Friday, October 13, 2017

OCTOBER 10, 2017: SHORT AND SWEET

October 10, 2017

SHORT AND SWEET

After last week’s fiasco with the wind dying and only a few boats able to finish the race, I was determined to not have a replay this week.  As we left the harbor the wind seemed adequate but there was no clue whether it would hold.  We set a mark about 150 yards directly to windward of the start mark.  We announced the course: Start to the windward mark, Blacks and finish.  We gave the normal 5 minute horn at 5:55 and held our breath as the wind seemed to be dying.  Normally, it seems nature takes the 5 minute horn as a signal to start backing off on the wind.  On this night, we were fortunate to have the wind actually build in the 5 minute period to the start.

On Pair A Dice and with about 15 boats on the line, we felt it prudent to start on Starboard tack.  Our problem was that with the increasing wind, our timing for the line was wrong.  More wind creates more boat speed causing a potential over early situation.  As the time was expiring I thought we were possibly over, but checking the range I  had observed with the lighthouse and the trees behind showed we were well behind the line. Nobody was over early so we had a fair race! It is amazing that such a short distance to the windward mark developed into so many different tactics to get there.  Pair A Dice was fortunate to round the mark first with Equinimity and Pacific Spirit following close behind.  On Pair A Dice we set the pole trying to go dead down wind while Equinimity and Pacific Spirit sailed further toward the beach.   As we converged toward Blacks, Equinimity was in the lead and Pacific Spirit had an inside overlap on us so we gave them room at the mark.  As we rounded both Pacific Spirit and Equinimity sailed straight outside again while we sailed further along the beach.

As we tacked back out toward the finish mark, we were feeling pretty good about our chances.  As we got closer to the finish mark and both Equinimity and Pacific Spirit tacked over for the mark, we were amazed to find Equinimity ranging on us and was clearly going to cross in front of us!  We crossed in front of Pacific Spirit and tacked on their wind.  First over the line was Equinimity, Pair a dice less than a boat length ahead of Pacific Spirit then Kicks, Sea bird, a Saber 34, Toad, Freya, Aila (Beneteau 34), Tara and Sea Quake.

It was a beautiful night with great wind and a beautiful sunset. It was a short and sweet race.

OTHER REGATTAS:

Keep in mind that the midwinters regatta will start on November 18.  This series is held on Saturdays rather than Sunday.  For this series, if three Jib and Main boats enter, we will have our own class.  If not enough of us enter, we will sail against the spinnaker class.  If sailing jib and main, you will be given a 12 second PHRF adjustment.  My PHRF is normally 180, but will be 192 for this series.  This will level the playing field for us sailing against the spinnakers.  If you want to enter this series, be certain you have a valid PHRF certificate on file.

I will see you out there next Tuesday.

Barry Keeler

Sailing Pair A Dice

Saturday, October 7, 2017

OCTOBER 3, 2017: SKUNKED AGAIN

October 3, 2017

SKUNKED AGAIN

In anticipation of a light wind night, I brought a buoy to use as an alternate windward mark.  I was surprised when we came out of the harbor and there seemed to be plenty of wind: but would it hold? We ambitiously chose the course to finish the race at Mile.  We gave a 5 minute horn at 5:55 and it was almost as if the wind gods took the signal and the wind started to decline with the blowing of the horn.  Boats were spread all over the place on both sides of the start line and when the 5 minute count down expired, many of the boats headed outside while some of us took the inside line.  The boats on the outside seemed to be doing pretty well after they tacked back in toward mile and Tara was leading the charge on the “inside boats”.  In the end the wind died and one by one boats called in saying they were retiring.  Some people hung out to the end and finished.  Odonata reported that they finished at 7:25!  We were treated to a wonderful sunset with a hint of a green flash!

THE GREEN FLASH:

I have always been intrigued with the concept of the green flash.  I thought that the green flash would wipe out all of the normal pink in the sky and it would all turn green for a very brief moment. I learned tonight that the green flash is a small area about the width of the sun that hovers over the horizon for just a moment just as the last edge of the sun disappears.  I actually did see this on this night, but did not realize it until Fred explained it to me.

