Wednesday, October 26, 2005


A raucous afternoon poker game lead to an enjoyable dinner cooked by Mr. Whaley. Spaghetti and salad (cooked with directions from Crystal) turned out great. FYI: After actually carrying the poker set around, I have decided to forbid it on any more races; it must weigh 30 lbs!

The next morning the wind was out of the north, making the race a spinnaker start. Circling around and coming across the line with speed, we had a great start leading the pack. CB, with his big spinnaker, took us over before the next mark, and as the spinnaker was flown for the rest of the race, Scott lead the charge to catch 'em.

Having spent a fair amount of the summer look at CB's spinnaker going by us, I feel pretty confident that it has bigger "shoulders" than ours. I'm convinced that makes a pretty big difference downwind--especially the closer to dead downwind you are.

It was a valent effort, and as the last leg had us on a pretty tight reach, we started to catch CB. Were we catching him fast enough, though?

With a sudden *TWANG*, the port spinnaker turning block exploded, shooting the sheave over my left ear and about 30 feet in front of the boat! With some quick work, we were able to keep things going, but we lots our opportunity to catch Infinty.

Needless to say, since the same block had come apart its first day on the job during the NOOD I was frustrated to have it happen again. I'm working with Fawcetts to come up with a solution...

We enjoyed a nice sail back home. It was a day well spent on the water with good friends.

TC went high for some unknown reason.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005


The Bruce Rankin Memorial Regatta 2005
(A.K.A. The Canadian Race)

Crew: Glen, Brian P., Tim
Competitors: 247, 57, 484, 550, and others for a total of 13!

Saturday turned out to be very breezy, with steady winds in the high teens and 25kts+ at times. I can't tell you how happy Glen and I were to see Brian show up at the dock that morning. Scott had to spend the day at work, and Brian had signaled he might not make it either. That would have been disastrous given the conditions.

The first race we had came in 4th. We actually caught a bunch of boats coming down wind, but with a poor
rounding, and poor upwind performance fell from 2nd to 4th.

The second race was very frustrating. As we were starting, coming to the pin end of the line on spinnaker, with a bunch of boats to windward of us and 247 to leeward, 247 tacked onto port directly in front of us. I went nuts because the only option at that point was to bear off and do a gybe, crossing on port behind the whole fleet. TC (247) was very apologetic and did his circles, but it still put us in a very bad spot.

After duking it out around the course, we caught all the way up to second again (Towney was way ahead) at the leeward mark. As we made our way to the finish line, the wind went to 25kts+. With the no. 1 up and no reef, Brian and Glen did some quick work to reef the main. I didn't do a good job dealing with the excess wind, and not only did we fall to 5th, we lost by a hair to TC. I was pretty frustrated.

One thing I think we need to figure out is how to reduce upwind power. Other boats are pointing better, and are carrying their sails more fully than we are. I think there are two things we need to consider:

1. We need to consider ways to better flatten the new jib. I think we need to throw out some of our old thinking it how to set it up. It's a different cut than our old sail.

2. We need the boom vang installed. I think flattening the main a much as we can will make a big difference.

Even with the poor performance, it was a good time. Brian caught up on some much needed sleep on the way home, and Glen and I enjoyed the afternoon, tired, but satisfied.

Sundays race was cancelled due to access wind. It was blowing steady 25kts+ and with borrowed boats on the course, the RC decided to send us in. A definite bummer, but the right call.


Thursday, September 29, 2005

Race back from Oxford 2005
(The Hammond Memorial Regatta)

Crew: Glen, Brian P., Tim
Competitors: 247, 57, 484

After a good night's rest in a borrowed slip, we grabbed some food and coffee and headed to the start. Thankfully there was more wind than Saturday--but not much.

The start was downwind, and without Scott, we did our best. (No offense, Brian!) We ran the line on starboard and bore off to set the chute. C.B. decided to port tact the fleet, and set his chute early. With speed, a wide line, and few boats to contend with, C.B. had a nice start in first place. We started in front of T.C., but he soon caught up and passed us by gybing out from under us.

At this point C.B. and T.C. continued tp head to the left on port and we stayed pretty much on the rhumb line since we had enough breeze to make 2 kts. T.C. motored to the first mark beating C.B. in the process. No one is sure why that happened.

We were probably 30 boat lengths behind C.B. at this point and feeling pretty bad. However, the wind was on and off again, and shifty at that. We did our best to pay attention to the shifts (some of them 30°), and by keeping track of them, we were able to make some good tacking decisions.

By the next mark, the standings had reversed, and we were in the lead. Fortunately we had lead enough to cover C.B. to the end while barely making the finish by the time limit.

