Thursday, May 25, 2006

WNR - Series I - Race 6

Competitors: 550, 484, 247, 152 (Andante), 244
Crew: Brian, Nick, Glen, Tim

The wind was quite variable last night. As we watched the start, it didn't look to good: half the Etchell class started--close hauled--at the pin; the other half started--dead downwind with spinnakers up--at the boat. And so the night proceeded.

We were pushed over early by a bit of current and a bit of wind, near the boat end, and after a quick jaunt back over the line, we cleared and popped the chute heading for the first mark. We mixed it up with L'Orange from the Cal 25 class (arrrgh), but caught, then lost Towney by a couple boat lengths to the first mark.

The closer we got to that mark, we realized that the wind had quit at the mark. There were probably 30 boats all jammed in around the mark. Using a little momentum, and small breath of air, we took the advice of, I think it was Nick, or was it Brian? and went well wide of the bunch. It looked insane as 550 kept tight to the mark and we went about 100 yards wide of it. While the wind died, it shifted about 180 degrees. We found a hole in the mess of boats and keeping the spinnaker up, we made it through a hole. When the wind picked back up, Glen was flying the chute and passing J/105s and MORC boats!! Not the norm for an Alberg.

We took a sizeable lead at this point as Towney and the rest were tangled up in the rounding with the dozens of other boats. We jibed, came around the pin and carried the spinnaker all the way past the green can.

Unfortunately the wind completely died while we were in front of SSA. We sat there, within site of the finish, and watch the last 30 minutes of the time limit expire. We were still in first, but no gun was to be had last night.

Great work everyone! Especially Glen with some great spinnaker work. Scott, it was really sad not to have you along for this race.

BTW: I'm very happy with our downwind speed.

And CONGRATULATIONS! As you can see below, we took first for the first WNR Series this year! Great work everyone. It was a blast.

Let's see if we can show similar speed and skill on our way to St. Michael's this weekend.


Division: Alberg 30 (6 boats)

Pos Sail Boat Skipper 1 2 3 4 5 Total
1 244 LinGin Nurco, Virginia 3/DNC 1 [4/OCS] 2 1 7.00 1
2 247 Argo Williams, T.C. [2] 2 2 1 2 7.00 2
3 550 Skybird Liddick, Roberta 3/DNC 3 1 [4/DNC] 3 10.00 3
4 484 Second-2-Nun Bluntschli, Ralph 1 4 4/DNC 4/DNC [5] 13.00 4
5 152 Andante Maas, Louis 3/DNC [5/DNC] 4/DNC 3 4 14.00 5
6 79 A30 Binder, Paula 3/DNC 5/DNC 4/DNC 4/DNC [6/DNC] 16.00 6

WNR - Series I - Race 5

Competitors: 247, 152, 550, 244
Crew: Brian, Scott, Nick, Glen, Tim, Mark

Unfortunately, I'm a week behind in these posts, and I'm frankly a little fuzzy on this one. Sorry! If anyone recalls the details, please feel free to e-mail me them.

As I recall, we had a good start with the wind out of the south. We lead all the way around the course. With good transitions, it was mainly a foot race. Scott did a great job with the spinnaker and we made good time and took the gun. (Although I do remember they use a horn and not the gun. :-( )

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

WNR - Series I - Race 4

Competitors: 247, 152 (Andante), 244
Crew: Brian, Scott, Nick, Glen

We got off on schedule and had good time to cruise behind the line to
watch things. The course was A3, one we hadn't sailed yet, and I'd
broken my own cardinal rule by not having race particulars on board!
Hmm, hope TC will steer us to the mark.

So we started on starboard, in the clear, about 15 seconds late to the
line. The nice 10kt breeze was steady but it took me a full minute to
find the groove and get her comfortable upwind. TC had us by 4 or 5
lengths but we were sailing with him, slightly to leeward.

As it turned out the upwind leg was a hugely skewed, two-tack affair.
Our false tack (we had the spin pole on top of the lazy jib sheet,
d'oh!) might have had TC wondering but didn't gain us anything .
Brian and Nick (Nick is learning the boat quickly!) did a good, clean
job on the tacks.

