November 15, 2014
With the absence of The Wind in Race 1, I dare say that we have witnessed 20 straight days since that had something better to offer wind wise. Furthermore, all week long leading up to Race 2, I don't believe we ever witnessed a day offering anything less than the 10-15 mph variety - with a few days even offering much more.
The forecast for Race 2? You guessed it - the words that race committees hate to hear more than anything else. And those words are...
"my assigned handicap is what?"
Okay, so it must be the second most hated words...
"their assigned handicap is what?"
"This is another great course you laid out...NOT!"
Okay, so it is obvious that race committees do not like hearing much of any type of words. So let us digress and state that the words that SAILORS hate to hear more than anything else are (let's say them all together now):
"Light and variable!"
While we won't complain too much about not having to sail in the preceding two days of gusty and blustery 20-25 northwesterly stuff in sub 40 degree temps, grey skies, with occasional stinging sleet thrown in for fun, one would think that The Wind would, at the very least, chill (not literally but as in, "Dude! Calm down a little, would you?), hang out, and be a pal for at least another day. But no, The Wind made an abrupt and dramatic exit. Maybe it was all that recent unfriending on Facebook that did it? Honestly, I think that was all Tim's idea.
Well it seems that these days nothing will grab one's attention more than a social media snub. And I am sure once The Wind figured out it had made some enemies, it freaked and went all, "OMG!" Because wouldn't you know, as race-thirty approached The Wind was actually making an appearance! But not so fast. This wasn't an apologetic, lets be BFF's again type of Wind. Since we were expecting some light southeasterly stuff today (one optimistic forecast even said up to 9!) we set a simple 5.8 mile course, starting with a beat downstream and what should have been an easy spinnaker run home. But with a little bit of attitude The Wind tauntingly sneaked in from a northerly direction. And we all know what happens when The Wind is blowing from an opposite direction at the beginning of a race than it supposed to. Yes, that means at some point (generally very soon after the starting horns are drowned out by Smoke on the Water blaring the very same out of their speakers) The Wind will say, "see you later, I will be back in awhile out of another direction...
Today was no exception - wind wise, that is. The northerly puffs at the start that resulted in the rapid arming of spinnakers soon dissipated and one by one spinnakers drooped and the apparent Wind draft shifted forward. But spinnakers were not stuffed before capturing the unique spinnaker pole that David is wielding on The Blue Pearl. (Actually this was shot moments before the chute was even hoisted.)
Can't say I have seen one of these in the catalogs anywhere. A special pole designed for the Columbia 29 one design racing fleet perhaps? Hey, whatever works! And not since the days of Rodger Ling's Broom Pole 2000 (sounds like something out of Harry Potter) on Possible Mallard from Shackelton days of yesteryear have we witnessed such a work of art! Ah, memories!
As alluded to earlier, although the start of today's contest was very routine as Shackleton Race starts go, it was missing something. A common element and presence at every start for the past year and a half was absent. It was quiet. Too quiet. Then we figured it out. The hills were NOT alive with the sound of that oh so familiar (too familiar now) Deep Purple distorted power chord intro of Smoke on the Water. Had the Ranger 23 blew its speakers? A lost mp3 player, maybe? Someone sneak aboard the Ranger and cut the stereo wires in the middle of the night? No, Mike Edge was simply unable to sail today. Therefore, crewmate Chuck was single handing Smoke and didn't want to be burdened with the additional task of annoying the remainder of the fleet with Ritchie Blackmore's now infamous guitar intro. Now one can only speculate whether or not the omission of this superstitious ritual from Smoke's normal game plan would have any effect on their performance today. But Chuck did mention his concerns about not performing up to par this race saying something about "Smoke losing its Edge" as we neared start time.
Speaking of nearing start time, one of the new participants in this year's series is the Irwin 28 Reconciliation being sailed by Joel and Anna Davenport. But unfortunately as start times heave approached for both Races 1 and 2,Reconciliation has been nowhere in sight. In both instances they have been hampered by fuel tank and motor issues and have been a bit tardy to the starting line. In Race 2, they DID manage to sail from the dock to the starting line (Joel later provided photographic proof of the start) but would ultimately score a DNF for sailing only a short portion of the course today. Better luck for Reconciliation in Race 3!
If one read through the report of Race 1, there certainly wasn't much elaboration regarding the minutes of said "race.". But if one paid close attention and made an astute observation of the results (not that I wish to rehash the ugliness that was Race 1), one would conclude thatHasta La Vista is once again in marina hands. And without any hesitation whatsoever, I called "dibs" on it for this series. I wouldn't figure Andre would mind too much since he had been putting forth great effort into beautifully restoring a San Juan 34 and we have been anxious to see how it would perform. Andre has not provided an official name of the boat butWindrush is affixed to both port and starboard quarters. And so for purposes of reporting, it shall henceforth be named unless informed otherwise. Another new boat (present in Race 1 only so far) was a nice Seafarer 29 skippered by Paul Marsh by the name of Seawitch Magick. We were hoping we hadn't scared Paul off since The Wind was a no show in Race 1. But upon returning to port at the conclusion of Race 2 we had received word that Paul had to work and could not attend today. So hopefully we will see Seawitch Magick again in the upcoming races.
