Monday, July 01, 2013

The Slow and Stormy Osius Race

LinGin raced in the Ted Osius Memorial regatta this Sunday.  Glen, Garrett, Vlado and I had quite an enjoyable afternoon on the boat.  In the middle of the second time around the windward-leeward course, a strong thunderstorm motored through the race course.  Lots of rain and sporadic lightning, but thankfully no strikes too close.

It was a very frustrating race.  Argo led the whole race, with Windswept not far behind them.  We were in 3rd fight hard to keep in front of Second-2-Nun.  LinGin has had a disturbing lack of speed the last few races.  Glen, the crew and I are dumbfounded as to what the issue is.  We'll keep trying different things, but right now, it's all about making good tactical calls; we can't rely on boat speed for the win these days.

Once back at the dock, we started the repair to our backstay.  Glen climbed in the lazarette and started grinding away.  Hot, dusty work.  Thanks, Glen!

I'll be starting some fiberglass work during this bye week for the Wednesday Night Races.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Longest PSA Overnight Race Makes for Great Racing

Many years, the PSA Overnight could have been called the PSA Late Evening race.  Not this year, though.  We finished around 0540 and I can't remember finishing after 0200...and I've been doing this race for 25 years!

Although the race was long, Glen, Tim and I had a great time on the water.  The race had a little something for everybody.  We saw the wind completely die for long stretches numerous times.  At one point the GPS said we'd finish in 2 days.  We saw the current take over the wind.  We actually anchored twice while trying to round Pools Island Light.  We saw the wind come out of the north, the west and finally the south.  

And we traded places with Windswept and Argo at least twice during the race!  I meant first, second and third place.  At times it was painful.  Argo and Windswept passed us to leeward on a 7 mile reach.  A few times it was tense.  We overtook Windswept in a little downwind duel as the night obscured everything.  It was very beautiful.  Great sunset with beautiful stars and a wonderful dawn.  Fantastic!

In the end, we overtook both Windswept and Argo on the last leg to take the gun at Baltimore Light.  Great times with great friends!

Blustery Winds Make for a FAST St. Mike's Race

The Williams family was joined by James Baden (MJ's friend) and the Beckers on the annual race to St. Michaels.  It was a very breezy race and with winds out of the north, we finished very quickly.  Windswept took us shortly after the start and we were unable to catch her before the finish.  

James especially and the kids in general were a big help during the race.

Can you find 3 people in this picture?

Everyone had a good time and James and Mackenzie rode their bikes back to Queenstown after spending the night on the boat.

LinGin Takes 1st at the 2013 NOOD

This year got off to a good start with LinGin and her crew taking first at the Annapolis NOOD.  It was a hard fought victory.  Each of the three days of the NOOD is scored individually for High Point and with the close racing it turned out that each day went to a different boat.  Windswept took one day, Argo another and LinGin the third day.  

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