Monday, May 01, 2006

road warrior, our first race on Black Magic

WMCIK/007/Tad and I just returned from out weekend around midnight Sunday night / Monday morning. Here's a sketchy version of a weekend summary:

Friday, Gerald had a cello lesson after which we drove 70 miles to El Dorado s.e. of Santa Fe and return. Then, I dropped him off at Truth or Consequences (220 miles) so he could crew for Carol Anne on Saturday and got back to Albuquerque (150 miles) at 0200.

Saturday, I woke early after a few hours sleep, drove to Heron Lake (165 mils) for a work party, checked mail, went by cabin, grabbed a couple of things we needed, drove south to Elephant Butte in time to catch dinner with sailing club. (The work party rounded up foam billets and stuffed them under the finger piers, which required using a work barage and winches to lift the piers.)

At the Butte, I found out CA hadn't raced her boat for the first time after all. Although she had 007, and Husker (one of the best of her Adams Cup crew) to sail with her, along with another, relatively new sailor, ET, she was afraid the winds might be too strong and so she decided to help out on the committee boat. She had also been disappointed because plans had fallen through - - twice - - for an experienced Etchells sailor to help coach her and her crew. So, she had to endure some ribbing for "chickening out" and going on the committee boat to organize the race starts and finishes..

Sunday, we picked up Husker and got the boat ready early and went out - - Husker for foredeck, 007 helping her and doing jib trib, me in the center / tactician spot and helping Carol Anne with the traveler and the control lines on the Barney post, and Carol Anne helming for her first race ever on "Black Magic". We were the second boat out, well ahead of the committee boat, so we got in some good sailing before the race, and, as usual now for us, we sailed out without bothering with the motor. (In fact, we'd come to the decision that the motor was more trouble then it was worth during the race season, so later in the day we had a friend remove it.) We practiced hoisting our spinnaker for our first time ever on our boat, only having time to do it once before it was almost time for the start of the race.

We got a passable race start and managed to be in the thick of things throughout the first race, even though we were still learning our jobs and how to coordinate operation of the boat. At the end of the race, we were some seven minutes behind the club champion and the fourth of eight boats to finish. Our starts gradually improved and upwind performance was pretty good. At the marks, we were very conservative and rather slow in preparing and hoisting spinnaker, given our tremendous lack of experience, but we did quite well in getting it up and keeping it flying and trimmed, only having one relatively small hangup. We got slightly better in the second race. In the third race, however, we didn't do slightly better, but rather quite a bit better; we were the second crew and boat to finish, only two or three minutes behind the club champion (El Zorro) (though to be sure these were fairly short races, at least for the boats in the front of the fleet).

It's possible that this would be good enough to get Carol Anne into fourth place for the weekend, even though she lost places for not racing in Saturday's two races, so she might even be getting some sort of trophy or award at the next post-regatta dinner. Not too bad for a first outing on a boat that we're very much still working on (I have to order more parts and hardware soon!) and learning to sail. Of course, there's still a tremendous, enormous amount for us to learn and to be improved for both the boat and crew.

After people got off the water and rested, we had a late lunch at La Cocina, dropped off Husker at home, and then returned to the marina. I took the unneeded motor up to "Babe" and bent on sail. Zorro was out sailing with a couple of our other sailing friends, but came in to hop on our boat with Carol Anne, Gerald, and me, and he coached us while we sailed near and sometimes alongside Zorro's boat, which was skippered by Dino/Maximus and his best girl; Dino often crews for Zorro. We also got more spinnaker practice. While we were sailing, the winds strengthened quickly to around 25 mph or perhaps a wee bit more; Zorro took over the helm as the winds freshened and gave us a valuable lesson in controlling the boat in strong conditions. The ride was thrilling as the boat put on some real speed. The strong winds didn't last; after about 20 or 30 minutes it began to moderate, and after a little while CA took back the helm. It made for a great finish to a great day.

Carol Anne's plans: It's a little hard to predict just right now. Maybe she'll go to Austin, or to Elephant Butte, or to Heron, or even to San Diego this next weekend. The plans have been made and unmade with dizzying speed. We learned last week from someone in Austin that the plan for her to tow a boat to Austin had been cancelled, and later that the owner of the boat here in New Mexico had canned the plan after finding out that none of her regular crew could go with her. Then Carol Anne proposed that she help drive people out on Thursday. But then we remembered that I'd want the Expedition to get 007/Tad to his big string bass audition after school Thursday. Then Carol Anne found out the some of the guys might be sailing in San Diego the weekend of the Adams Cup semis in Austin ... but they don't know for sure yet if the trip will happen and she doesn't know if they could maybe use a fourth sailor.

Upcoming weekend, besides the sailing stuff, also has a major Scout campout for 007/Tad, plus a work party at Heron Lake for me. Stay tuned.
Neo A.


At 4:42 PM, May 01, 2006, Blogger Carol Anne said...

And then Dino has the idea of us all hitting Juarez for Cinco de Mayo...

At 5:23 PM, May 01, 2006, Blogger Pat said...

How do you get to a higher-level sailing event?

Practice, practice, practice.


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