Bringing up the subject of magic - Chuck was hoping for some of that magic Wind that Andre and crew had to finish Race 1 so he planned to hang out in the Windrush vicinity today. And as alluded to a few paragraphs up we were about 20 minutes or so into Race 2 where it started looking like we were ALL going to need magic of some sort as The Wind was indeed making its exit. Painstakingly we continued our descent down stream trying not to think about how we were going to make it back upstream if The Wind ditched us for good. Regardless of this ongoing love-hate relationship we have, one really mustn't really provoke The Wind in an ill manner. So all of this recent social media fighting? I never did it nor was I involved. Furthermore, showing proper reverence began to pay dividends Soon a southerly breeze began filling in the race course - albeit a somewhat confused southerly breeze, it was a breeze nonetheless and we were thankful for it as we approached the downwind turning buoys. The Wind has now even been promoted to a proper noun status within the Shackleton reports!
It would have appeared that since Maniac was the first recipient of the reinstated Wind, the race was now over as they began widening the gap. But it wasn't much longer before Windrush sped off as well - was it now a two boat race? Soon and upon rounding the last mark, spinnakers were once again hoisted with - well, I can't really say perfection since that would be an exaggeration and an example of poor and inaccurate journalism. (That said, after writing these things for all these years, why should I start to have any scruples about honest and unbiased reporting now?) But I will be truthful in saying that I am not poking fun at any boats' mishaps with a chute because once rounding the red nun at Eldridge Slough, there was no telling what my spinnaker was going to look like after a hasty dousing earlier - in my defense, though, I was sailing solo today.
It does almost seem that The Wind and Maniac have some type of agreement in which The Wind says, "okay, I am going to leave for a little bit, but when I return I will be sure to visit you first. It will be our little secret." I won't say that this happens 100% of the time because if it did, well it would look... well, kind of suspicious, right? And although the J29 did receive the first rights today, it appeared that it was going to go down to the wire between them and the big San Juan as Windrush was definitely close. But then again, not everything is as it appears on the race course - especially when PHRF numbers are involved. ("Your assigned handicap is what?") Maybe it was those crazy and cryptic handicaps. Magic could have played a role, too. But honestly, in the end, I think it was because of proper respect given to The Wind - and after reading this report, one might think too much respect, perhaps. But hey, there's nothing wrong with a little groveling if it means a win for Hasta La Vista. I will take it and I don't think there is a captain among us that wouldn't lay it on a little think if it meant a Shackleton victory!
It did turn into a nice day after a cold start - not enough for a cold point by race time, though. Close but not quite. One other mentioning required is that Race 2 marked the return of another familiar boat. The J24 Luna Teak was acquired by Chris Edwards (Hunter 340 Knot on Call from a couple years ago) earlier this year and he has done a great job of fixing her up. Looking forward to seeing them out on the course for the remainder of the Shackleton Season. Thanks everyone for their participation today. See you at Race 3, which at the time of publishing this report is calling for 80% chance of rain and light and variable winds. Better get a start on our groveling!
|SKIPPER||BOAT||NAME||PHRF||ELAPSED TIME||CORRECTED TIME||POINTS|
|Eric Almlie||San Juan 24||Hasta La Vista||216 (S)||2:30:11||2:09:18||7|
|Tim Chambers||J 29||Maniac||108 (S)||2:20:31||2:10:04||6|
|Andre Rijsdijk||San Juan 34||Windrush||124 (S)||2:22:22||2:10:23||5|
|David Barrow||Columbia 29||The Blue Pearl||219 (S)||2:52:00||2:30:49||4|
|Mike Edge||Ranger 23||Smoke on the Water||231 (S)||3:00:00||2:37:40||3|
|Chris Edwards||J 24||Luna Teak||169 (S)||3:40:00||3:23:40||2|
|Joel Davenport||Irwin 28||Reconciliation||230||DNF||DNF||1|
|Tim Chambers||J 29||Maniac||13|
|Andre Rijsdijk||San Juan 34||Windrush||11|
|Eric Almlie||San Juan 24||Hasta La Vista||8|
|David Barrow||Columbia 29||The Blue Pearl||5|
|Mike Edge||Ranger 23||Smoke on the Water||4|
|Chris Edwards||J 24||Luna Teak||2|
|Joel Davenport||Irwin 28||Reconciliation||2|
|Paul Marsh||Seafarer 29||Seawitch Magick||1|
RACE 2 RESULTS
Race report written by Eric Almlie. ©Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.