Our windward mark was the big boats' return leg rounding mark so our
upwind was a long, crowded gaggle of downwind boats. On the long
starboard tack run to the mark, I sailed poorly in the choppy water
and choppy wind and TC pulled away. Andante sailed well but went way
out to the left and lost a lot getting back to the mark.

The rounding was to starboard and could have been stressful had we not
lucked into a nice slot. Even on starboard, sticking our noses into
the swift-moving flood of big boats approaching the same mark on a
deep port-tack reach--so perpendicular to our course--, would have
made me nervous. We rounded and then took our time resetting the
chute and pole to the correct side before popping it and riding down
the hill. Scott did a great job flying and we made some time on the
Cal 25's in front of us.

Approaching the red nun we hoisted the jib nice and early,
transitioned Brian to trimming while Nick and Scott put in a nice
douse and we came up tight toward the harbor. Watching the lemming
herd of Cals pull away ever-so-slightly, pinching to get high of the
beautiful 139ft sailboat from Rhode Island anchored outside the
harbor, we chose to go low. Footing off, and getting lucky with the
wind holding steady, paid and we entered the harbor in front of the
whole group.

The pressure was nicely consistent in the harbor, and with relatively
few boats on moorings, we two-tacked to the line in 2nd a few minutes
behind TC.

Thanks for coming out guys! It's always a pleasure sailing with you.


Sunday, May 07, 2006

WNR - Series I - Race 3

Crew: Glen, Brian P., Nick, Scott, Mark, Andréa and Tim
Competitors: 550, 247 (484 is out for repairs after losing an upper shroud in the NOOD.)

A nice breeze and beautiful weather had us all eagar to start this one. The wind was out of the west, so Scott was excited for the spinnaker start.

We came in on the pin end with a bunch of other boats, and found a nice spot. We luffed a bit, then bore down for speed and had a nice start with speed--except for the fact that we were On Course Side (OCS), or "over early". The penalty for OCS is to turn around, and come completely back over the line and then start again. While you're heading back, you have no rights and have to keep out of everyone's way.

We swung around quickly upon hearing our name hailed, and headed back across the line. Luckily there was not much traffic behind us and we had waited to set the spinnaker (we had started on starboard and planned to quickly gybe to port and set), so it was a pretty quick jaunt back to the line. I heard our number hailed again on the radio, and was not sure if they were just calling us as OCS again, or calling us clear. As we were clearly heading back across the line, and I was pretty sure we were across the line, I swung us back around only to hear our number called once again. Again, we were unsure if they were calling us OCS or clear. We asked whether we were clear and they wouldn't answer. We asked for a repeat of the last call and heard, "244 OCS". Now we had the spinnaker up, and were quite a ways from the line. I was still unclear as to our status (were they repeating the last message before we cleared and were not calling boats cleared?) but I felt pretty sure that we had cleared the line. The result posting us as OCS, cleared it up for me though. :-(

Anyway, we raced hard, taking to the north, while 550 and 247 hugged the south shore. The current and the puffs favored our side and we caught up such that we passed 247 before the mark rounding and 550 shortly thereafter (but just by the skin of our teeth).

A Cal25 blanketed us once by pinching, and then as we tried to drive under, blanketed us by heading way too low. It was painful to watch 550 slip away.

Going into the harbor, we again tangled with boats rolling us and 247 slipped by as well as we passed the Chart House. Very painful.

Two lessons learned:
  1. Whoever is calling the line for the start will officially call us clear if we have to turn around for being OCS.
  2. Whereas the name of the game for the NOOD and Canadian races is the current, the name of the game for WNR is execution, followed closely by keeping clear of other boats (particularly from other classes).
I will be heading to Alaska on business this coming week and am hoping that Glen will take charge of LinGin and keep us going out there!

Everyone worked very hard during this race, and the execution was excellent! Good job.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

NOOD Picture

Here's another shot that Brian took. Probably the only one he got to take during an actual race. Note Towney in the distance. This is a stressful time; we're doing everything we can think of to go as fast as possible.
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Monday, May 01, 2006

NOOD Pictures

Mark tried unsuccessfully a number of times to lose his hat this weekend. He was psyched as the rest of us at our performance.

Ahh, the sound of sweet victory! What a great moment. (Even if Brian was a few milliseconds behind with the camera.)

