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Archive for July, 2012

Reverse Start

Posted by AJ Miceli on July 27, 2012

Here’s a great picture that shows the “cluster” at the windward mark that results from a four-fleet reverse start.  The photo was posted by Michael Engro on the EYC Facebook page.  I think that the red boat on the left is us.  There are only two red boats in the fleet, and we’re the one that’s a fractional rig.

Reverse Start

Hertel & Brown Race 3 windward mark rounding, 7/25/2012.


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Hertel and Brown Races 2 & 3 Recaps

Posted by AJ Miceli on July 26, 2012

Results:  Race 2 = DNF, Race 3 = 10th

Crew:  Judy, Kim, Mark, Andy, Rosemary

Needless to say, the Hertel and Brown Series was just not our best work!  First, we didn’t do Race 1 (see the previous recaps — we played hookey and ate lunch at Beach 11 instead.

Race 2 Recap:

It was my 64th birthday (July 18).  It was light air at the start and sure to get worse.  The course was one of the longest W/L races you can do in the Bay — 4 miles.  We struggled upwind on the first leg.  It took close to an hour to do the two miles.

After rounding the wind dropped to 1-2 knots.  We tried wing-n-wing, we tried reaching.  No matter what we did the GPS kept saying that it was more than an hour to the finish.  Given the two-hour time limit there was a high probability we would not make the limit, then we would have to motor all the way back to the slip in the dark.  Since the windward mark was very near our marina we just decided to withdraw and go back to the slip and have some refreshments for my birthday.

Thus, we got a DNF — and I thought that on my birthday I should be able to control the wind 🙂  (And, yes, a little bit of a breeze did come up after we quit and the boats who stayed were all able to finish in just under the time limit.  However,  I think we made the right call — and a good time was had by all!)

Race 3 Recap:

Well we certainly weren’t in contention for a flag.  The course was a 4-mile triangle.  The wind at the start was NE at about 5-7.  Had a good start.  About halfway up the windward leg the wind died and then clocked about 110 degrees and we ended up on a beam-to-broad reach.  We were positioned well to take advantage of the shift and ended up well in our fleet, even though we were all getting rolled by the big boats because it was a reverse start.  On that leg, Affinity tried to get above us but we held him off and he had to stay below us.

Of course there was a “cluster” at the mark, but we came out reasonably well and headed to S (upwind!).  We sailed well and rounded S in the middle of our fleet with Affinity and Lady Jane behind us.  Then  another windshift and we sailed (upwind!) to M.  The winds were light and fluky.  We should have done OK, but we didn’t.  We couldn’t get going more than about 2.5 knots, and both Affinity and Lady Jane sailed away from us.  Maybe the air was just too light, or maybe we picked up some seaweed.  I hate it when we’re with the boats for two legs and then just give it up on the final leg without even knowing why…

So we ended up 10th (last and DFL).  Not our night, not our best work.  There’s always next time.  I just wish I knew what happened on that last leg.  Lady Jane was pointing better than us and Affinity was just sailing faster than us.  I’d like to believe that their 155s made all the difference, but then why were we able to sail with them on the first two legs?  A puzzlement…

We’ll try again next time.

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Brief Recaps to Catch Up

Posted by AJ Miceli on July 18, 2012

While I was writing the long recaps for the Interclub, I let all the local races slip.  So here are some brief recaps to get caught up:

