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Archive for August, 2010

RCR Full Moon (JAM) #3 Recap

Posted by AJ Miceli on August 26, 2010

Results:  3rd

Crew:  Kim, Steve, Judy, Tim (first time on our boat!)

Famous last words:  “We’ll be starting in about 10 knots, and that’s probably the most we’ll see during the race…”

When we left the dock it looked like another typical Wednesday night W/L was coming — about 10 knots from the west on the way to the starting area.  During the prestart the sky looked threatening and the breeze was building a little, so the crew put on their foul weather gear.  I didn’t have time, so I went without rain gear.  The first leg was a fast dead-downwind wing-n-wing run to R-14.  The wind kept building, and it was in the 15-20 range by the time we rounded the leeward mark.  At the mark we tangled with Rakish — a long story that I don’t have time for.   They were in the wrong (and we would have protested them if it weren’t a Wednesday night family race, and if I really wanted to spend two hours in a protest meeting on a school night).

After rounding the wind kept building and started clocking.  Then the sky went dark blood red and the winds kicked up, followed by horizontal rain.  In minutes the winds were 30 knots, gusting to 35 (low gale strength).  The rig was shuddering and I feathered up as much as I could.   We tried to reef the main but it was too much to handle so we wrestled the main down and sailed just on the 125 jib.  At times the rain was so thick and stinging that I was blinded for more than 30 seconds at a time.  We were now about four-tenths of a mile from the finish.  The crew was valiant and we sailed on just on the jib.  When we were about a quarter of a mile out, the winds subsided to 15-20, so we put the main back up and finished on both sails.  The only boats I could see were Rakish (ahead of us) and Good Vices and Lady Jane (behind us).

After crossing we dropped the jib and sailed home at 7 knots downwind just on the main while I went below and changed out of my soaked-to-the-bone clothes.  Then we decompressed at the dock with a cool Mojito and turkey pepperoni.  Very thankfully, no one on the crew was injured — and the boat mainly survived, though the top battens of the main are a little chewed up from the flogging.

After I got home, Kim texted that we took 3rd!  I’m usually good at knowing where we finished, but in all the mayhem I had not a clue.   Sometimes just finishing is the right course!  Amazing!

But let’s not do this again for a while…

Posted in 27X, Crew News and Activities, Hunter 27X, Lake Erie Sailing, Race Recaps, Results, Sailboat Racing, Yacht Racing | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Night Lighthouse Recap

Posted by AJ Miceli on August 21, 2010

Results:  4th

Crew:  Judy, Kim, Steve, John Konkel

Outlaw and News were in the race, so we were racing for third place.  All we had to do was to beat Lady Jane in order to win third.  We couldn’t do it.

We started at 8PM in a reasonable breeze (E @10-12kts) and tacked up the bay to the channel.  Along the way we crossed tacks with Lady Jane, but they had about a 1 minute lead as we entered the channel.  The winds of course were lighter and fluky in the channel, but we tacked through.  Lady Jane probably increased their lead by another minute or so in the channel.  By the time we got out of the channel the winds were light and the seas lumpy.  The port tack was favored by the seas.  Before we got to G-1 our house battery was nearly drained and most of our instruments and running lights were dimmed or not working.  That was enough of a distraction that we started sailing even slower (because we were still beating and we couldn’t see any wind indicators — with the masthead light dimmed we couldn’t see the windex).  When we switched to the new battery things started working again, but we were jeopardizing our ability to start the engine.  By this time we had lost track of Lady Jane in the dark.  It took a couple more slow tacks before we rounded G-1.

After rounding we cracked off and raised the chute on a close reach to Gull Point.  Things were working a little better and I think we made some time while we were sailing in the 6’s and 7’s.  By the time we reached Gull Point the wind started building again to 10-15.  It’s a good thing that we were able to go to a broad reach because we wouldn’t have been able to hold the chute on a close reach in that breeze.  We sailed fast on the broad reach, but there was still something weird going on.  We weren’t able to go as deep as we needed.  We let out the tack about 3 feet, but we would lose the chute when we went deeper.  We tried everything.  I suspected that the sprit was not out all the way, but the crew swore that it was.  I’m still pondering why we had that issue.  By now we could only see a boat or two in the distance, and we didn’t know which one was Lady Jane.

We sailed the long leg then we took down the chute before gybing to go the short distance to the lighthouse mark.  We rounded the mark without issue then started beating upwind.  The port tack was still favored with speeds in the 4’s and 5’s — starboard tack was 1’s and 2’s thanks to the seas.   The the wind started dying.  This happens all the time in this race.  “The poor get poorer.”  The boats at the front sail in decent wind and then the boats at the back get punished with dying air.   By now Lady Jane was gone.  It took us an excruciating amount of time to get around Gull Point and head for the channel.  Before we got to Gull Point we tried starting the engine to charge the batteries, but by now both batteries were depleted.  I went down below and attached the jump starter and we were able to get the engine started.  We ran the engine in neutral for the rest of the race.

As soon as we were safely past Gull Point we raised the chute to sail to the channel, but by now the winds were downs to the 1’s and 2’s.  There was little to no wind in the channel.  We tried going wing-n-wing with the chute, but there wasn’t enough wind to keep it filled.  We got through the channel primarily on what looked like about a half-knot of current.

After we got out of the channel the wind died completely and the seas were like glass.  We could hear the live band at Rum Runners — in fact, we heard practically a whole set.  The GPS said it was 5 hours to go the final mile and a half to the finish.  Finally, just before 1AM an offshore filled in and we close reached with the chute to the finish at about 7kts.  We finished at about 1:15.