Scott, I'm not saying you should be scared, but Glen is really getting good at foredeck! Check out THE ROCKET!

Guess how I felt when I was over an hour late for Sunday's racing?

NOOD Postscript

I went the the post race party to quickly grab our loot and go. I'm not much for these big parties. I when LinGin was called, I made my way forward and took our bag of goodies and noticing C.B. and Towneys' crews sitting up front, went over to congratulate them.

They were all so encouraging and excited for us, and it really made me be proud to be part of this great Alberg 30 class. We were the oldest class in the NOOD. (Did you know that LinGin is 39 years old this year?!) Those guys are very classy and I'm really proud to have them as competitors.

Towney, as many of you know, has a special place in my heart. He is one of the most giving people I have ever known. He will take time, energy and money to help you out, and he'll do it expecting nothing in return. He is one of the best sailors I've ever known, and one of the most humble. (It's actually quite madding at times; I want to know all the technical reasons why he won, but he keeps it very simple.) He's an excellent craftsman as well, and reminds me a great deal of my grandfather in that regard. I have truly enjoyed the time we have spent together working on Alberg projects.

Upon congratulating me with a handclasp, he smiled widely and said, "I'm so sorry! I felt so bad!" I laughed, and told him if there was anyone I was ok with losing to, it was him. I told him how incredible I found it that here he was at 82 (I think that's right), terrorizing us 'kids' less than half his age. I only pray that I am in such great shape at that age. With that he wrapped his arms around me in a big hug, and said, "I love you Timmy". "I love you too, Towney," I said back almost choking up.

That was quite possily one of the most special moments of my life.


2006 NOOD Regatta: A Great Weekend

Crew: Glen, Brian, Mark, Tim and Mike Klassen (new guy!)
Competitors: 550, 57, 247, 501, 562, 484

The NOOD is probably the biggest regatta on the Bay now. Just around 300 boats in four divisions make for quite a weekend. As the first High Point race of the year, it's a very important race for LinGin to place as well as possible.

The NOOD has a couple things going for it:
  • Spring weather: there's usually wind
  • Lots of boats: the seven Albergs this year was actually a very small number of boats
  • Three days of sailing!
I won't go into all the details of all the races. You'll all probably be sick of hearing the stories within a couple weeks! Here are the highlights.

After a shakedown race on Wednesday night (and getting the gun!), the new spinnaker was ready to go. We wanted to see how she faired in a foot race with Towney or C.B. Good news! She's up to the task. I can't say she's faster, but I can tell you that she will definitely hang with either of those boats.

Crew wise, fate tripped us up on Friday. We had expected to have Brian, Glen and myself all three days, with Mark joining for Fri. and Sat., and Xa joing on Friday. Xa had a server blow up at work early Friday and was dragged into the office. Mark ended up taking his son Adam in for a strep test. It was 10-15 kts. out of the north, and that turned out to be about as much as Glen, Brian and I could hande. We gave Glen a serious workout on the foredeck, but he was up to the challenge, and we did well.

The weather was almost identical everyday: ~10 kts. at 030°, with a killer ~2 kts. ebb tide. All the courses were up, down, up, down and finish. We raced off Hacketts point, south of the Bay Bridge. We went left four out of the five races. It was pretty predictable.

Friday was good day. Much to my amazement, we seemed to have figured out this north wind and heavy current racing condition. Going waaaay up in toward Hacketts Point, we got out of the 30 ft. water and into the 15 ft. water. It make a BIG difference. It looks crazy, though. You look like you've massively overstood the mark, and even as you come back toward it, it looks like you've overstood, but once you get in that 25-30 ft. of water, you slide sideways like mad. We watched C.B. tack three times to round the mark once. (He took three times to cross the starting line once too.) Ouch!

At the end of Friday, we were in 2nd, tied with C.B. and behind Towney. I didn't feel too bad about being behind Towney. He's the master, and if there's anyone I can lose to and feel okay about it, it's Towney.

Saturday we had one race. It was frustrating. We were in 1st rounding the mark for the second time, and with about 2.5 kts. of speed through the water, and being in deep water, went dead downwind toward the finish. About four boat lengths behind, Towney split with us. (We weren't thinking ahead enough to be ready to gybe to cover him.) I felt okay with this, but was a bit nervous because at 2.5 kts., we were at the edge of where downwind gybing might be faster that sailing straight downwind.

