O'Neal||Seafarer 22||Athena||21|
|David Barrow||Mariner 36||Moriah||13|
|Anthony West||Alberg 24||USS Geogria||11|
|Patrick Sweetman||O'Day 25||Stella||3|
|Wyn Walker||Catalina 27||Sirenia||1|
|Race report written by Eric Almlie. ©Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.|