Sunday, September 23, 2012

Queenstown Race Back

The race back from Queenstown was most notable for the groundings of Albergs trying to get out of the anchorage.  After a wonderful breakfast, the raft broke up and we headed for the start.

Skybird was aground with both sails up and she was aground HARD!  We tried for 10 minutes with no luck and left to get to the line before the start.  On our way, we say Argo, jib up and hard aground.  They let us know that the A30 start was postponed to allow the boats to get off the ground, so we set to work helping them.  In this endeavor we were successful.

Skybird had a work boat come to their rescue, although it took about 40 minutes to get them off!

We were over early for the start, but with quick crew work, we were able to round the race committee boat and not lose too much time.  The wind was ~15 kts out of the north and during the first reach we were able to pass Laughing Gull to leeward by coming right up behind her and then powering up by falling off quickly and busting through her bad air.  I was happy to see us make that maneuver work.  It's never easy!

After that it was all about chasing Argo.  We tried to split with them.  They covered.  We tried to get out of the current.  We found lots of headers.  We tried shaking the reef in our main.  No discernible progress in catching them.  Argh-O!

Slowly, the wind began to die as we prepared to cross the bay.  The waves were still big and the power boat wakes in the river were not helping us at all.  LinGin felt under powered and pushed around by the waves.  I hate that feeling.  We loosened things up.  We fell off to power up.  Nothing seemed to help.  We were really scratching our heads.

On the final reach across the bay, we saw Argo continue to make gains.  At one point the wind almost completely died and we realized we were in a hole.  Argo seemed to get smaller and the boats behind were definitely getting bigger!

Thankfully, the wind picked back up and we kept the boats behind at bay.  Argo took the gun.  We were second and I'm pretty sure Skybird was third.

Any day sailing is a good day and this was no exception.  Now we need to think about how we can do better in those conditions!

South Winds and Fair Skies: Race to Queenstown

This past Saturday, we had the annual race to Queenstown.  The weather cooperated, blowing a fresh ~15 kts out of the south.  That was good news for those of us coming from the south--there's nothing worse than banging into big waves and a north wind for 2+ hours trying to get to Baltimore Light for the start.

Having done the Queenstown races for many years, I've found it usually be a fairly relaxing race.  Because the course takes us straight across the bay, it's often a long reach.  If the wind is coming from the right direction, the 13 mile race can have zero tacks!  (It's happened before; I was there.)   I think the race committee should have the option of giving us a mark for the race across that would give us at least one tacking leg.

Our start for this race was a little wacky.  Glen said, "the breeze is strong enough that we'd be okay with a Laser start."  He meant that it was windy enough that we could luff very near the start line, pull the sail in just before the gun and be up and going in short order.

I somehow managed to get us to the line a little early and pointed toward the race committee boat head to wind with about 30 seconds to go.  A small shift started us heading the wrong way--back away from the start!  I yelled to Glen to backwind the main, knowing full well that while that will cause a Laser to sail backward, it doesn't work very well on an A30.

Is a matter of a few seconds, we were relieved to see the boat push backward slightly and head toward the line.  Not the "Laser start" that Glen envisioned, but it worked for us!

From there we lead the group across the bay.  Since we were off the wind, we moved the jib cars forward until all the tell tales on the jib were breaking evenly.  We kept an eye behind--Windswept was less than 2 boat lengths back all the way to the first mark.

We rounded, wondering if we should have reefed the main; we were overpowered, but steady.  Not too long later it was clear that the setup worked.  We had distanced ourselves from the rest of the fleet.

The final leg was downwind and you better believe that Scott was itching to put the chute up.  We didn't really need it to protect our position.  However, we all like a good chute run, so we put it up.  After a fitful start with some rounding up, we got her under control and were charging to the finish.

