Thursday, May 01, 2008

LinGin Wins the NOOD

The 10th annual Sailing World NOOD Regatta took place this last weekend and LinGin’s crew had great success.

Day 1 & 2

Crew: Ray Meyer (“the new guy”), Glen, Scott, Mark (1st day), Brian (2nd day), David (2nd day) and Tim
Conditions: 5-10 kts. with little chop
Location: Approx. 1 mile south of the Hacketts Point can

The first two days of the NOOD were very similar: medium to light air with current building throughout the day. We had pretty good starts, working to get a spot on the line with speed in clear air. Early in the day going right into the deep water was an option had it been desired, but after the first race each day the current was such that the key to success was to go left to get in the shallow water and out of the current.

LinGin was pretty dialed-in for these conditions. We moved the jib cars up to the “I” hole on Mark’s suggestion. The idea was that the foot was extremely flat in our normal position, the “G” hole. It seemed to produce good results; we had good speed and could point well. Our backstay was on 4 which is moderately tight. Overall we sailed her with the sails pretty flat.

The second race of the first day we lost a place to Argo during our windward mark rounding. The current was coming on strong and we were coming into the mark on port. Argo came in on starboard. As we were closer to the mark, we were able to tack inside of Argo and feel we had a good chance of making the rounding. Since they were further out when they made their tack to the mark, they had to overstand a bit be sure the current didn’t push them out of reach of the mark.

Unfortunately for us, the wind was lightening and shortly after a relatively slow tack, we were rolled by a Cal and Argo, causing us to stall and drift toward the mark. There was a short moment when we thought we might hit the mark, but I was able spin the boat around back to port tack and we had to regain speed, overstand the mark and then tack again. Needless to say, Argo was quite a bit ahead by that time.

Had I to do it over again, I would have tried to swallow my pride and realize that ducking Argo and being 2 boat lengths behind was a far better position than 20 boat lengths behind. Ah…next time…hopefully.

We did end up needing a repair. The spinnaker pole track was bent significantly and I had to race down to Fawcett to get a replacement. Hopefully Scott will take it easy on this next one! ;-)

A neat side note is that Bill Wager, a sports writer for the Capital, picked up on our success and interviewed me after the second race. We appeared in an article the next day. Pretty cool!

Day 1: 1, 2, 1
Day 2: 1, 1, 1

Day 3

Crew: Ray Meyer (“a regular”), Brian and Tim
Conditions: 15-20 kts. with chop
Location: Approx. 1 mile south of the Hacketts Point can

Day three was a tough one for LinGin from the time we left the dock. A missed e-mail from my cousin, Chris, left us with only three on the crew and Brian valiantly filling in on foredeck—a position he doesn’t get much practice in.

After some discussion about No. 1 or No. 2 jib and main reefing we settled on a reefed main with the No. 1. After shaking the reef on the first downwind leg, we never put it back in. I was glad that we didn’t go with the No. 2.

Our first start was good; we were on the line with speed, but we were immediately rolled by Lanny Helms (#562, Windswept) and bunch of other boats. Uh oh. We were definitely not set up properly for the conditions. We spent the rest of the day changing settings to try to find our groove.

The first spinnaker set was a bit iffy with a number of configuration changes made before setting the chute about 2/3 the way down the leg. The second time around the snap shackle on the halyard came undone just as Ray went to hoist the sail. The result: the spinnaker halyard at the top of the mast and Brian scrambling to switch to the trusty whisker pole wing-in-wing configuration.

In between the first and second race, we took Brian up the mast. Now you have to keep in mind it’s blowing between 15 and 20 knots and there are significant seas. At boat level, we feel the waves, but 40 feet up the mast you REALLY feel the waves. Half way up Brian got bounced around a bit, but his rock climbing experienced paid off and he made it all the way to the top to retrieve the spin halyard. He definitely earned his sandwich this race! My hat is off to his willingness to make the climb—I never even had to ask.

The second race we suffered more speed and pointing problems. In the end we chased Argo up the last windward leg and tested some ideas out. Here are my thoughts:

  • Don’t be afraid to significantly bear off when there are seas out there. Towney did this once to us—I thought he was crazy to bear off 20 degrees rounding the leeward mark to go upwind. You’d think after being spanked by him at the top of that course that I would have learned my lesson. Next time, I will suck it up and bear off so I can plow LinGin through those waves. We went 8-10” off the spreader with the jib and seemed to be making ground on Argo on that last leg. (Too little too late to catch him, though.)

  • Lanny was smokin’ fast. Speaking with him after the race he talked about how loose his rig is. I think this may be key. Fast and fast in the slop. Next time I’ll try really loosening up the back stay and easing the jib halyard. We probably should have eased the outhaul too.

Last but not least, I can’t say enough good stuff about Ray. He’s a former Cal racer that now owns an Alberg with his wife. They are cruisers right now, but he’s a really good racer and I’m hoping that we can infect him with the racing bug. He’s planning to join us on Wednesdays this summer and I’m looking forward to it.

Day 3: 4, 3

I hope I see you all out on the water this summer. Come join us!


p.s. Thanks to Brian Palmer for all the great photos!

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