THE FUTURE:

I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing the growth of our fleet this year. I feel we have a lot of potential for future growth next year.   This growth, while exciting, has caused me a lot of frustration.  Gone are the days when we had 3 to 6 boats out.  It was easy to record finishes and report the race with fewer boats.  I have done my best to record finishes, frequently hanging around the finish mark until the last boat finishes.  Replaying the race later as I write the blog, I have had problems recognizing the names of boats (my writingL) and because of this have been guilty of leaving some of the boats out of the finish sequence.  Sometimes I am back in the pack and cannot see the sequence of the finish and taking reports from different boats as to who was winner has been fraught with conflict.

 On top of these other frustrations, the fact that some boats “play loose” with the start line drawing even more boats over the line adds to my personal frustration.  Last week, I announced I was going to site the line and not a single boat was OCS, so I know it can be done.  If we were having a foot race and a competitor consistently started 50 yards ahead of everyone else, how long would the foot races last before competitors stopped coming?  

is an embarrassment to me as we have new boats joining us to have the start line played so loosely.  They come out because they have heard that there is more organization on Tuesday nights. They have course cards delineating the start line and find boats all over the place on both sides of the line. This is not just my perspective, others are complaining also.  On this night there were easily 3-4 boats OCS from my estimate NOT siting the line. What does this say about our group?  I really do not want our group turning into just a social event where nobody observes the rules.  What can be learned in such an environment? Rules dictate that if you are over the start line early, you must turn back and go through the start line again.  This is a huge penalty when there are 18 boats on the line, but must be done to exonerate yourself and be part of the race.

There have been people that have suggested we should set up a line complete with a committee boat to site the line and record finishes.  Another suggestion has been to have a ‘sheriff’ boat sail outside of the line to site it and report OCS instances.  This means that this sheriff boat would be given a distinct disadvantage and in essence is not racing on the night they are acting as sheriff.

Where are we now and where do we want the fleet to be in the future?  I am encouraged to see so many boats out but find it impossible to keep track of all of the boats.  What is the answer?  I believe the answer to all of these problems is to use current technology!  We have talked about the FREE app that can be loaded onto any cell phone call Race Qs. 

Once you have downloaded this FREE app, you can preset the start for 5:55 to record the start.  You place the phone face up near the centerline of your boat with the top of the phone pointed toward the bow of your boat. Make certain the phone is in a position where it will not slip out of place.  I mounted a wood strip in my chart table to hold my phone in place. The app will record your position and every movement of your boat. Once done with the race, you must upload the track and can study it later on the web site.  It is an incredible learning tool, showing how well you are steering and how efficient your tacks are.  Each time you tack, there is a white dot you can click on that opens to show 8 different parameters of that tack.  You can compare your tack against the winning boats and learn from their example.  This app will also record the location of every boat at every point during the race and accurately record the sequence of the finish.  The app allows installation of start and finish lines, so there would be no guessing about any of these issues.  In essence, race QS becomes the regatta committee!

Several of us are planning on using this app this coming Tuesday. We will show it on the TV for the last BBQ on Halloween night.   I encourage you to download and use the app this Tuesday.

OTHER REGATTAS:

The next series of SCYC regattas will be the midwinter races. It would be great to have at least 3 of our jib and main boats to constitute a class for this race.  If three of us do not register, there is talk of incorporating us into the spinnaker boats with a PHRF allowance of 12 seconds a mile.  This means if your PHRF is 180 and we are in the spinnaker class, we would be assigned a PHRF of 192 FOR THIS SERIES.   It goes without saying that we should all get a current PHRF certificate.  This certificate takes all of the specifics of your boat into consideration: folding prop, spinnaker or not, max size of your jib etc.

Looking forward to next Tuesday.

Barry Keeler

Sailing Pair A Dice     

Thursday, September 28, 2017

SEPTEMBER 26, 2017: SHORT NIGHT, LONG COURSE

SEPTEMBER 26, 2017
SHORT NIGHT LONG COURSE

The sun certainly is setting earlier these days so I was pleased when I showed up to the harbor to see a good breeze blowing from the northwest. I had most of my crew back on board and it was great trading stories about our various vacations.  As we left the harbor, there certainly was breeze but the question was “would it last?”.   We set the course as W5: Start to wharf and back to start.  

On Pair A Dice, we set up to sight the line just before the start in an attempt to see if any boats were OCS (On course side) at the start.  We gave a 5 minute horn for a 6pm start.  Sighting down the line at the start, miraculously NO BOATS were over the line at the start.  Perfect 36 nailed it perfectly right on the line right at the start! With 18 boats on the line, it was a sight to see.