  • Blake Family Heatwave #2 of 3   Results:  2nd
    • Light-air W/L 2x around.  Got a good start and sailed well, upwind and down.  Back from the Interclub we were still paying attention to trim and all the basics.  A good race!
  • Blake Family Heatwave #3 of 3 and Hertel & Brown Aquatherapy #1 of 3   Results: 5th and DNS
    • Light-air W/L 2x around on the Lake in lumpy conditions.  We sailed in the first race because we were in contention for a flag for the Blake series.  It was a very light air day, we were late to the line and on the wrong side of the course on the first leg.  So we were fifth,.  But we finished the series in 3rd place — flag time.
    • Did not do the second race of the day.  It was hot and light wind, and the first race took almost two hours.  We decided not to do the second race.  Instead, we went over to Beach 11, anchored and had lunch!  Not a terrible plan.  Good sandwiches, wine and good friends.
  • Urbaniak Brothers Summer Series #2 of 3 and #3 of 3    Results:  4th & 7th  
    • Race 1 got started late while we waited for some thunderstorms to pass by.   W/L 2x around.  After that we had about 12-15 kts of residual breeze.   We had a good start, and we sailed well.  We really profited by some problems in Infinity and NEWS — both of them sailed WAY past the leeward mark on the first leg with sail troubles.  I didn’t see, but I think they had trouble getting the chute down.  So we sailed the 3rd and 4th legs AHEAD of NEWS — an unheard-of experience.  And, some bonus good news:  our 3rd in race 1 of this series and our 4th in race 2 were good enough for 2nd place in the Gilmore Cup two-race series.  I don’t know if there’s a flag for the Gilmore Cup — but we would like a red flag!
    • Race 2 in 8-10 kts — not a good start and a couple chute issues.  That about says it all:  Last place.  Some races the bear gets you…  Ended the Urbaniak Series in 4th place.

All-in-all,  thanks to our crew:  Judy, Kim, Mark, Rosemary, Andy and Chet (all in different configurations for each race).

Now, on to the second half of the season!

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Interclub 2012 Total Recap

Posted by AJ Miceli on July 9, 2012

In the 5 races we finished: 7th, 5th, 7th, 6th, 4th (missed 3rd by 14 seconds!) out of 13.

In our Fleet Overall we finished 5th out of 13.

In the Overall races we finished: 49th (bad light air/no air day in Erie), 18th (to Dover, even with balloons on our rudder for a quarter of the race), 42nd (DNF in Dover Triangle in 25-30 knots of breeze), 23rd (drag race to Colborne) and 26th ( 20-mile windward/leeward to Abino with breeze).

In the Overall we finished 32nd out of 58.

The results don’t necessarily show how well we sailed!

Thanks to our stalwart crew of Kim, Mark, Rosemary and Chet for a great trip (and for the mushrooms at the Erie Beach Hotel).


Chet, AJ, Mark, Rosemary, Kim and T.H.E. Clown

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Interclub 2012 Race 5 Recap

Posted by AJ Miceli on July 8, 2012

Results:  4th in Fleet of 13; 26th of 46.

Crew:  Mark, Rosemary, Chet.

A little of everything, a very good race, and our best finish in our fleet.

Before we recap the race, let’s talk about the Clown (see below).   Look back at the recap of the Erie-Dover race and read about the balloons on our keel, and the jokes we made about having a clown in the hold.  Well, just before we left the dock in Colborne, I opened the curtain to the head to make sure that it was ready for the day.  When I did I was confronted with a huge Bozo doll sitting on the commode!  We had seen one of these the night before when we went to the ice cream store along the canal.  Well, someone — and I don’t know who — went and bought it, inflated it, and snuck in the boat sometime (probably with the help of my crew) and installed the clown in the head!  We had a great laugh, and took the clown with us.  I was a little worried that an actual clown on a boat was bad JuJu, but the race went very well — read on…

The race was basically a 20-mile windward-leeward course starting in Port Colborne, to the Seneca Shoals Buoy off Buffalo, and then back to a finish in Abino.

When we started, the mark was almost dead downwind.  We started on a reasonably fast, but broad, reach along the shore toward the shallows at Point Abino, while the others were able to go a little deeper (but still reaching) with their symmetrical chutes.   After a mile or so, we tried a new technique.  The winds were still light at about 6-7 knots, so we went wing-in-wing with the big chute.  It took a little effort to get the boat dialed in.  It was quite touchy, but Mark was able to get in rhythm and fly the chute freehand (the pole would be no help).  This is definitely the first time we’ve been successful with this technique, but it was worth it.  All of a sudden we were clearing the Point AND sailing reasonably fast directly to the mark!