We soon realized that we had a shot of getting line honors (being the first boat in the whole race to finish) with a PHRF boat gaining quickly on us.  We hunkered down and sailed our fastest.  All of us were quite sure we got the line honors, but the race committee at the awards ceremony suggested the PHRF boat got us by 3".  Bah humbug!  We did it.  I saw it.  :)

It was a gorgeous evening on the bay.  I actually had the chance to join the band and play some guitar at the party.  We tested out LinGin's new grill with good results: steak + sweet potatoes = happy crew.

Nice work crew!  (We had Glen, Peaches, Ryan, Scott and me.)

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Very Funny Video

From the Alberg 30 Racing Blog, we introduce, Grace, the roving Wednesday Night Race reporter on the scene of an exciting situation...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Another Disappointing Hammond Race

The Hammond Memorial Race back from Oxford started promisingly enough.  We had a spinnaker start and built a nice lead on the fleet.  As has been known to happen, the wind died on the last leg of the course; the 8.2 nm (long) leg of the course.

The time limit is 7 hours and we spend a few agonizing hours doing everything we could think of to go faster, while anxiously watching the GPS ETA.  Some times we were going to finish 3 hours too late and at other times (when the wind was up) we were going to make it by 10 minutes.

Ultimately, it was not meant to be.  We finished in 7 hours and 6 minutes.  Very, very disappointing.

I plan to petition TAYC to give us another hour to finish.  This distance is just outside the safe range that an A30 can do in 7 hours!

LinGin Comes From Behind in the Oxford Race

The weather for the 58th annual race to Oxford, MD looked great for the race down.  Sunny skies and 15 kts out of the north.  LinGin just had her bottom done for the first time in 3 years, so she was ready and so was the crew.

I jumped under LinGin to wipe down the bottom.  It is so smooth now that a washcloth did the job.  Beautiful!  No more sea nettles now, so I was a happy camper.  The crew arrived and stowed the provisions, fueled LinGin up and we were ready to go.

However, LinGin's engine was not ready to go.  After many attempts, we decided to steal the battery from the power boat to see if that would help...and sure enough, she started right up.  Unfortunately, it looked like we'd be 10 minutes late to the start!

Going into the race, we were behind Argo in the High Point standings.  Argo won the NOODs and the Miles River race.  Oxford is a long race at 29 nm, and therefore gets "bonus points" in the scoring.  We needed to beat Argo in this race if we wanted a shot at High Point!

Fortunately, once LinGin's engine got going, she was ready to do some work.  We got to the line just in time for the start, but were very frustrated by our inability to locate the check in boat.  If we didn't check in, it was a 20% penalty.  Ouch!

We were first across the line and started very near the boat end so we could yell at the race committee.  Maybe we could check in with them?  No luck.  They did point us to the little check in boat 300 yards south--and downwind--of R2.  This was not the "300 yards NE of R2" that was stated in the race particulars.

To avoid the 20% penalty, instead of heading downwind toward the first mark, we reached across the line to the check-in boat and checked in.  We immediately turned south and put up the spinnaker, which in 20+ kt gusts and 2-3 ft rolling seas can be quite exciting.

Peaches overheard some of our discussion about the chute and asked, "what's a death roll."  We did our best to explain it, but said, "trust us, you'll know it if it happens."  Not more than 5 minutes later, we had a serious knock-down that, had we not responded quickly would have developed into a serious death roll.  Peaches, laughing, said, "I like it!"  He's nuts.  We took down the chute.

The first leg is 11 nm and running wing-in-wing, we saw speeds over the ground in excess of 10 kts.  Sweet!  Windswept was ahead of us, as was Laughing Gull and Skybird.  We couldn't find Argo anywhere, but with the rush to the start and the crazy check-in, we thought we might have missed them.

Scott had been disappointed in our decision to forgo the spinnaker, so when we finally decided to put it back up, he was fired up!  This time the wind had steadied out a bit and was manageable.  We had a few tricky moments, but with hard work we were able to keep the boat under control.