While not a lot of wind, there was enough. The crew did a great job and it was nice to get the gun!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Race to Oxford 2005

Crew: Glen, Brian P., Tim
Competitors: 247, 57, 484

Oxford last year (2004) was a story that will be told for the rest of our lives. 55MPH winds, 6+ ft. waves, and watching the GPS show LinGin moving 14MPH. And that doesn't even touch on snapping the tiller in the middle of the race.

This year, however, things could not be more different. The race committee announced shortly before the start that while there was almost no wind, they would start us anyway because the current would be pushing us toward Oxford.

We sited the line, and quickly found ourselves on course side, running out of time to get behind the line for the start. With some scrambling, and a little more breeze, we made it behind the line and actually started in the lead.

C.B. and T.C. headed for the eastern shore, while we opted for the rhumb line along with Harry. It was very sunny out all day, and shortly after the start at 0900, the wind began to pick up out of the north. We set a chute and saw 8kts of breeze. We were feeling good and looked to be leading the fleet.

As we approached the first mark, C.B. came back from the eastern shore and began to converge with us. The wind was now down to 2-3 kts, and it was clear we were ahead only by a couple boat lengths.

We were soon in a downwind duel with C.B. and considering we were missing our foredeckman, had only 3 people sailing the boat and there was almost no wind, I felt we did really well holding him off. After about fifteen minutes of duking it out, C.B. was able to gybe out from us and we decided to part ways.

The wind proceeded to drop to <1 kt, and Glen went below to get "Trim" by Bill Gladstone. Based on Gladstone's instructions, we set the boat for exteremely light air speed. Interestingly, Gladstone suggests that at some point, you move from boat set up to "go play golf". We wondered many times over the next four or five hours if we had hit "go play golf" windspeeds.

Persisting in very light air, we basically trimmed for speed, and tried to tack on the headers. The current was not much of a factor during this time as it was with us.

We were sure that the Race Committee (RC) would shorten the course and end our misery, but with each mark we passed, it became more apparently the would not.

Finally around 1800, with roughly 5 miles to go and in literally 0 kts of wind, we abandoned the helm and started working on boat projects. We installed the newly created spinnaker pole holders. Glen whipped the ends of our new light air jib sheet. We listened on the radio to hear the Catalinas argue as to what dropping out would do to their hight point standings.

We were committed not to quit before C.B., who by now we had managed to get ahead of again. About the time the Catalinas agreed to all quit, C.B. started his engine and motored in. We did the same.

I cannot tell you how angry everyone was at the RC. We had started at 0900 and 9 hours later all dropped out after baking in the sun and wrestling with light air all day. We could have had a race count if the RC had just gotten off their lazy butts and finished us.

Brian and Glen did an outstanding job, working tirelessly to keep the boat moving even in extreme heat and little air. It was a pleasure to be part of the team.

There's always next year.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

WNR - Series III - Race 5

Crew: Glen, Brian P., Scott, Pat
Competitors: 247, 550, 484

Heading over to the race, there were low clouds and a stiff breeze out of the southwest. In a bit of a rush, we took a bit of a short cut and shot straight from the red marker at the entrance to Whitehall Bay over to the yellow channel marker next to the spider buoy. Note to crew: it worked well and didn't look too shallow not to do all the time.

Soon after rounding the spider, we had a great time watching the Etchells scream off the starting line under spinnaker. Within 5 minutes, there were at least 3 chutes ripped--including the boat leading the fleet. Scott was excited to get ready for what looked like it would be an adrenaline-pumping start.

We started well at the boat end, and wanted to stay high to keep clear air, and based on the angle of the wind, we wanted to go high for a bit to be able to bear off and set the chute. (It was a close call as to whether we would be able to hold the chute right off the line.) Our course was out to a mark nearly in line with the channel markers. Towney started at the pin end in clear air, but with an angle that didn't let him immediately set his chute.

After about 5-10 minutes under jib, we set the chute leading a pack of Catalina 25s. We successfully fended off a couple of them trying to go high of us by luffing one of them up, and then came back down to course. Towney set his chute and we were both cooking, but the wind had died down from what it was at the Etchells start.

Shortly before the mark, the wind picked up again. The C25s started to lose control, and since we were about 15 boat-lengths to the mark, we decided to douse as well. We were neck and neck with Towney at this point, and he took down his chute at the same time. Now it was time to see who could do a controlled gybe, not get hit by an out of control C25, and beat the other around the mark!

Our gybe was good, but the boom rose and caught the backstay. A potentially dangerous situation: 1. we could have damaged the backstay, and 2. we were immediately rounded up, and while the Alberg rudder is big, it's not big enough to overpower the main in 20+ kts of wind. Thankfully I was able to keep from ramming the C25s, and the crew was able to get the boom off the backstay. However, Towney took advantage of the situation and rounded inside of us. We gave two C25s room and took off after Towney.

