JUNE 11, 2013
ROUND AND ROUND WE GO
This was a special night for me. Our commodore at the yacht club had expressed an interest in our Tuesday night outings for quite some time. Finally on this night he was joining us to find out what Catalina Tuesdays was all about. Rob Schuyler, our commodore is no slouch when it comes to racing. He has won the Santa Cruz 27 Nationals multiple times and I was really excited to sit front and center to see how he does it.
The night was another Santa Cruz stellar night, with an Easterly blowing at about 10 knots. We finally decided on course 9 with some modifications so that we finished taking the start mark to starboard rather than port. This course would take us from start to blacks (SB) around SC3 to port and finally taking the start mark to starboard. We gave Iris, the 27 a 2 minute head start and watched as they nail the start right on time. Sailing Pair a Dice, with our fearless commodore at the helm ended up barely making it to the start line in time for the start, being too far away before we even started the countdown. We ended up in a "barging situation" with Andiamo and ended up hitting the mark. After our penalty (our first round about) we had all of our "ducks in a row" looking at their sterns. The Easterly wind really seemed to be filling and was stronger nearer to the beach. We called the lay line to tack over to clear the mark on starboard, but somehow got headed and cleared the mark alright but on port. The influence of too many Wednesday nights sailing was prevailing in all of our minds: "Just continue on, who cares if we rounded the mark on the correct side anyway" . But wait, this is Tuesday, we follow the rules, so we turned around and rounded properly (our second round about), poor Aeolian got suckered and followed us. It should be stated at this point: "never EVER think Pair A DIce NEVER makes mistakes!". By this time we had quite a few boats ahead of us and it was time to reel them in.
I climbed up on the windward side and was amazed at Rob's finess with the wheel. I have always enjoy sailing on an Easterly wind, surfing the waves into the wind. The exhilaration of catching the wave and then the letdown as the wave leaves you behind and you slow down again in anticipation of the next wave to push your forward. The cycle keeps repeating itself, pickup, let down over and over. Somehow, with Rob on the wheel, there was no slow down between waves! How was he doing this? The boat never slowed down between waves: physically impossible! I got my range finder and sure enough, we were reeling the boats in ahead of us, little by little. Could they possibly be in less wind, and we were just compressing on them? As we headed out straight toward SC3, Aeolian split tacks with us and went back toward the point. Pacific Spirits had a strong lead and Diver Down, Iris, and Andiamo were in hot pursuit. We noted how well Aeolian had done going inside (must be better wind inside). Our goal, as soon as we rounded SC3 was to GET INSIDE to the better wind. As it turns out, the boats staying outside got stuck in a hole and got left behind: sometimes the shortest way from one point to another IS NOT a straight line. Joe taught us long ago: "go where the wind is" RIP Joe, we miss you!
Pacific Spirit kicked butt once again! Diver Down was second and Pair A DIce was third. Somehow, I just can't remember who was DFL... but it was all fun at Johnnies after the race!
_/) _/) _/) _/)
At Johnnies, I asked Rob how he did the thing with the waves: simple, just bear off before you lose your speed as the wave leaves you behind. It is a beautiful thing, melding the power of the surf and the power of the wind to maintain consistent speed. I thought I knew a thing or two about surfing and sailing, but obvisously still have a lot to learn!
I also learned, by observing, how important it is to note how boats that split tacks with you did as you meet again. The fact that Aeolian had done so well inside confirmed our belief that there was more wind inside.
I apologize for the course alteration (rounding start to starboard for the finish). It confused a lot of people and I have to realize that our "SI's" may not be perfect, but you can't change SI's on the fly. We will improve on the sailing instructions next year, but I will attempt to not institute changes while on the course in the future.
I have received positive feedback on our sound system: Short beep at 5 minutes, 4 minutes and the start. Long beep (4 seconds) at 1 minute. This is very similar to the sounds given by race committee boats and helps boats that don't have a timer or GPS on board.
I want to encourage the beginners in our group of sailors to keep on showing up. There was a near miss a couple of weeks ago that scared the bejesus out of all involved. These things happen in sailing, and though disconcerting, we can't let them discourage us. Keep on coming out and keep on learning. Most important, show up at Johnnies after the race to discuss things that happened. You may learn a lot from the very experienced sailors in our group.
Please note: We are set to use the Yacht Club BBQ on Tuesday June 25, after the race. This is NOT next week, but the week after next. We will need to bring our own fixings and food, but it should be fun. Anyone who is not a member and wants to see what the club has to offer should try to come.
See you next Tuesday.
Barry L. Keeler
Sailing PAIR A DICE