For those who really pay attention to detail, it goes without saying that Race 8 was not held on its scheduled day of February 25. For those who are paying less attention, we have just "fessed up" so now you know, too. It comes as a shock to Shackleton purists as the underlying theme to this entire series ("we sail regardless of conditions") was breached. But it was not the weather that did us in - over the years we have sailed in just about any condition imaginable. Although the weather forecast was bad on the 25th (rain, no wind, cold) what we got was mostly cloudy and a southerly breeze 8-10, so a race could have easily been accomplished. However with prior commitments, obligations, injuries, and sickness, our modest fleet was thinned to well, basically just me. Mike was willing to race on Summer Breeze but with a 102° fever we decided to postpone the finale of this year's series another week. So our streak of 31 consecutive successful Shackleton races had now come to an end. So all in all, that is not too bad of a record.
And also for those who are paying attention, you know that this race is the deciding one for this year's series. For two boats, I Soar and Hasta La Vista were tied for the lead and unless we both did something like disqualify ourselves or not show up, one would emerge victorious. But if you are expecting some kind of dramatic "high noon" showdown or Red Sox/Yankees type rivalry to be resolved, we hate to disappoint. Although we are all somewhat competitive, this is still a pretty laid back group of sailors. So no, there was no "Eye of the Tiger" type stuff going on.
David Freye e-mailed me on Shackleton 8 Eve and hinted that having a simple "one buoy rounding" course would be a nice change of pace. Well we got a little change, but it wasn't in the buoy roundings - there were still plenty of those. The twist in this contest was the starting line - for a change we started in the main channel and sailed UP the Sale Creek channel a little ways and then sailed back out. After sailing Andre's creative courses over the past several years I am now thoroughly convinced if we had a water ski ramp out there we would be taking our sloops out on some "sweet jumps".
It turned out to be a great course as always, although the nice steady wind disappeared about halfway into it - and this time there was no shortened course set. We were out there for the duration. Andre teamed up with me on Hasta La Vista and formed another one of those famous alliances we have heard about throughout the years. Seen here is an example Andre's superb foredeck technique during a spinnaker run. The idea is to conserve energy between jibes. There were really 2 spinnaker runs during this race, a short one and a long one. I Soar and Hasta La Vista did a take down for the half mile close hauled/reach leg in between and caught nothing when we went shrimping (both chutes took a dive in the lake). Meanwhile David and Deb Freye kept theirs hoisted during that short leg and still netted the same amount of shrimp we did.
Mike Rice was doing a good job in Summer Breeze and hanging with the fleet time wise with just a main and genoa. He was also joined by his fiancée, Melissa sailing in her first race. But as mentioned, the wind began to break up and soon we all found ourselves drifting along at some point. Patches of wind would come and go but once again, Mike was coming off another night shift and not quite at the halfway point, Summer Breeze retired from the race. Mike did an excellent job sailing the Buccaneer in this series will now have to get used to leading the pack since as of this writing, he is the proud owner of a speed demon J 24. Just in time for the River Raising coming up soon!
On Hasta La Vista, having Andre as crew kept me out of "laid back cruiser mode". We had built a sizable lead when the winds became fickle. With about 2 miles to go in the race, the northerly winds returned for good and hit us first, and our lead nearly doubled. Sometimes the wind is just with you and Hasta La Vista would emerge victorious. Warren (still not fully recovered from his injured back but glad to be out of the rocking chair) and his daughter Katie did a great job as always, finishing second in this one ahead of Banana Split - who is always a tough competitor.
The fact that we were all a little sunburned is in indicator that spring is arriving and once again, we wrap up our winter series. This was a "rebuilding year" for the fleet but nevertheless, it was always fun sailing, though my mind is still not made up about Race 2 and no one else but me had fun in Race 3. We encourage anyone with a sailboat to come out and join us! All are welcome!
RACE 8 RESULTS
FINAL SERIES STANDINGS
Race report written by Eric Almlie. ©Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.