With the dramatic increase in wind speed, we knew we would be overpowered with the No. 1 and even a reefed main. I figured Towney would not be in a mood to do a headsail change, so I took a chance and ordered the change to the No. 2. It was a risky move since it meant sailing without a headsail for roughly a minute while the new one was brought up. Would we have enough distance in the WNR to not only catch up to Towney, but make up the ground lost during the change?

I was reminded of the Hammond Memorial race from last year during this exercise. We had ripped our No. 2 and were forced to use the No. 1 most of the race, overpowered the whole way. In the end, the decision bore out my guess: we caught up to Towney by the red nun.

At this point, we started sailing very conservatively, covering his every move. After watching him for awhile, we started to suspect that he had a mechanical problem with the boat, too. At one point he did a gybe going up wind rather than a tack. Very strange. I plan to ask him about it next time I see him.

We hustled all the way in and took the gun! A GREAT race, and lots of fun.

Seeing as it was a beautiful night: cool, 15+ kts of breeze and a sunset that was incredible, we decided to kill the noisy, stinky engine and sail home. It was fantastic there were low, local clouds that darkened the sky, but since the clouds did not cover the horizon, the sunset lit up the underside of the clouds in a way that was incredibly beautiful. Both Brian and I were kicking ourselves for not bringing our cameras. I did my very best to soak in this incredible view and feeling. I could not think of a better place to be in the world than right there at that moment. It was wonderful.

Coming into Whitehall Creek, it had become dark and we continued sailing. At the first red unlit mark, we tacked and *BAM* ran aground before we could make a move. We all hopped to one side, but I'm pretty sure that between the wind blowing us and a swift ebb tide, we became rapidly and hopelessly hard aground.

First we tried kedging. (Throwing an anchor out and trying to pull the boat off.) Then Glen jumped into a sea of jellyfish and tried pushing. Then Glen swam the anchor as far out as possible to get a better pulling angle. Then Scott jumped in and while being stung, helped Glen push while we kedged. Finally we tried taking the spin halyard, tying it to the anchor line and kedging. All this to no avail.

I jumped in to help (got stung), and while I was pushing we saw a sailboat coming. We had now been aground for about 2 1/2 hours and this was the first vessel to come by. They were willing to help, but were afraid to get close, so Glen swam them over a line. (He was stung in the ear while doing this.) They pulled us once, and then threw Glen back in, changed position, grabbed Glen, and finally pulled us off.

Hats off to Glen for all his hard work. He said he had never been stung before. Talk about being into new experiences...

And after all this, I had to drive to Philly that night for work. Needless to say, I arrived at 0200. But even with all that, it was one of the most beautiful sailing nights I can remember. And I loved it.


Sunday, August 28, 2005

WNR - Series III - Race 4

Crew: Glen, Brian P., Pat
Competitors: 247, 550, 484

With 8-10kts from the north, we started 5 lengths off the line (time
to shoot the helmsman) and under jib while Pat finished setting up the
foredeck. Towney, along with Harry & TC, started at the pin end.
With the tide slack, we chose the boat-third and I think we did well
with the better reaching angle it gave us to the channel marker. Soon
we had the chute up with Pat flying. At the channel marker we had
made up our starting deficit and were right behind Harry, slightly to
leeward and two or three lengths behind Towney and TC. Held up by
Harry, I decided to go low and got lucky to blast through his shadow
as a wake collapsed his chute and he slowed. Coming up to course we
held the chute a bit longer than the others and did an ok douse. Pat
went below to repack the chute in anticipation of flying it into the
harbor while Brian and I worked our way to the "windward" mark, close

After Brian kept me in-line by pointing out that taking the bow
through the wind was technically called tacking, not gybing as I'd
thoughtfully declared, we rounded the mark nine lengths behind Towney
and two behind TC. This time close reaching on starboard back to the
channel marker we held mostly static, pulling away slightly from

Coming close-hauled after clearing the channel mark headed for the red
nun, though close to fetching, we finally got a chance to play upwind.
We got a good shift and tacked out first. Towney followed quickly
and TC a minute or two later. It paid off as we crossed TC by a
couple lengths and gained a few on Towney. Towney played
conservatively and overstood a few lengths to lock-in the mark. I'd
guess we were 6 lengths behind him at the nun.

Though ready, we delayed hoisting the spinnaker while watching boats
both ahead and behind struggle to carry it. (Looking back maybe we
should have thrown it up right away to see what we could get. Though
I'm sure Towney would have followed suit directly and I don't think we
could have caught them at this point.) Towney finally popped the
chute nearing the green can and we followed, albeit a bit more slowly;
first trying to hoist one of the clews to the masthead and then
lowering it for Pat to, impressively, quickly correct on deck.

We slowly ran a straight shot through the harbor and finished three
minutes behind Towney. A second ties us with Towney for the series.