On Pair a Dice we came in on port and tacked over as soon as we saw a hole.  We all beat our way to wharf mark using various tactics.  It appeared that the wind was rather shifty at the mark because several boats had to throw in another tack to make it around Wharf.  Homer on Equanimity was the first around followed by Pacific Spirit, Makani and Zoop (Islander 36) and Perfect 36.

The race did not get interesting until we were on the long run back to start mark.  Every boat had to sail through the varying wind as the Easterly tried to build and failed, then the Southerly tried to fill and failed.  There was even a hint of a northwesterly that tried and failed.  As we all experienced these shifts, we thought we had the advantage at one point or other as competitors seemed to be motionless while other boats were moving. It was like musical wind as the slight breeze moved boats at different times.

 At the finish it was Equinimity, Zoop, Pacific Spirit, Makani, Perfect 36, Pair A Dice, a Saber 34, Nidaris II, Odonata and Rosa Nautica.  Other boats finished but we had a barbecue to get to and abandoned our post at the start line.

DEALING WITH SHIFTING BREEZE:

There is no quick answer to this.  On this night my skipper admonished us to let the wind dictate where the sails should be.  The last thing you want in these situations is a back winded Jib or main sail.  The crew must be alert and change the sails as conditions dictate.

CORINTHIAN SPIRIT:

Our Catalina Tuesdays has certainly attracted a mixed group of sailors.  We have several sailors in our group that are nothing short of professional.  Others of us are beginning sailors and racers.  Some of us have the most tricked out boat possible: professional sailor at the helm, adjustable back stay, new sails, adjustable fairleads, folding props, clean bottom, empty holding tanks and no excess weight on the boat (guilty as charged on most of these!). Others of us have full holding tanks, dirty bottoms, no folding props and less experienced helms(wo)men.  The beauty of our Catalina Tuesdays is that we all have fun competing against our fellow sailors whether for first or last place.

 The essence of Catalina Tuesdays is to have fun and to LEARN. It is no mystery that Homer on Equinimity and Don on Pacific Spirit win more frequently: Each of them is nothing short of a professional sailor.  Each of them are in high demand to crew on the “bigger boats” whenever a regatta occurs.  In my opinion, it is NOT all about winning! It is about doing your best and learning more.

What does this have to do with “Corinthian spirit”?  The whole idea is to bring everyone’s game up.  I thoroughly enjoy sailing with my better sailors, but freely offer them up for other boats to bring their game up.

 I remember when SCYC hosted the Nationals for the 505s several years ago.  I was amazed to witness all of the competitors sitting in a circle in the parking lot as the top sailors were giving instruction to the 50 or so other sailors giving tips on what works in Santa Cruz.  This for a National regatta! This made me proud to be a sailor.  This in essence is what the Corinthian Spirit is all about.

Members of our group are astounded at how the group has grown (18 boats tonight!). I refuse to take all of the credit for the building of our fleet.  I believe the essence of the Corinthian spirit is responsible for this.  Everyone seems to be enjoying the vibe of Tuesday nights. Sharing information and all improving our abilities as sailors.  The predominance of the Corinthian spirit is responsible for the growth of our fleet!  Let’s keep it rolling!








Scotty C from Rosa Nautica








We had a great barbecue at the club and were even entertained by Scotty on his guitar with his new hit “Catalina Tuesdays”


See you next Tuesday.

Barry Keeler

Sailing Pair A Dice

Saturday, September 23, 2017

SEPTEMBER 19, 2017: WIND AND WAVES

WIND AND WAVES

Since I was not out for Tuesday September 19, I will not attempt to write a recap of the activities. I understand there were 10-12 boats out for the fun.

TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 26 IS BARBECUE NIGHT AT THE CLUB AFTER THE RACE. BRING YOUR BEST GRILLING FOOD.  BAR WILL BE OPEN!

For years, I have noticed that you can use waves to your advantage while going downwind. This does not always work, which has been a mystery to me.  Several months ago, I wrote a piece about using waves to your advantage.  I shared this piece with a few of my friends and had a great exchange expounding on this occurred. I would like to share this with you.