Today we learned that Lady Jane beat us by 45 minutes (they owed us about a minute and a half).  So, while it was a beautiful night for sailing, the race was pretty disappointing.   Then one final blow, on the way to the marina, the engine started losing compression as it had on the Interclub (maybe I didn’t write about that).  We made it home, but this compression issue is worrisome and will require further pondering…

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RCR Full Moon Series (JAM) #2 Recap

Posted by AJ Miceli on August 19, 2010

Results:  5th

Crew:  Judy, Steve, Kim, Andy

This race was almost a complete carbon copy of last Wednesday’s race:  Windward/leeward race with a light NE breeze.  We started in a little more wind than last week — about 6-8 kts.  We found a nice spot about 2/3 of the way to the pin (the line was skewed enough that we didn’t want to start right at the pin).  We were at the line when the gun went off, but we got stuck in bad air just to leeward of Serendipity, so we had to tack away as soon as we would be clear on port.  We had taken time before the race to tune the jib cars before the race, so we sailed well upwind with speeds in the three’s and low four’s.   While we were on our long starboard tack we came together with Serendipity and he just barely had to duck us.  The next time we met him when we were on port; we crossed him with about 5 boat lengths to spare, so we were sailing upwind pretty well.

Since the fleets started in reverse, some of the B fleet boats caught up with our fleet and there was the beginning of a cluster at the mark; however, we rounded fairly well and went high on that tack to avoid getting rolled like last week.  By then the wind was dying and the boat speed dropped down to the 1’s.  We did what we could to keep the boat moving, sometimes going wing-n-wing, sometimes just broad reaching.  Then about a quarter of a mile from the finish, the offshore started up and wind clocked.  Since we were high on the course we got the new wind before lots of others in our fleet.  We started moving on a reach, and by the time we got to the line we were beating.   The boats behind us struggled in the wind and several had to tack at the line.  In any case, we finished behind the leaders and took a fifth.

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RCR Yachts Full Moon Series (JAM) #1 Recap

Posted by AJ Miceli on August 12, 2010

Results:  6th

Crew:  Judy and Andy

Another light-to-dying air night.  Started in about 6kts of breeze from the East, so we actually had an upwind start at the lighthouse.  We started high on the course near the pin end, but we actually started in reasonably clear air.  The course was skewed, so most boats who started low on the course had only one long starboard tack.  We sailed fast, and were able to stay ahead of most of the boats in our fleet except Dawn Treader, Entson and the J’s.  We got headed as we neared the mark, so we had to take a short port jog to get back to the layline about a tenth of a mile from the mark.  That meant crossing several of the boats on the layline.  We crossed most of them, but weren’t going to make it past Serendipity, so we tacked in front of them (and KEYA).    Luckily we right on the layline by then and we were able to make the mark on that tack and hold off KEYA and Serendipity.

After rounding, the wind shifted to the South and we ended on a beam reach.  Unfortunately KEYA  sailed very fast after rounding and rolled us about halfway down the leg.  We tried to hold them off — we tried several trim solutions — but they got us.  Then the wind went shifty and “holey,” going from a broad reach to a close reach and almost beating at times.  We actually came close to a “windward-windward” race.  A couple times we got a private wind and started closing the gap with KEYA, but then the wind would die again.  In any case, we kept moving and the placing was basically the order of finish.  KEYA picked up about two minutes on us on the 2nd leg, so we weren’t able to correct over them.

All-in-all, our shorthanded crew did very well (Steve was in Pittsburgh for the pre-Jimmy Buffett party, and Kim had hurt her back at work).

Posted in 27X, Crew News and Activities, Hunter 27X, Race Recaps, Results, Sailboat Racing, Yacht Racing | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hertel and Brown #3 (JAM) Recap

Posted by AJ Miceli on August 5, 2010

Results:  7th

Crew:  Andy, Judy, Kim Steve

Winds West 4-5kts.  Another light air triangle.  Downwind start.  We started in the middle of the line and in the middle of the pack.  Went wing-n-wing as soon as we got settled in (as did everyone).  The pole continued to do its job and we passed Serendipity and a few other boats on the way to Mark S.

We rounded 4th in our fleet.  We were able to do the leg to W as one long port beat.  The sails were trimmed and we were sailing fast, high and straight to the mark.  Many others (Serendipity, Entson, Lady Jane, Silver Wheel and the two J-24s) had to go low and didn’t pass us.  So, we had a great upwind leg and rounded 3rd or 4th in our fleet — we even snuck in front of Silver Wheel at the mark even though we were on the port layline and he was on the starboard layline. 

Then the wheels fell off.  Shortly after rounding Silver Wheel rolled over us, going fast and before we could get up to speed.  Then Entson caught up with us and rolled us.  Then the Js passed us, one below and one above.  The wind was dying and we just couldn’t re-create the trim on the starboard tack (another straight beat upwind).  It was painful as Lady Jane caught up with us and passed us to leeward!  Luckily they didn’t quite make up their time on us, and we corrected over them by 3 seconds.

We still don’t know why we were going so slow on that leg.  We tried different trim solutions, but nothing was working.  Lady Jane had to be going at 3-tenths to half-a-knot faster than us.  Someday we’ll put three good legs together instead of two out of three!

We ended in 6th place and 10th place for the series (we didn’t do the first race of this series, so we weren’t in the running for the series).

See you next week!

Posted in 27X, Crew News and Activities, Hunter 27X, Lake Erie Sailing, Race Recaps, Results, Sailboat Racing, Yacht Racing | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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