Pat did a great job on foredeck and Brian was awesome doing
*everything* else. Thanks guys!

Also, Ginny and John, with two guests, took Morning Light out to watch
the festivities. Thank you for the mobile cheering section! I'd like
to see the pictures.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

WNR - Series III - Race 3

Crew: Scott, Mark, Glen, Brian P., Andréa and David
Competitors: 247, 550, 484

On the way out, and based on the Way-Cool Wind Site, one had to question whether a race would be had. It was calm, calm, calm. It was wakeboard, go-home-and-ski calm.

However, God saw fit to provide a bit of breeze, and by the time of our start, we were in good shape. We had originally figured we should head right to catch some shore breeze. By the time we were up near the line, we found ourselves concerned that with only 2:50 to go, we might not have time to spin LinGin around and get back on the line. So, sticking with the idea that clear air and speed will win the night more than position on the line, we meandered down the line, and started with speed (if you could call it that) and clear air, but clearly heading left.

247 followed us, and Towney went right (what a surprise!) . We played the shifts until we hit the port layline, and then were pretty much forced back to the right. In retrospect, I think we should have tacked sooner just to keep from getting stuck left. The 30° shifts didn't help us either.

At the windward mark, Towney and Harry (484) had us by a bit. So we knuckled down, raised the chute and set out sites on Towney. We passed Harry pretty easily with Scott playing the shifts very well, and getting our pole way down due to the light air. Neither Harry, nor Towney got theirs down. We pursued Towney all the way to the red nun, and by the mark were only 1.5 boat lengths behind. (Great work Scott!)

Then Brian, Mark and I worked the reach in. Mark and Brian were constantly adjusting the sails, and working as a team, we were able to walk right over Towney. It was a pretty incredible move, as Towney is very good in light air.

We held the lead all the way to the end, which unfortunately came before we finished: 50 yards from the finish, the time limit expired. Ugh.

That's what we call a great moral victory. Excellent work everyone!!!

WNR - Series III - Race 2

Crew: Scott, Mark, Glen and David(!) (Brian Palmer was no injured reserve, due to a knee injury last week.)
Competitors: 247, 550, 484

David joined us on this race. It was his first ever Alberg race. The first of many more to come!

The wind was light and out of the south, but it enough to get us going and keep us going. We had a good start and while Towney headed south to the shore (his standard move), we stuck to the left and found a bit more wind. Converging on the windward mark, we were on starboard, and thought we hoped for a nice lift, we needed to tack out to make the layline. Towney crossed behind us on port tack--quite to my surprise, as during the upwind leg we were quite far apart, and I had the feeling he was actually ahead.

I decided when we crossed him that we should take the opportunity to tack out, while we had a bit of separation. Towney tacked back to starboard to make the mark, and with the light air, I knew we either had to tack inside of him and hope to accelerate quickly enough to keep from being rolled, or duck him and be squarely behind him, hoping to make up time on the next leg. In addition, if we tacked inside, we had to hope that Towney overstood the layline enough that we could make the mark.

So, we quickly tacked inside of him, and "lee-bowed" him. This means we tacked right inside of him, such that we ended up slightly to leeward of him and right on his bow. (See the picture below. LinGin is white, and Skybird is crab fat yellow.)

The green marks show what happens to the wind around a boat. There is not only a turbulence to leeward, but also to windward. The turbulence is much bigger to leeward, and that's why we stay out of other boats' wind shadow. However, the turbulence can be just as devastating to windward. In this case, Towney was already pinching to ensure he could get around the mark, so he couldn't come up any further. He couldn't come down to go below us; he had to make the mark. So we stuck it to him, and it worked this time. (It's not often you get to do something like this to Towney!)

As an aside, there are times when we will be on starboard tack, and a port-tacked boat will be converging on us. There may be times when we duck the port tacker and tell them to cross. This is because it is better to have them cross then to lee-bow us. This can be especially if the port tacker is not a seasoned sailor, since they may think they can't cross and inadvertently lee-bow us.

Once we got around that mark, we were in fat city. Scott flew an excellent downwind leg, and even coming into the harbor we had good speed and carried the victory!

Way to go crew. Nice race!


Friday, July 29, 2005

WNR - Series III - Race 1

Crew: Brian P., Scott, and Glen
Competitors: N/A

The weather reports were typical enough: evening thunderstorms. However, when we rounded the spider bouy at 1800, and only saw 4 boats, we knew something was up. Turning on the weather radio, we heard, "t-storms moving at 35 MPH, 60 MPH gusts, and penny-sized hail..". Hmm...I wonder if they cancelled the race?!

We could see the sky darkening, but there was time, so we set the spinnaker and ambled back to Whitehall without the noise of an engine. Just as we came around the point to Mom's pier, the storm hit, and did it hit! We saw a crazy osprey try to fly in microbursts which was amusing. The storm snapped trees, and knocked out the power basically in all of 21401!