Waves and sailing

I came from a surfing background and when I took up sailing a Hobie Cat I always enjoyed surfing my Hobie.  Santa Cruz has a long point used by surfers.  When riding my Hobie, I would beat to weather for 20-30 minutes until a mile outside off the point.  At this point the wind was so strong, I would usually “chicken Jibe” and as a wave would approach, I would set my sails so they would be in trim after I made my drop down the face and made my bottom turn.  At the moment the wave would be ready to pop me out the back, the sails would POP into trim and I could ride the wave all the way to the beach for over a mile long ride. I did this over and over again.  It did not matter if the wave was a one foot wind chop or an 8 foot swell it all worked the same.

Mechanics of Surfing:

You never see a competent surfer surfing a wave straight to the beach.  Surfers always ride in a way so the board is basically parallel to the wave face surfing down the line.  This is much faster than riding straight to the beach.  Riding straight to the beach results in speed only as fast as the wave is travelling.  Riding sideways can lead to incredible bursts of speed depending on the speed of the breaking wave and the power of the surf.  When I am sailing I try to achieve the same feat that surfers do, surfing sideways down a wave. 
Sailing with waves:
Sailing in an ocean environment lends itself to skillful use of waves. In this setup, what you do with waves has a lot to do with your race results. Every boat is different.  Every day has different conditions.  Heavy wind, heavy short chop or long ocean swells, light wind and big waves.  Every day requires a different approach.  It is critical to recognize the conditions and apply different approaches for each.  My experience is now sailing on a Catalina 30, a rather heavy, beamy boat.

Sailing to weather Into waves:

The only way to do this in light wind is to not take the waves directly on the bow.  Cracking off 5-10 degrees can often allow you to glide over waves rather than bash into them.  This is even the case if there is heavy wind and heavy quick chop that stops the boat every time a wave hits.  If the waves get a little bigger, I find I can climb straight up a wave face, then take the back of the wave at an angle.  This uses the back of the wave as a longer slope to gather speed for the next wave.  Turning off at an angle, as a surfer would, also give you more power in your sails that helps you speed down the face.  This works for me in my boat in about 20 knot winds

Sailing down wind:

On my boat we do not fly a spinnaker, but we do use a whisker pole on the jib.  When the wind is light, there is not much you can do with my heavier boat.  When the wind gets to 20 knots or so, the game changes.  As I feel a wave begin to lift the back of the boat, I give a quick turn of the wheel to port letting the blade of the rudder take the power of the wave to propel the boat down the face of the wave. Since the water in the wave is moving faster than the boat, this quick flick of the wheel does not turn the boat, but you can feel the energy of they wave pushing the rudder. As I catch the wave, I turn the wheel to starboard using the power of the wind in the sails to increase the time I stay on the wave.  Once again, I do this by going sideways (remember the surfer).  I study the GPS knot meter to see how long I can keep the boat in the wave.  Maintaining a boat speed of 7.5 to 8 knots is the goal.  If you can accomplish this on wave after wave staying on each wave for 5-7 seconds, you can really make some headway.  I know this concept flies in the face of keeping a steady hand on the wheel or rudder, but it really seems to work well for me.

Sailing with waves into the wind:

This unusual occurrence happens when an Easterly wind starts working in Santa Cruz.  I witnessed this once when someone was steering my boat.  It seems the boat never slowed down.  I asked how he did it and he said, you steer down the face of the wave and as the wave is ready to fade and leave you behind, you fall off the wind using the power of the wind to maintain the speed of the boat to catch the next wave.

Conclusion:

It is a fine nuance of sailing, using waves and wind together to propel your boat.  Experiment with it and you may be surprised with your results.
**********
I got a response to this article from Chris Hofmann which really made sense as to why it doesn’t always work:
Barry,

Good Stuff!   Nice descriptions about the "feel" and finer points in surfing displacement sailboats.   Here are some added thoughts that come to mind.
There is probably some underlying math that could be added to get more precise for different boats that combines a boats polar plot that maximizes boat speed from the direction and velocity of the wind, plus surfing action related to the direction, speed, period, and height  of the waves.
For example sometimes you get the right conditions and everything falls into place on the exact course you want to steer and the surfing seems easy; other times its more of a struggle because everything is not lining up so weel.   Still other times you are just trying to optimize the fastest sailing for the longest period of time on a down wind leg.
In the Catalina 30 16 knots true wind at relative bearing 174 degrees
would maximize boat speed and allow you to catch and stay on waves the longest just using the effect of the wind.

