November 17, 2012
I guess Race 1 was so popular we just had to have an encore performance - temperature wise, wind wise, and course wise. Well, it was almost the exact same course. It was encouraging to see that the Shackleton fleet is rather sharp this early in the season as everyone, upon first view of the sketch, would say, "hey, this is the exact same course as... oh, no it isn't! Ha! We are onto your tricks, Eric!" Yes, with the exception of swapping the order we rounded the two upstream buoys, it was a carbon copy. Hard to fool this bunch of sailors.
It was also encouraging to see that today's planned journey was not met with any objections at the Meeting of the Minds of the Skippers. That said, there WAS an overwhelming majority (I think the final vote count was 19-1) that favored a later starting time - I think 4:00 p.m. was the consensus. This delayed start idea came about when Captain Tim of Maniac mentioned that he had somewhere to be later in the day and was happy for a "short course". With such a large margin of defeat on the vote and a foolproof means of defeating the J29 how we still settled on an 11:30 a.m. start is beyond comprehension - it might go back to the phrase "Minds of the Skippers" statement above - wouldn't that be considered an oxymoron?
Anyway, it was just another pretty day on the water with light winds forecasted... and delivered without fail. We were provided a decent and workable northeasterly breeze at the beginning of the race and for a fair portion of the upwind leg (most of the fleet was, anyway). However, as we made our way upstream the wind became lighter and lighter and a little more patchy early in the afternoon. Ripples on the water were soon replaced by... well, the lack of ripples. But the down time between patches of wind was a bit more short lived this race than its predecessor. And for the most part, everyone's sails (going upwind anyway) would retain their shape during the lulls and would not just hang limp and useless... again, for the most part. Still, this was better than Race 1.
Getting across from Buoy 1 to Buoy 2 proved to be more interesting and challenging for some than others. It just depended on whether or not you caught one of those patches of wind just right. Maniac disgustingly timed it just right making it in one tack. And yes, you are correct in noting that my reporting is becoming less neutrally journalistic and more "Op Ed" like, adding colorful adverbs to the play-by-play (or tack-by-tack if you prefer). And yes, you are further correct in assuming that I am bitter because I was one of those who did NOT make the journey from Buoy 1 to Buoy 2 in one tack. Whatta Ride!, Luna Teak, and True Blue all were victimized by poor timing at that spot in the race. The Wavelength required two extra tacks to round Buoy 2 while the Ranger 33 and J24 required four extra due to the shifty wind patches and lulls.
Although almost in drifting mode due now to insufficient wind, it appeared that Maniac had already just scorched the rest of the fleet, as the J29 was putting a lot of separation between themselves and everyone else who was fighting for the simple pleasure and relief to be able to go into drifting mode! Did I mention the frustrations of sailing from Buoy 1 to Buoy 2? Okay, rant over about that and besides we are used to seeing Maniac in lopsided victories. Well, not so much against Whatta Ride! or any other of those hypersonic vessels Captain Cyrul shows up with Although not loaded up with crew ringers from PYC this race, Whatta Ride! was sailing extremely well with some younger Cyrul's on board - with Christian (13) at the helm and Erica (16) on the foredeck and trust me, these kids know how to sail quite well!
I am sure are a couple of skippers not feeling too much pity for those who struggled in their plight to sail across the channel. Just making it to the upstream marks was a challenge as well if one was not in a favorable position when the winds started to falter. While our spinnakers were struggling to fill at times, Tatiana and Knot on Call were still trudging upwind. At one point I found myself on a collision course with Knot on Call. Yes, it sounds like a heightened and tense filled moment during the race but at the speeds we were moving, it was more like the security guard scene from Austin Powers (youtube link). Both boats were moving slow and quiet enough that I could hear the conversation taking place on board Knot on Call regarding who had the right of way. Chris Edwards, skipper of the Hunter 340, is new to this fast paced action world of sailboat racing and is getting acquainted with the right-of-way rules when boats are zipping and interweaving at 0.4 knots. I knew Luna Teak was the windward and give-way vessel in this case, but I did hear the words "he is on a starboard tack, he has right-of-way" come from their cockpit. Hey, I kind of liked the sound of that and felt it would be foolish and downright rude to
decline such a generous gift! But as I held my course, they talked it over some more, realized both boats were on starboard tack, they were the leeward boat, and therefore THEY had right-of-way. Once I heard them come to this conclusion my reply was "DING! DING! DING! Yes, that is the correct answer!"
At around this time a strange thing was happening. There was a pocket of wind filling in from the northeast. It appeared that Camille had made the treacherous passage from Buoy 1 to 2 in one tack as well. Spinnakers on True Blue,Luna Teak, and later PDQ³ came to life - well sort of, they didn't exactly soar with conviction but they began to raise from a slightly drooping state off our bow rails and decks. It would only be a matter of time before this pocket would reach Whatta Ride! and Maniac.