By the first mark, Scott had helped us get ahead of Skybird and Laughing Gull.  Windswept was a good bit ahead of us and didn't fly their chute.  While we made some distance up with the spinnaker, it was going to take more to catch them.

The next leg was a reach and while we put more distance on the boats behind, we couldn't get any closer to Windswept.  The final leg was a beat to the finish line and to maximize our chances of getting past Windswept, we decided to split with them as much as possible.

First, we decided to reef the main.  It appeared that Windswept was going to keep full sails up and the wind was heavy enough that we thought the reef could help keep us flat going upwind.  Secondly, we watch Windswept stay on port tack coming around the mark to the last leg, so we tacked to split with her.

Ultimately, the splitting paid off.  We found out later that Windswept had trouble being overpowered and one tack involved a tangled jib sheet.  A few tacks up the creek and we were rewarded for our persistence with the gun.

We haven't run the numbers yet, but we're pretty sure this puts us in the lead for High Point.

Nice work crew!

p.s. Glen actually took a customer support call during our stay in Oxford.  Now that's dedication!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

LinGin Takes 1st in the 73rd Annual PSA Overnight

Glen, Scott and I had a great time racing this weekend.  Scott was aboard for the first time in a long time due to moving across town and becoming a landlord.  It was an important race for us; Argo beat us in the NOOD and to St. Mikes.  We were feeling the heat in the High Point standings!

The wind was a nice 5+ kts out of the NE for the start at Baltimore Light.  Scott and Glen did a great job of getting the spinnaker up quickly and jumping us to the head of the pack.  Argo wasn't far behind and we were happy to see some maneuvering among Laughing Gull, Windswept, Skybird and Argo behind us.

At some point, Argo started pointing further south than the rest of the fleet.  We wondered if he hadn't seen the note that the course would be changed to give the boats that draw 9 ft. a mark with deeper water than Sandy Point Light.  The new course was posted on the committee boat.  Did they miss it?

At the first mark, we lead the A30 fleet.  Argo rounded 11 minutes after us.  Frankly, we were disappointed that it wasn't going to be a more competitive race.  However, we did remind ourselves that we were only finished about 7 miles of a 38 mile course.

During the next leg the wind completely died.  It was fitful death, slowly decaying, coming back lightly and then a final glassiness.  We looked far behind and Argo and Laughing Gull were literally pointing 180 degrees from each other; both orthogonal to the course to the mark.  We wondered if the course would be shortened.

Argo sail/drifted toward the eastern shore during this bobbing period and we did a pretty good job of staying toward the rhumb line in the middle of the bay.  We felt good about this.  I was uncomfortable when Glen pointed out what appeared to be a wind line out to the east.  I was flabbergasted when, while our knotmeter read 0.0 kts., Argo, off in the distance, was throwing off a bow wake like she was under full power.

Slowly...waaaay too slowly, the wind line came to us.  As we converged with Argo at the next mark it was clear that Argo was ahead by at least 3 boat lengths.  Curses!

At this point we definitely got our wish for a competitive race!  With the wind up to 15 kts. and spinnakers up, Scott was loving it.  Glen and I did our best to keep the pole adjusted and help trim.  It was interesting to have 7 miles to work on covering Argo from behind.   I've always found it difficult to know where our wind shadow is.  The true wind + apparent make it tricky to predict.  

We figured out the wind shadow and with Glen urging Scott, "Be agressive Scott.  Now is the time to be aggressive," we found ourselves catching Argo.  At the next mark we were the inside boat about 1/2 boat length ahead. 

I'm not sure how we got the spinnaker down in that much wind, while bringing in the jib and the main, but we did.  (Having seasoned crew is such a luxury; I highly recommend getting some.)  That rounding gave us the headway we needed and we scooted ahead.