The next step would be to determine the direction, period, and height of the of the waves to understand the optimal steering angles and all the finer points that you mentioned that promote surfing on the correct jibe.
The wind and waves don't always line up.   So the result is that port tack relative wind bearing 174 degrees boat speed will be different that starboard tack relative wind bearing 174 degrees.  After rounding Natural Bridges or Wharf mark we often take the port jibe because this promotes the best surfing angle in the stronger winds  and  frequent westerly waves for the "longest leg" of the down wind course to finish or black pt.  In these conditions getting to port Jybe as fast as possible has a big advantage.

But if the wave pattern was more southerly the 174 relative wind bearing on starboard tack might be the favored set up and an early quick jibe at the mark is not so critical.

Usually as we get closer finish/black pt. the wind and waves die down a bit, so we all sail a shorter leg on the other jibe where the combined effects of polar VMG and wave surfing aren't as great.
Because the polar curves are different for different boats the general steering angle and the small adjustments (letting the boat glide down waves v. small or big flicks of the rudder) to promote surfing are going to change.
Hobie 16s are going to want to generally sail closer to 130 degrees where they can almost double their base boat speed, and would allow them to sail a lot longer on a wave with small steering adjustments.

http://www.trifoiler.info/Municipal/index.php?title=PERFORMANCE_COMPARISONS_AND_HANDICAPPING
A Santa Cruz or Express 27 has a pretty flat polar curve at about 170-130 degrees so in certain conditions they max out boat speed sailing anywhere between dead downwind and broad reach.  This mean they have a lot more options for lining up just the right angle on the waves.

http://express27.org/articles/polar

****
Thank you Chris for this explanation.

See you at the barbecue this coming Tuesday after the race!

Barry Keeler
Sailing Pair a Dice






Thursday, September 14, 2017

SEPTEMBER 12, 2017: OVERCAST WITH CHOPPY SEAS

September 12, 2017

OVERCAST WITH CHOPPY SEAS

Once again the flag on the Crow’s Nest showed we had plenty of wind coming from the northwest.  Coming to my boat, I was wondering if I was even going to take the boat out with most of my crew gone.  At the last minute a critical crew member showed up and we drafted Drew from another boat.  The combination of vacations and regatta committee meetings can leave some of us short crewed.  As we left the harbor, I was surprised at how choppy the seas were.  At least it looked like the wind would hold.  After some discussion we decided on Course G3: Start, GOV, Finish.  We gave a 5 minute horn  for the 12 boats that were out for the fun.

On Pair A Dice, we really wanted to start on port tack, but knew this was too risky.  We opted to start on starboard tack and tack over to port at the earliest opportunity.  In setting up for the start with the 12-13 knot winds and going down the waves, we were afraid we were getting too far down the line.  Frequently with waves on the bow, the time it takes to cover distance going into the waves is much longer than covering the same distance going with the waves.  This makes judging starts very difficult.  As it turned out, we covered the distance back toward the start mark and were going to be early for the start.  With one minute to go to the start, we spun a circle to kill time.  In doing this maneuver it is critical to observe two points: give yourself enough time to complete the move and give yourself time to get back up to speed. We find that frequently this maneuver takes at least 1 minute to accomplish.  It is critical to spin completely around and come up to speed as quickly as possible.

 We were a little late off the line so there were many boats in front of us for the parade to Gov.   This was turning into quite a “reach a thon”.  Some of the boats were using the choppy conditions to their advantage surfing whenever possible. Other boats seemed to be on a line to lay the mark. 
As we all sailed inside closer to the mark, the wind intensity and direction got very unpredictable and several of the boats in the lead had to tack several times to get around Gov.  At Gov, Homer rounded just ahead of Aila (Beneteau 34) and Nidaris and Pacific Spirit.  Aeolian rounded just ahead of Pair A Dice and we were all off on the run back to finish mark. 

  Everyone seemed to be rhumb lining it to the mark.  On Pair A Dice we thought we could heat up a little and sail further outside then turn down, set the pole and sail wing on wing toward the mark using waves to our advantage.
At the finish, it was Homer followed by Nidaris, Pacific Spirit, Aila, Pair A Dice (less than a boat length ahead of Aeolian!). Next was Kicks, Rosie (C&C23), Sirene, Sea Quake, Ranger 33 and Irish Mist (Catalina 34).