Or would it? The wind does not always shine on everyone equally and as Chris observed on the Wavelength, the patch of wind that had come to the rescue of the rest of the fleet behind him, taunted Whatta Ride!, lagging about one to three boat lengths behind... pretty much all the way to the finish line.
Sometimes the wind is your friend, sometimes it isn't. Although pushing the fleet back to respectable finish times withManiac, it did not help Whatta Ride! as Luna Teak was just about able to catch up boat for boat and corrected out for a 2nd place finish. Meanwhile, Tim mentioned that on Maniac it was like watching a fourth quarter 49-7 lead (a very accurate simile) evaporate to a 49-45 win. Only if that course had been a wee bit longer!
Shawn and Brandi on True Blue would finish very shortly after while PDQ³ was making a strong comeback bid and was about to battle it out to the finish with Camille. With the chute still flying, the SR made a daring move to pass to windward of the Cheoy Lee, which was sailing spinnaker-less, mainly since... well, they don't have one because that much nylon for such a sail does not exist on this planet. Fortunately it was Nice Chuck at the helm of Camille and not Evil Chuck - or any other of the evil skippers in this fleet (which is pretty much all of them), otherwise PDQ³could have been headed up, rendering their spinnaker into a useless, flogging piece of sail cloth. But in hindsight, it was about the only move Eric and Christine could have made. Since they had to give time to Camille, they had to somehow pass them. And due to the immense size differences of the respective vessels, it would have been physically impossible for PDQ³ to have passed to leeward, where the majority of their sail area would have been shaded by just the freeboard alone on the Cheoy Lee! And although the SR was able to get in front of the Cheoy Lee, they soon found out (like the rest of us) that the wind had shifted to a close reach and a foresail would have to be hoisted to sail the last couple hundred feet or so. That is unless one employed the Freye Technique, as caught on camera earlier:
- only difference is Freye's chute still would have flown properly (what can I say - I have yet to master David's technique). But despite Eric and Christine's efforts in getting that foresail up and chute down in such a short distance, Chuck and Amy on Camille were still able to correct out in front of the SR. And very admirably, working hard to improve for the next light air race (gee, looks like it will be Race 3 if predictions hold - dang it!), PDQ³ went out to sail the course AGAIN! But perhaps even more admirable was the determination on board Tatiana to finish the race, even after getting caught and passed by PDQ³ on their second lap. Alas, Tatiana with her heavy cloth sails is simply not as well suited for the light air as Carol Lynn was. But it sure is a pretty sailboat! And also, it was good to hear that another spinnaker made an appearance on the course as Knot on Call hoisted theirs after turning around before making the upstream marks and heading back home to Harbor Lights. They will make another appearance for Race 3. Good job by everyone out there today! Current forecast for next race which at press time is less than 48 hours away - Sunny, 63 degrees, winds SSE at 6 - woo hoo! Up one MPH since last checking - this one is going to be a gas! See you all there!
RACE 2 RESULTS
|SKIPPER||BOAT||NAME||PHRF||ELAPSED TIME||CORRECTED TIME||POINTS|
|Tim Chambers||J 29||Maniac||105 (S)||1:57:27||1:50:27||8|
|Eric Almlie||J 24||Luna Teak||168 (S)||2:04:17||1:53:05||7|
|Chris Cyrul||Wavelength 24||Whatta Ride!||156 (S)||2:03:51||1:53:27||6|
|Shawn Douthat||Ranger 33||True Blue||163 (S)||2:07:00||1:56:08||5|
|Chuck Alexander||Cheoy Lee 41||Camille||165||2:22:16||2:11:00||4|
|Eric Davidson||SR 21||PDQ³||158 (S)||2:22:06||2:11:18||3|
|James Drozdek||Tayana 37||Tatiana||204||5:21:57||5:08:21||2|
|Chris Edwards||Hunter 340||Knot on Call||171||DNF||DNF||1|
|Tim Chambers||J 29||Maniac||18|
|Chris Cyrul||Wavelength 24||Whatta Ride!||15|
|Eric Almlie||J 24||Luna Teak||15|
|Eric Davidson||SR 21||PDQ³||10|
|Chuck Alexander||Cheoy Lee 41||Camille||9|
|Ginger Noble||Catalina 22||Mother Ship||6|
|Shawn Douthat||Ranger 33||True Blue||6|
|James Drozdek||Tayana 37||Tatiana||3|
|Chris Edwards||Hunter 340||Knot on Call||2|
|David Barrow||Mariner 36||III||1|
Race report written by Eric Almlie. ©Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.