A Catalina (the class that started before us) crossed behind us heading left, causing some disruption to us, then gybed back and crossed back no more than 5 minutes later. I was fit to be tied, and said, "Pick a side!!!" He didn't get it, but at least he was gone. A few minutes later we realized the mistake we had made in not planning to cover Towney: he crossed the finish line about 2 boat lengths (if that) on a screaming reach to get the gun. Arghh!

The 2nd race that day had the wind die. We were probably a 1/2 mile ahead for a good portion of the race. It was when we finally got about 3 boat lengths from the mark that the wind died down enough for us to see the true effect of the current: making 2.5 kts. in LinGin (not a bad speed in light air), at 60° to the mark we were making 1 kts. VMG (toward the mark). Unfortunately in the deep water, we were in a 1.5 kts. current! We dropped the anchor and watched the speedometer show 1.5 kts. while we were standing still!

It was kind of interesting to see these races. Most of the races were only 3/4 of a mile from the start to the windward mark. It would take 30-45 minutes to get ot the windward mark, and then about 10 minutes to get back to the leward mark! Glen was whooped by the end of each race between packing the chute, running the lines and setting the pole--not to metion flying the spinnaker.

Saturday night and Sunday morning all I could think about was what we needed to do to beat C.B. Towney was a bit beyond my thinking, but I really wanted to stay ahead of C.B. After going for a run and eating breakfast, I got a call from Glen. "Hey, are you coming today?" he said. "Wait...AM I LATE?!!!" I asked. "Well, I think 1000 is late since we were supposed to leave at 0930," he said calmly. I was freaking out. How could I mess up the time with so much on the line?! I raced around like a mad man, and finally found a house in my neighborhood where I could run out on a dock and be picked up by the crew. Brian has pictures. I was terribly embarrassed. I'm sure there'll be an award at the Annual Dinner for me. :-)

Miraculously we made it with 10 minutes to spare. The first race was tough, and we thought Towney won again--little did we realize C.B. had actually caught him and jeopardized our 2nd place standing. Going into the last race, we traded 1st with C.B. a couple times. Usually, whoever could win the first leg got such a lead going downwind in the current that it was very hard to catch up later. We stayed as close as possible downwind the first leg, and THE ROCKET (along with Glen) held our position against him. When we came around the bottom pin, our rounding caught us up to him. He tacked right in front of us; it was arguble as to whether we should have protested him for tacking too close. Head headed left to the shore, just was we all had so many times before. We stayed inside of him and watched as he slowed and was headed the further he went. By the time we rounded the windward mark, we had a sizeable lead on everyone. We had worked very hard all weekend long to have good pointing and good boatspeed and it had paid off.

Crossing in first we were jubilant! It was such a great ending to the racing. We knew Towney was far behind, but since we thought he had had all bullets (1sts) so far, we had no idea how close we had come to taking 1st. At the post regatta party, I saw the scoring and was blown away. We had tied in points with Towney for first! He beat us because he beat us more times than we had beaten him, but still it was a great feeling. The crew had really clicked, LinGin worked and we had done well.

Thank you Glen, Brian, Mark and Mike (Mike came on Sunday and helped out. It was his first time on LinGin.). All the hard work, training and team work is really paying off. I have high hopes for High Point this year.

I have some awards for you guys!

As for everyone else, we wish you were there with us!


Division: Alberg 30 (7 boats) (top)

Pos Sail Boat Skipper 1 2 3 4 5 Total
1 550 Skybird Townshend, Rolph 1 1 1 2 6 11.00 1
2 244 LinGin Williams, Timothy 2 3 2 3 1 11.00 2
3 57 Infinity Currier, C.B. 3 2 3 1 3 12.00 3
4 247 Argo Williams, T.C. 5 4 5 6 2 22.00 4
5 501 Solstice Morris, Larry 4 5 4 5 5 23.00 5
6 562 Windswept Helms, Lanny 8/DNF 6 6 4 4 28.00 6
7 484 Second-2-Nun Gamber, Harold 8/DNF 8/DNS 8/DNC 8/DNC 8/DNC 40.00 7