It was a short night and all boats finished the course.  It was great seeing all of the new people at the crows nest after the race along with the usual people that always come.  We all learned an important piece of information as Dan (from Kicks)  introduced himself as “Handsome Dan”.  We had fun with that one!

IMPROVING STARTING ABILITY:

One critical skill for your crew and skipper to learn is proper starting strategies. You can break this down to three important skills to master. The first is Time and distance. While sailig at any speed, how much time will it take to cover a certain distance?  You can develop this skill while sailing. Sight any object ahead and guess how long it will take to reach the object at your current speed.  The better you get at this game, the better your starts will be.

It also helps to go out with your crew and practice.  Sail by a buoy, taking the time as you pass it, sail awhile and return trying to be at the mark at a certain time. Practicing this move will help compensate for unusual sea states like we had on this night.

The third skill that must be mastered is knowing the rules well enough to know your options instantaneously when another boat does something unexpected.  Reacting to these unexpected actions quickly and correctly will have a huge impact on how well your starts come off.

There are other things to consider on starts such as which is the preferred end of the line and also port tack start versus starboard tack start.  I will discuss these considerations in a future blog.

OTHER REGATTAS:

Do not forget the upcoming regattas being put on by the club.  Saturday September 23 is the Jack and Jill regatta. This is always a fun event, the only stipulation is that each boat is sailed by one male and one female.

The very next day, Sunday the 24th is the second of the SCORE series.  There were no Jib and Main boats in the first event of this series, so we can all start off the same.   We are all having fun on our Tuesdays!  Lets see how many boats we can get out for this series!
_)         _)     _)

I will be out of town next Tuesday, but Homer will call the course for next week.  Have a great one.

Barry Keeler
Sailing Pair A Dice



Thursday, September 7, 2017

September 5, 2017: IT'S NOT OVER TILL IT'S OVER

September 5, 2017

IT’S NOT OVER TILL IT’S OVER

The flag on the Crow’s nest looked like a moderate northwesterly, but would it hold?  As we left the harbor, there were about a dozen boats out already and another 6 or so coming out. The question pondered on Pair a Dice: “would the wind hold?”  One person thought it would so we set an ambitious course.  We decided on W3 and gave a 5 minute horn at 5:55 for a 6pm start.

On Pair A Dice, we really wanted to start on port, but knew it would be suicide with close to 20 boats on the line. We started on starboard tack like the rest of the boats, but tacked over to port at the first opportunity.  We went inside until the wind started to die and tacked out into the horrible waves which were now on our bow.  We sailed through the transition zone on the way to the wind line which was inhabited by thousands of Sheerwater birds.  Many boats sailed clear inside past the wharf before tacking out for Wharf.  Mistress Quickly and Sea Bird rounded wharf mark first.  Pair a Dice was about the fourth boat around to start the painfully long slow run to Blacks.   We tried to stay outside with the sheerwaters to keep in the wind, with the hope to turn more down the waves to get through the transition zone to get to Blacks.  Sea Bird had sailed further inside and got caught in the transition and we passed them with Nidaris II on our stern trying to catch us. Looking back at all of the boats in the fleet, we felt pretty confident in the outcome of this race.

At Blacks, we were the first around with Nidaris II following us.  We sailed inside to the layline for start mark hoping for a building easterly.  We finally tacked over into the horrible bucking seas stopping our every attempt to build speed.  The wind was very unpredictable with puffs hitting all over the place like mortar shells shot from a “puff canon”.  Who could prevail in such conditions?  Just as we were painstakingly creeping up to the start mark, Homer came barreling through on port tack doing at least 4 knots when we were barely doing 2 knots of boat speed.  At the finish it was Homer on Equinimity, Pair A Dice, Nidaris II, Perfect 36, Rosa Nautica, a Tartan, Pacific Spirit, Sea Bird and Makani.  I guess we learned who could prevail in such conditions: Homer. Looking back on our confident feelings earlier, it became very apparent that its not over until its over.

It was a glorious evening with abundant sea life.  Thousands of Sheerwater birds visiting from New Zealand and whales frolicking about.  As if the sea life was not enough, we had a gorgeous sunset on one horizon and a fantastic full moon rising on the opposite horizon.



READING THE SIGNS:

The conditions between Blacks and start mark were truly challenging.  Homer said later that he had tacked outside earlier and he felt a puff on wind on his cheek and immediately tacked to take advantage of it.  It could have been luck, but I think it shows how quick decisive action capitalizes on unpredictable conditions.