We lit candles and ate our sandwiches while watching the storm. Mom didn't get her power back Thursday around 1800!

Here's to better luck next week.


Solomons Island Pictures

Brian Palmer, LinGin Crew, Artist and Skilled Photographer, has provided us with some cool pictures from the Solomons Race. Truth be told, in our 15 hours and 15 minutes of racing, we only flew the spinnaker for about 20 minutes. However, it did bring the wind when it was dead. (This is when Brian took these pictures; we look pretty excited, don't we?) The spinnaker also makes for prettier pictures too. IMHO.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

WNR - Series II - Race 6

Crew: Brian P., Scott, Mark and Glen
Competitors: 550, 247, 484

It looked like it would be a light air night according to the weather reports, and on the way out we weren't sure. The race committee wasn't sure either and gave us easily the shortest course we've ever had.

A spinnaker start, we chose to start toward the pin end of the line while everyone else duked it out at the boat end. The boat end was favored, but we felt the better angle on the wind would give us the extra speed we needed to beat them to the first mark.

As it turned out, there was a bit of a thermal breeze near the shore that gave 550 and the rest a bit of a head start on us, but in the end our bet paid off. The angle gave us speed and we beat them around the mark.

While 550 was able to get their nose inside us on the rounding due to a large group of boats going around all at once, (there was no room for "wide, then tight") we exhibited good boat speed, and bearing off a bit took the solid lead.

There is some disagreement among the crew about our next move. Heading up wind to the red nun, we decided to tack and stay left. My thinking was to stay in clear air and to have an inside position at the mark. Towney, however, decided to go right. This gave him the ability to get outside of all of the big boats coming into the mark, where as we had to stay inside of them. I think we should have stuck to the age old advice to cover them while you're ahead. Certainly when we have better boat speed.

Once around the nun, it was a reach into the finish and while we did a great job of catching up, we finish about a boat length behind at the end in second.

The crew did a great job--especially Scott in flying the chute to the first mark--and I look forward to our next shot at Towney!


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Solomons Island Race

Crew: Brian, Glen, Scott and Tim
Competitiors: 247, 484, 57, 227

With new batteries, a new hatch cover, new instruments up and mounted, and our wealth of experience from last year's win on our way to Solomons, the crew of LinGin set off Friday evening, looking forward to the adventure that lay ahead. I felt like we got off to a pretty good start; we weren't late, and other than Brian making the revelation that Glen had forgotten to bring the power inverter to power the laptop (Doh!) we seemed to have what we needed.

The forecast was lousy: HOT, light air out of the south, and thunderstorms. (Did I mention HOT?) We had a fair amount of discussion about the effect of the current on the race, and how that should play into our plans. "Current is king," I had said before the race. Along the lines of "don't forget stuff", I told everyone to print out the race particulars and all the current info. Well, that happened and we had plenty of data.

Our start was great. Close-hauled on starboard tack with clear air, Glen had sighted the line so we were about 1 1/2 boat lengths closer to the line than anyone else. With about 6 kts of breeze we tacked out of the Severn and made it around Tolly Point leading the Albergs.

As we came upon Thomas Point Light, the sun was long gone and darkness set in. At that point we knew 57 was behind by roughly 10 to 15 boat lengths, with 247 not much further back. The breeze began to falter at this point, and I worried that we were not doing a very good job of keeping the boat going. Night racing is hard in part because all of your visual references are obscured; many times you may think things are going well, when in fact, if you could turn on the lights, you'd see how poorly you were doing.

Ring, ring! At 2330, Andréa called. "There are HUGE thunderstorms up here in Annapolis, are you guys okay?" We were fine, and by God's grace, we had been watching the lightning north of us and south of us, but hadn't even felt a drop of rain! As it turned out, we never hit a storm throughout the whole race.

As Brian and Scott worked to chart a course for us, we decided the western shore would be the best route to take. Trying to time your position, you want to be in deep water when the current is with you, and shallow when it is against you. However, at roughly 0200, Glen pulled out the current data he had printed out, and guess what. It completely conflicted with what Scott and Brian had printed out. On the boat, the only way to really know what the current is doing is to pass something that is fixed in the water (e.g. a crab pot, a navigation mark, etc.) and look to see how the water is flowing against it. (If we were confident we had the knotmeter tuned properly, we could have compared our speed through the water--from the knotmeter--to our speed over the ground--from the GPS; but we're not very confident in our knotmeter.)

With that disheartening information, we plowed ahead with our westerly strategy, feeling a bit less confident. At night you can't tell who is who, so while you can see the lights of other boats, and at time pass or are passed by other boats, you really don't have much of an idea as to where you stand until the sun comes up. We were a bit concerned because we didn't see many lights all.