Usually the wind on the bay comes from the north or the south.  If you looked at the course for the PSA Overnight, you'd see we cross the bay four times: west to east, east to west, south to north and then north to south.  Because of this, there is always a long tacking leg in this regatta.  Oddly enough, we never had to tack on any leg of this course.  (Unless you count the bobbing around during the calm.)  The wind kind of circled around an we were either downwind or reaching the whole way.  How strange!

The last leg was a beautiful reach from Pooles Island Light to Baltimore Light on a moonless night.  The stars pierced the deep night sky and the breeze was strong and chilly.  It was great to hear an actual gun go off as we crossed the line in first!  

The High Point competition continues!  Bring it on Argo!  :)

(Since it was dark, I'm not sure of the finishing order at this point other than our spot.)    

Friday, June 08, 2012

Fun LinGin Videos

We love having a professional video/photographer along on LinGin.  Brian Palmer has captured some neat shots of LinGin over the years and we needed a central place to keep them all.

If you're new to LinGin or just curious, check these out.  Thanks, Brian!

LinGin at the 2013 NOOD

LinGin on a WNR at 1200X Speed!

LinGin on the 2005 Hammond Memmorial

"Shark Fishing with Children" on LinGin

Thursday, May 31, 2012


Last night's WNR saw lightening breeze out of the south and an "A1" course for the A30 fleet. We had a decent start and, watching the many fleets before us, headed left. Argo saw a little more pressure near the shore on the right side of the course and headed that direction almost immediately. Second2Nun was the only one that follow Argo.

By the top of the course, it was clear that going right was the way to go. Argo had a signficant lead on the the fleet and we were trading tacks with Second2Nun. We rounded in second, closely followed by Skybird and Second2Nun. Laughing Gull and Asylum came next.

The downwind leg saw the breeze get even lighter (floater conditions at times) and unfortuntately for us, the big boats caught up with us on the way back from their longer course. The RC properly finished the race at the red nun allow, I think, all classes to get a race in. Argo took first and we took second. The rest of the fleet looked very even coming in, but we didn't stick around long enough to see the actual order. They were moving at a snails pace.

It was a beautiful evening to be on the water and I think we all had fun. I know I did!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

2012 Wednesday Night Race

Glen posted a re-cap of the WNR I missed while I was in CA for business this week.  Catch it here:

Alberg 30 Racing Blog

2012 NOOD Day 3

We headed into Day 3 with high hopes.  Tied with Argo for first, we needed to beat them to take first.  For reasons we're not altogether clear on, LinGin is not as fast as Argo in lighter air.  We prayed for moderate breeze!  We did not get it.

We sailed the best we knew how but could never get the boatspeed we needed, and Argo was not about to give us the opportunity to get leverage.  In the end, we took second behind Argo with Windswept in third.

For about 30 minutes the RC waited to see if there would be enough wind for another race.  With little time before the awards ceremony and the Bay looking quite calm, they told us to all head back to shore.

Of course by the time we were in Whitehall Creek, there was a nice breeze blowing.  We'll get 'em next year!

Saturday, May 05, 2012

LinGin finishing the WNR

Rachel Meinhold grabbed this cool shot of LinGin finishing the Wednesday Night Race under spinaker earlier this week from the AYC webcam.  Thanks, Rachel!

2012 NOOD Day 2

The second day of the NOOD started with light winds and a heavy ebb current.  The race committee got off three races in a building breeze.

The first race was remarkable in that the wind was barely strong enough to allow the boats to cross the starting line.  We got a bit lucky in that we stayed close to the line before the start.  However, at 2 minutes before our start, the wind died and we realized we might not make it over.  We did cross, but after 20 minutes of sailing we were maybe twenty boat lengths course-side of the line.

In the first race, Argo beat us.  They were clearly faster in those conditions; we had a sizable lead after the start and even when close to them we couldn't keep up.

