Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sailing Update

Sailing update so far for Pat in 2007:

12 days racing, 14 days other sail, 1 day motor sail,
5 days race cmte., 1 day motor, 6 days kayak,
5 days in boat-related classes, 3 days teaching,
4 RGSC socials, 1 RGSC mtg., 6 NMSC mtgs.

27/190 days = 14% sailing
38/190 = 20% boating



July 14, NMSC Work Party, Heron Lake Osprey Fest

July 18, RGSC Fleet Social, JB's Restaurant, 6:30

July 21, RGSC Trailer Cruise to Heron Lake, NMSC Summer Series 3 Regatta

July 28, Haul Etchells USA 125 "Black Magic"

Aug. 4-5, Dillon Open

Aug. 18 NMSC Summer Series 4
Aug. 19 NMSC Match Clinic

Sept. 1, Buccaneer Regional Regatta at Heron Lake, NMSC-RGSC Challenge Cup

Sept. 15, NMSC Fun Race

Sept. 22-23, RGSC Fall Series 1/Desert Classic, RGSC club meeting

Sept. 28-30, RGSC Sunrise Regatta

Oct. 13-14, RGSC Fall Series 2/Governor's Cup

Oct. 27-28, RGSC Fall Series 3/Halloween Regatta

Nov. 17, Fall Series 4/Commodore's Cup, RGSC club meeting

Dec. 1, Kris Kringle, RGSC holiday party


Saturday, July 7 Long Race

Black Magic started about three boatlengths below the line. The countdown had to be called by me (as PRO) from on board US 125, since the dockmaster who was starting the race didn't have a clock (!) or wristwatch (!!!). The Santana 20 got a great start in spite of the winds having faded during the last minute or two of the pre-start; we were perhaps 30 seconds late crossing. We'd been too conservative on our position as we got caught with a sudden fading of the wind in the confined pre-start area.

Nontheless, we were able to keep up momentum and find bits of wind and pass the J24 and the Santana. Tacking up the Narrows, we played the game of shifts and lifts, headers and swirls, and came out about 10+ boatlengths ahead.

About 1/4 of the way to the wind warning island, a big right shift caught us on the left side of the course, pushed us beyond our lay line, and left us with some uncertain, swirly bits of wind. In the meantime, it filled in nicely on the north, right side of the course, which was a big help to our competitors. That put them right up on about the same ladder rung as USA 125. Ouch!

Gradually, the wind came back to our side of things and eventually almost let us make the wind warning island and forced the other boats to tack to clear some shallows. We rounded the island about 25 lengths ahead of our next competitor and probably ahead on corrected time.

After the next mark, an anchor buoy off the La Laja boat ramp, what normally would have been a downwind run to Ridge Rock became a close reach for us as the wind moved easterly.

But, as we rounded the third mark, off Ridge Rock, we saw that the J24, Hot Flash, had the wind aft and was making a spinnaker run. The shifty winds let the J24 and the Santana 20 cut our lead down quite a bit; this time we rounded the wind warning island only about 15 boat lengths ahead and were in might have lost our corrected-time lead.

The race became even more nervous for us when we found ourselves in shifty winds that were moving fore-n-aft; our attempts at hoisting the spinnaker didn't lead to much success even though the J24, behind us in different winds, was having much better luck with their chute. It was da**ned if you do, da**ned if you don't; we could see Hot Flash and the Santana 20, "Cougar of the Lake" making up ground on us, but the failing attempts to fly the chute and the resulting distractions were killing our speed. With the breeze repeatedly fluctuating in direction, and with dark clouds to the north, our skipper, Carol Anne, gave up on the chute and we hoped the wind would fill in from forward.

Fill in it certainly did, with some whitecaps appearing and winds reaching the 25 to 30 mph range. This proved to be greatly to our advantage, for we were able to trim and de-power for conditions while keeping moving. The J24, in spite of having a crew of five aboard, had to fall off and change headsails. The Santana 20, although a great light air boat, only had two crew, was knocked hard over and had to lower its big genoa. These heavier conditions allowed us to extend our lead as we approached the Narrows.

Inside the Narrows, we found some protection from the wind, but we also found challenging conditions, with swirls and abrupt reversals of wind direction. We had some success in guessing the shifts, which were fast-moving and strange. It even seemed at times that we had different wind on deck, halfway up the sail, and at the masthead.

After we finished, we had time to start putting away the boat and some of us went to the end of the finish line, where we could help finish the other boats.

The B Fleet boat, Cheers, a Catalina 27, had a somewhat shorter course than the A fleet boats, so it was able to finish hard on the heels of the rest of the A Fleet.


Post a Comment

<< Home