As the sun rose, we didn't see any Albergs. The wind completely died around 0600 and I awoke from a nap to find Brian in the bosuns chair hanging from the boom. Something about getting the sail shape right for light air?

Note the heavy breeze on the water.

After Brian came in, Scott was sure the wind (what wind?!) was coming from the north, so with some prodding, we set the spinnaker. And guess what? The breeze came up almost immediately. It was out of the south, so down the spinnaker came.

We located 227 behind us a short while later, and sadly recognized 57 ahead of us as they rounded mark 76. Brian made us some great omlettes which tasted really great after staying up all night. He double the water for the pancakes, and I took over for him to cook them. Two lessons learned:

  1. When it's 98° out and 90% humidity, cooking on a butane stove down below is not an ideal way to cool off.
  2. It's not easy making pancakes on stove that is not gimbled when going upwind in 9kts of breeze healing over 15°.
I learn new stuff every race, I tell you.

At that point it was a foot race to the finish line. The only real question left was whether Argo (247) was way ahead, or way behind. We flew the spinnaker across the finish line about 10 boat lengths behind 57, and a half mile ahead of 227. We were then informed that 247 had finished two hours earlier!

When we caught up with T.C., Argo's skipper, he said his whole tactic was to ignore the current and take the rhumb line (the most direct course) down the bay. So much for "current is king". Here's what our course looked like. The rhumb line is in purple and our course is the dotted, zig-zag line. (Except for the line at mark 76...that's what you get when you change the batteries on the GPS.)

So, a third for Solomons this year. Next year, maybe we'll go with Argo's strategy. Maybe we'll buy some real current charts? Who knows, but whatever we do, I'm sure it will be a blast!

Everyone did a great job, and it was a pleasure to race with you! Thank you wives, for sharing some precious weekend hours to allow us to do this crazy thing called sailboat racing. You are the best.


p.s. Glen and I dropped Brian and Scott off at Solomons and took off for home almost immediately. After a short fit of worry due to our inability to find the coffee we pack, we found it and we're quaffing some of the strongest coffee I've ever dared. With the southerly still prevailing, we put up the spinnaker and until we hit a lull before a storm about 5 miles south of Thomas point, flew the thing all the way home. Again, while we saw a lot of lightning, other than some heave rain off Tolly Point, we had a dry--but VERY HOT--ride home. Thanks, Glen!

Monday, July 18, 2005

WNR - Series II - Race 5

Crew: Brian P., Scott, Mark and Glen
Competitors: 550, 247, 484

[Editor's (Tim's) note: Due to a late Wednesday work appointment, I was unable to make this race, so Glen graciously voluteered (or did I tell him he had to?) to skipper LinGin.]

Sweating in the stillness of the ride over, we started wondering if
there would be a race. The Etchells started 5 mins late, which both
gave us extra time and confused me. (I still don't have the decoder
ring that makes starting sequence signals clear, so if the sequence
gets out of whack all bets are off.) And to add to my green skipper
dilemmas, it was a spinnaker start. We decided on the old stand-by
tactic: follow Towney. As it turns out, in the barely-a-zephyr
breeze, I didn't even do that very well. Most of the fleet chose the
slightly-better downwind sailing angle of the pin end, while we ended
up on the boat end. And got lucky for it: the building breeze on that
leg reduced the advantage of a larger tacking angle downwind. Since
the AC course led us past R4 and the spider, we had a more direct line
to the first mark and were doing well. At R4 we had a 5-6 length
lead. Occasionally, it truly does pay to be lucky rather than good.

Just after passing R4, our new course and the slowly clocking breeze
required a jib hoist/spin douse. Building and clocking
simultaneously, the course to the F drop mark turned into a proper
windward leg. And build it did. With grey overcast skies the
embedded thunderstorm was invisible until the wind jumped and the
stinging rain hit at the same time. Just a wee bit overpowered, we
worked slowly through reefing the main. Afterward Scott alertly
repacked the chute in case the storm passed by the time we rounded F
and embarked on the newly-downwind leg.

Sailing delicately, my main goal being to not break anything, Argo
passed us and rounded first. Rounding the mark we did a
long-way-round tack rather than gibing in that wind. Towney was about
5 lengths behind rounding the mark. We were under reefed main and
full jib running almost dead downwind. We tried wing-and-wing for a
few minutes with some success. At this point I happened to look back
to see a distinct line on the water. I hollered for the jib to be
doused. It turned out to be merely *harder* rain and not a gust.
(BTW, all this time we're sailing with no companionway hatch cover.
The temporary plywood very susceptible to the wind and us with no
spare hands to lash it down anyway. I wondered idly what Tim's
response would be to us sinking the boat with rain water.)

