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!