TUESDAY JULY 16, 2013
Another night with great wind and it was out of the northwest, with not a hint of an Easterly wind forming. What is amazing to me is that we are getting a consistent number of boats out, but different boats show up every week. This night Emeritus and Wind Goddess joined in and Homer brought his C&C 25 (?) out for the fun. It was also great to have Jack Mcdermott down from the city sailing on Wind Goddess. The decision was unanimous: Course #1 (Wharf, Mile, BLacks, Start, all to port).
On Pair a Dice, we knew that a port tack start was preferred, but felt it was safer to start on Starboard to prevent any surprises on the line. We were right on time at the pin and forced Wind Goddess (coming in on port) to duck us. We went out a short bit and Aeolian went inside on port tack. After our short run out on Starboard, we tacked over and all indications were that there was even more wind than the 21 knots apparent that we were experiencing, so we put in a reef. Trying not to sail to the corners, we tacked outside in front of Aeolian, as they had tacked over to get outside for the better wind. When we saw we could clear them with a tack, we tacked back over on port again. Aeolian just kept on sailing further out, following the adage: sail to the wind! As we sailed further inside, the wind was getting lighter AND we were consistently getting headed. We kept going, thinking we were nearly on the layline to clear wharf. This was our big mistake. Aeolian was romping in much more wind and when we rounded wharf it was Aeolian first, Homers boat was second with us right on top of Homer's stern. Homer attempted to point higher to prevent us from rolling him to windward, but we finally succeeded and rounded Mile comfortably ahead of Homer, but still behind Aeolian, which had extended there lead over us. Getting tangled with other boats does takes it's toll on your position.
Aeolian finished comfortably ahead of us, then we crossed with Homers boat finishing after us. Another night with Aeolian showing us all how to do it!
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THOSE !@#$%^& MECHANICAL MALFUNTIONS:
Racing sailboats in high winds really puts our boats (and US!) through the paces. There was talk of one of the boats thinking they were going to lose their mast because of a bad shroud. There may have been other mechanical problems other boats were dealing with. One of my friends lost his forestay on the way back from Monterey this last weekend, but was able to save his mast by quickly turning down wind until he could support the mast with a halyard. On Pair A Dice, we have had our share of winch troubles. So how can you prevent these catastrophies and how do you deal with them when they occur?
Preventive maintenance is key. I recently cleaned all of my winches and relubricated them. I was quite surprised how bad they really were. Inspecting the boat frequently will find little things like an important shackle, nearly undone. When was the last time you, or someone else, climbed your mast to check out the fittings at the top using a magnifying glass? Hairline cracks and signs of wear are precursers to impending problems. Lubricating all of your shivs and blocks, keeps them smooth. Keeping your rigg properly tuned is crucial since a loose mast slopping around increases forces exponentially. It is also good to tune your crew in to the little things that lead to breakage. Jerking on a line to open a jaw on a whisker pole can unwind even the strongest circlip, while a gentle pull will accomplish the task without the damage.
When a malfunction does occur, obviously reduce the load on whatever is broken. Having adequate tools on board and being mechanically inclined helps a lot. Every sailor should know how to tie a rolling hitch to help unwind an over-wrap on a winch.
This coming Tuesday, we will be able to barbecue at the yacht club. Once again the club will not be open, so we must bring everything (food, beer, wine). The crew of Sailing Pair A Dice did it last month and it was really fun, but needed more participants.
I will be out of town, but my crew will be there. Have Fun!