OTHER REGATTAS:

We have two more days of racing in the Fall Score series.  We have all brought up our game in our Tuesday night races, it may be time to enter a real race. The next day of racing is Sunday September 24 and the last day of the series is Sunday October 22.  The first day was the sail back from Moss Landing in the end of August and none of the Jib and Main boats were in that race, so we all have a clean slate. If you have never been in a sanctioned regatta, this is your chance to see what it is like.

Looking forward to next Tuesday!

Barry Keeler

Sailing Pair A Dice

Friday, September 1, 2017

August 29, 2107: JUST A SHORT REACH

AUGUST 29, 2017
JUST A SHORT REACH

As I approached the harbor, the flag was showing a weak easterly at the crow’s nest.  We could only hope for a stronger one outside at the start mark.  As we filed out of the harbor, there were already about 10 boats out for the fun.  With the possibility of the wind dying and the barbecue at the club waiting we called for course B5 and gave a 5 minute horn at 5 minutes till 6.

On Pair a dice we attempted to start right at the mark, and as luck would have it we timed it pretty well except Pacific Spirit was right in front of us.  The line to Blacks was not quite hard on the wind, so we attempted to sail above Pacific Spirit, but were not able to pass them.  Homer on Equinimity started down the line a bit and had clear air to the mark sailing hard on the wind. At blacks, Homer was just ahead of Pacific Spirit who sailed down to give mark room leaving plenty of room for us to sneak through also.  At this rounding Perfect 36 and Nidaris were breathing down our necks.  This was going to be a good short race!

Finally, Pacific Spirit sailing in our lee was able to get clear ahead into clear wind to lengthen their lead on us.  The second rounding at Blacks was uneventful, but on the way to the start mark to finish the race, Perfect 36 breezed right by us and Nidaris II did also.  At the finish it was Equinimity followed by Pacific Spirit, Perfect 36, Nidaris II, Pair A Dice, Kicks, Rosa Nautica, Guenther (on his Finn), Sirena (Juneau31), Aeolian, Aila (Beneteau 34), Sea Quake, Toad, Irish Mist, Odonata and Tara.

In short, it was a beautiful night with nature on full display.  We had a huge flock of sheerwaters flying around before the start and multiple whales frolicking while we were sailing.
  
WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION:

We all know how important it is to get the weight out of the cock pit and forward when going down wind and with the waves.  I observed Perfect 36 easily pass us with everyone out of the cockpit sailing down wind into the waves.  Apparently even going into the waves down wind, it is beneficial to have weight forward in the boat rather than back.  This helps to keep the boat flat in the water and helps to stop hobby horsing and improves the speed of the boat. In light winds like this, perfect sail trim is essential as exemplified by other boats that passed us on the way to the finish line.   

ROUNDING MARKS:

It’s always exciting as boats converge on a mark. It is important to note which boat has overlap at the 3 boat zone, thus establishing inside rights at the mark (outside boat must allow room for the inside boat to round the mark).  I have seen several publications and attended one seminar that preaches that when you round a mark with another boat it is best to slow down a little so you round with your bow directly on the stern of the boat ahead.  Your bow should be above centerline (toward the mark) to give you the best chance to squeak through to inside position on the way back windward. The thought is that it is never advantageous to “pinwheel” around the mark outside of a competing boat.  Doing this may open the door for other boats to sneak through the gap.
 
We frequently try to pull the “Ginny Craig” rounding  marks: going in fat and coming out skinny. This means you are approaching the mark wide (going in fat), completing a smooth turn where you are pulling very close to the buoy as you are completing your turn (come out skinny).  Pulling this maneuver also gives you the best chance to get an inside line on the next leg.  It is always best to have inside rights at any mark.  On a night like this where the marks are only a quarter mile apart, establishing inside right at the mark will lead to inside rights at the next mark if played right.

OTHER REGATTAS:  

The first race of the fall score series was held this last Sunday in the race from Moss Landing to Santa Cruz.  This completed the double angle race that was started on Saturday.  I do not believe there were any Jib and Main boats in the sail back from Monterey.  We should all make plans to enter this series of regattas for fall.  This series is always fun.  As we all bring our game up and race better, we might as well join a sanctioned regatta and possibly take some hardware home if you do well.

Barry Keeler

Sailing Pair A Dice