Other than Towney and a couple big boats ghosting through, we had no
visible references. Slowly the spider came into view and even abeam
the spider, Greenbury Point and the southern bank were obscured.
Scott, having been busy on deck dropping and securing the jib, had a
chance to look around, smiled, and asked, "Just for reference, where's

During this time, I have to say, was a very cool experience. With
limited visibility, high wind creating very uniform chop waves, heavy
rain giving the water a matte texture, and colder rain on warmer water
causing small bits of mist to form in the troughs, it was an unusual
sight. It's too bad we weren't carrying a submersible camera.

With the jib down and most things stable, we talked about our options.
I was not sure I wanted to sail the harbor in those conditions. We
decided to keep going that direction and hope the storm passed. We
got inside R4 again and, with no signs of clearing and the knowledge
that we'd have to pound back upwind in 25kts to round the spider to
get home, we decided it was time to abandon. We started the engine
and motor-sailed back under reefed main eating soggy sandwiches and
reveling in our choice of hobbies.

Except for the bummer of not finishing, it was a fun race. We didn't
get the boat too soggy, it was hot enough that rain didn't chill us,
and we got some exercise...both physical and mental. It's too bad Tim
wasn't there to see it with us and take us over the finish line, but
we had a blast none-the-less. As it turned out, only Skybird and Argo
finished so we ended up with 3 points and retained our lead for the

Thanks to Mark, Brian, and Scott for doing all the hard work!


Thursday, July 07, 2005

WNR - Series II - Race 4

Crew: Brian P., Scott, Glen, Andréa, Steve & Kirsten Brown and Tim
Competitors: 247, 484

Oldfriendss made this race all the more fun. Steve and Kirsten Brown came along, and other than a wet ride over due to a strong southerly, appeared to enjoy themselves a great deal.

Towney was out this week, as most of his crew was on an Alberg cruise.

With a poor start, we wound up in the back of the pack coming off the line in a good strong breeze. It was good to have extra crew along to help hold down the rail. Argo (247) was in front of us and a bit to windward at the start. We bore off to get power and speed to hopefully move by him to leeward. It looked like this strategy would work, until Argo came down and covered us. It was a good tactical move on his part, because we couldn't get behind him at that point (we were too close to passing him), and we couldn't bring him up (we were the overtaking boat).

We had the same course as the previous two weeks, and with the wind from the south, it was a straight shot out to the channel mark, then we fell off to head north to the first buoy. Argo stayed high at this point, and we took the rhumb line. However, at the mark Argo had an inside overlap, so we had to give him room. Here's where we made some errors.

In the picture, LinGin is in red and Argo is white. Our strategy coming around the mark called for us to tack immediately after the rounding. It was the longer tack, and as it turned out, you could make the mark as soon as you rounded if you tacked. What we hadn't considered was, what if Argo didn't tack! So, around we came, all ready to tack and Argo didn't. We had the snatch block on during the leg, and had forgotten to take it off, so when we tried to stay on starboard tack, we couldn't get the sail in. We sat in Argo's bad air until he tacked and we were able to come over and head for the mark. We were way behind before we got things back on track.

Now it would be a sad story, if it weren't for some excellent work by Scott on the spinnaker, and some very odd maneuvering by Argo. We took them on that leg, mainly by simply sailing the rhumb line, while they stayed very high. (Perhaps they didn't see the mark?) Once around Scott had a great set, and he simply locked Argo out of the rest of the race by the distance he put on them.

Entering into the harbor, we took the gun greatly enjoying the win. Andréa and I jumped off with Steve and Kirsten for dinner. (We can now recommend the Rockfish for dinner!)

The crew went back through a very fierce looking thunderstorm that somehow they completely avoided. You can see how wild it looked from a couple of shots Brian snapped.


Tim on the 2004 Solomons Race
(Photo: Brian Palmer)

See how much I like Solomons? It just makes me smile!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

WNR - Series II - Race 3

Crew: Brian P., Scott, Glen and Tim
Competitors: 550, 247, 484

What a great race! With no wind and overcast skies, we set out to pick up Glen from his downtown mooring. (His parents are in town, so they grabbed a mooring in the harbor to watch the end of the race.) Once on board, we hustled to the line, and with a t-storm blowing through and bring a strong wind out of the west, we quickly decided against putting the spinnaker up right at the start.

Towney and most of the Catalinas decided the pin was the place to be. We agreed with T.C. Williams and started on the pin third of the line, but a little bit away from the crowd. T.C. was over early, and after re-crossing the start, was never in the running. Towney was squeezed out at the pin by a Catalina, which held him up a bit.

Taking the lead to the first mark (course BA), we tacked on some shifts as the wind was all over the place after the storm. Shortly after rounding the mark, the wind died. Thankfully, we were around, and with whatever little air we could find, we did our best to use it to float toward the next mark.