For the second race there was a decent breeze and while the current wasn't as strong, it was still a factor.  We wanted to go west toward Hackett's Point to get out of the deeper water, but Argo went east and we decided we need to cover them.  Unfortunately, not only did Argo beat us out going right, but Laughing Gull went deep to the west and pulled ahead too.  We took a 3rd and Argo taking the gun.  That put a boat between us in the scoring--not good.

The final race found us with a good breeze.  Skybird fouled Argo at the start and gave us a bit of a lead.  At the windward mark, we had a very close bunch of boats: Laughing Gull, Windswept, Argo and us all rounded together.  Painfully, we were in fourth.

All day we had been doing a bear-away set and then gybing a short while after the set.  Argo had been doing gybe sets all day.  As we came around the mark, we were a foot or two behind Argo and in their haste to get the chute set, they rounded the mark wide, leaving a nice hole for me to nose into.  We were both on starboard, but for Argo to raise their chute, they need to gybe first.

Gybing onto port, Argo tried to cross us, but clearly couldn't and had to immediately gybe back.  It was a great moment, since they couldn't set the chute until we gybed or they slowed down enough to go behind us.  I wish I could say I saw that coming, but I didn't.  I think I'll remember next, though!

We got our chute up quickly and at the same time the pressure went up significantly.  We passed the others going downwind and charged around the leeward mark.  After a heavy air jaunt up to the windward mark, we quickly popped the chute and charged back toward the finish.

The chute ride was a wild one.  We had a tough set with a twist in the sail.  Brian did a great job getting it untwisted and we all worked together to keep it under control.  The adrenaline was pumping between the chaos of the spinaker and the excitement of taking the lead.  Pretty soon we rocketed across the finish line.

The great news for us was that Windswept successfully beat Argo, give us a boat between and tying the series 7 points to 7 points.  Tomorrow's race will determine the winner of the NOOD and the Maple Leaf Trophy.

I'm really proud of our crew today: Glen, Ray, Brian, Ryan and David.  They all put in a lot of hard work and it paid off!

Friday, May 04, 2012

2012 NOOD Day 1

The first day of the NOOD had a slow start.  Fog socked us in, followed by breeze, no breeze and massive shifts.  Finally, in the early afternoon the race committee felt the breeze was steady and stable enough to send us on a race.

Waiting in the fog
This had to be the strangest start I've ever seen...I wish I had time to grab my camera.  We were the fifth class to start and by the time we started, the J30s were heading back downwind under spinaker.  Moments after the start our breeze shifted roughly 180 degrees, turning our upwind beat into a downwind leg.

Most of the Albergs quickly set our chutes and for about 5 minute we were heading straight toward the windward mark, and the J30s were under spinaker heading straight at us (and their downwind mark).  Very strange.

Ultimately, Argo took the lead and by the first mark, Windswept had us too.  For a bit on the downwind leg, we had Windswept, but by the rounding he had us again.

Heading back up to the windward mark for our second lap, we went right along with Argo and Laughing Gull.  Windswept decided to head left, but at the windward mark it was clear that the right had been significantly favored.

This leg was very frustrating as Laughing Gull came up from behind in a lane of pressure and simply drove over top of us.  Adding to the joy and excitement of the moment was Ray, who while trimming jib for us, kept blurting out, "Here comes Laughing Gull and boy are they fast".  After the third or fourth mention of the Gull's superior speed, I politely suggested he zip it.

Rounding the windward mark for the last time, we saw a window open up.  As Argo and Laughing Gull bore off to round, we caught up to them a bit.  The course has two marks that you have to round and as we followed them to round the second, they rounded tight and then wide, leaving a space for us to sneak inside.

Well, you don't have to give much of an invitation, and I took this one.  Garrett, Ray and Glen did a great job executing a quick gybe to get us a very nice angle on the mark.  We poured all of our focus on going as fast as we could for the rest of that leg.  When we reached the finish, we had a nice lead on the others and took the gun.

We had a great time in a hard fought race.  It was nice to see everyone out for the season and look forward to the next two days of racing.

The storms brought some crazy clouds