Shortly outside the next mark, the wind started to pick up again. However, we had been drifting for quite some time. Would we make the 2040 deadline?

Scott flew the spinnaker for a bit, but the wind shifted forward and we put up the jib. Rounding the nun, and with less than 20 minutes to go, Brian said his GPS said we'd finish in 34 minutes. We found that hard to believe; we were cruising! But it did get us down.

Scott prepared to fly the chute in the harbor. We would do anything to get us across the line to get that gun!

While we couldn't put up the spinnaker, it started to look like we would make it! Brian informed us that he had programmed the route 50 bridge in the GPS and not the Spa Creek bridge. Doh!

With roughly four minutes left on the clock, we took the gun with a big cheer. Two guns, two weeks in a row. A great race. We now lead the series by 1 point. Here's to a great finish next week.


Monday, June 20, 2005

A Quick Summary to Start the LinGin Blog

The big news of 2005 is that Towney (Skybird 550) has retired from chasing High Point. After 7 straight wins, he's got a record that will stand a long, long time. LinGin's crew was very sad to hear this news as Towney was who we were after this year. Having lost twice by thousandths of a point in the past 7 years, and having finally put together a solid, regular crew, it really seemed like this could be the year. It was not to be. We wish Towney the best in retirement, and look forward to doing our best to beat him on those races he does make.

LinGin got off to a decent start this year with a 3rd overall in the 2005 NOOD. C.B. Currier (Infinity 57) showed that he had what it took to really lead the group with a definitive win.

Miles River Race
After that, the Annapolis to Miles River race was great--until the end. Taking the lead early and holding it until the last leg, C.B. pulled ahead as we rounded the final mark. The jib halyard wrapped around the shrouds, such that we could not put on any halyard tension. C.B. pointed higher and was faster all the way in. LinGin came in 2nd.

Twilight Race
The SSC Twilight Race was cancelled due to lack of wind. The crew of LinGin took the Emma Jane out and tried wakeboarding. That was fun. (But not as much fun as sailing!)

Osius Memorial Regatta
The Osius Memorial Regatta was another tough race. Leading the pack at the start, we did an admirable job up the first leg. T.C. Williams (Argo 247) had tremendous boatspeed and beat us, but we hung with Infinity (which we were happy about), and came around the mark in the forward part of the pack.

I have to mention that shortly after the start, I handed the helm over to Glen Becker. We need another helmsman, and Glen has the makings of a great one. He's confident, steady, well thought out, and has a great capacity to focus. However, on one port/starboard with Towney, we all (and I include Glen) got a scare. I'm sure we came within a gnat's eyelash of taking Towney's stern pulpit off. The only closer crossing I've ever seen was with Grandpa himself!

Then we tried to set the spinnaker, but since our ace foredeckman, Scott Whaley, was not on board, I (Tim) tried to put the chute up, only to have it wrapped around the forestay in a wicked way. It was so bad that we had to douse both the spinnaker and the jib and while I untangled, Brian Palmer re-packed the chute. By the time things were squared away, it was time to round the mark and we never set the chute. Needless to say we were no longer near the front of the pack.

We were a bit disappointed, and feeling a bit lazy as well. (It was very warm.) So we followed everyone all the way right for the next two upwind legs. At this point were next to last, with a definitive lead on Harry Gamber (Second 2 Nun 484). For some reason, on the last leg, Infinity decided that going left would be a good move. That gave us just what we needed, and crossing them at the finish, we beat them with a 4th place finish.

The next regatta is the long night favorite of the year...Solomons!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

LinGin's Racing Schedule 2005
(The plan is to do all the races listed as "H", which are High Point Races.)


Handicap & Cruising One-Design Divisions
H=High Point, S=High Point Southern Bay
D=Double-Handed n=Non-High Point






Annapolis YC

Lands End NOOD




Annapolis YC

Lands End NOOD




Annapolis YC

Lands End NOOD




Sailing Club of the Chesapeake

Annual Regatta Spring Race




Miles River YC

Annapolis to Miles River




Rhode River Boat Club

Miles River Race Back




Shearwater Sailing Club

Shearwater Twilight Race




Sailing Club of the Chesapeake

Ted Osius Memorial Regatta




Potapskut SA

PSA Overnight Race




Eastport YC

Solomons Island Invitational




Corsica River YC

CRYC Annual Regatta




Magothy River SA

Corsica River Race Back




Naval Academy Sailing Squadron

NASS Race To Oxford




Tred Avon YC

Hammond Memorial Race




Potapskut SA

PSA Race to Queenstown




Potapskut SA

Queenstown Race Back




Shearwater Sailing Club

Good Old Boat Regatta




Shearwater Sailing Club

Good Old Boat Regatta




Potapskut SA

Alberg International




Potapskut SA

Alberg International