We held that for about 3 miles until the wind built to about 10-15 and the wind went forward.  Then we able to gybe and close reach to the mark.  By then we were still with the leaders in our fleet.   We were sailing fast, and it took a while for the later fleets to overtake us.  As we neared the mark, it was harder to  hold the chute.  We decided to take down the chute about 10 minutes from the mark.  The wind was building, getting fluky, and we were in big-boat traffic.  The chute came down without a hitch, and we reached on white sails to the mark.  Could we have held it a little longer?  Yes, probably, but it really was getting fluky, and several of the other boats had trouble getting their chutes down.  I think we made the right call.

We arrived the leeward mark going fast and in traffic.  We made a wide rounding because Amazing Grace was coming up on us really fast, so we gave her room and then hardened up.  We were with a lot of boats in our fleet.  The two ketches were near us (and winning) because of the long fast reach downwind.

After rounding we looked upwind, and the course was skewed enough that it was going to be one 10-mile upwind port beat to the finish.  By now the wind had freshened and we were able to dial the boat in tightly and point with the rest of our fleet, and much higher than the ketches.  On this leg, the skies grew overcast and a little bit of drizzle moved in.  The waves built to 2-4 so we also had a little spray from time t0 time.  Mark played the main traveler the whole time and we sailed very well upwind in the conditions.

We finished fourth in the fleet, missing 3rd place by only 14 seconds!  The ketches had to fall off and make two tacks to finish so they were not an issue in this race.

Overall, a nice way to finish.  The skies cleared again after the race.  We motored over and picked up a keg at the Buffalo Canoe Club for the awards ceremony.  And, yes, we took the clown with us on the launch to the boathouse!  🙂

Someone left this clown in the head overnight!

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Interclub 2012 Race 4 Recap

Posted by AJ Miceli on July 4, 2012

Results:  6th of 13 in Fleet; 23rd of 49 in Overall.

Crew:  Rosemary, Mark, Chet

This was another race that was made for us:  Reach-Reach-Broad Reach.  The marks of this course are primarily shoal markers that are to be left to port, mainly to keep us off the rocks and the shallows.

We had a good start in about 8 knots of breeze on a port reach to the first mark with the light air chute.  We sailed well, and when we got to the mark   the top four boats, including us were literally in a row with about 3 hull widths of separation.  We were feeling good about the race.

After rounding, we all came up to a close reach and we were able to carry the chute, and we took off like a shot on that tack and put about a tenth of a mile between us and the other three leaders.  Two of them stayed in shore and we and “white Venture” went out a little.  Every year there’s a post-race discussion about who went “in” and who went “out” and which was better.  We felt good being a little further out (maybe a quarter mile high of the rhumb line) where we still sailing faster than the others.  About two-thirds of the way to Colborne, Dreamer passed us on the high side.

Then it happened:  about ten minutes later it looked like Dreamer had stopped dead in the water and we caught up with them.  Then about five minutes later we sailed into a deadly hole and our speed instantly dropped from about 6 1/2 knots to 1 knot!  Powderhound was near us and hit the same hole, “white Venture” too.  Eventually, the breeze came back and we were sailing at good speeds again.  This happened at least two more times to us.  Each time, the wind that came back moved a little more forward, until it was really hard to hold the chute.   After the third time we dropped the chute and came up to a close reach to get a little closer to shore.

By the time we got to the point near Colborne all of our fleet was at the back in sight of each other and the air was full of holes.  At one point the breeze came back so we hoisted the chute again, sailed for about five minutes really fast and then right back into a dead hole.  We dropped the chute again, and that’s when the plane taking pictures buzzed us.  Of course our chute was down, and our white sails were limp — so we won’t be buying that picture.

Shortly after the plane left the wind did a 180 and came back strong from the starboard side, so we hoisted the chute, gybed and sailed fast for the rest of the race.  The wind kept building and there was one more turning mark just this side of the finish.  We rounded the mark and took down the chute rather than trying to gybe in it the now heavy air and lumpy seas.  We sailed the final quarter mile wing-in-wing to the finish.  Actually, that wasn’t such a bad idea.  The finish was in shallow water that good shallower if you didn’t take a right shortly after finishing.  A few of the boats got into some pretty sticky trouble trying to get their chutes down and heading fast toward the shallows.

As you see from the results above, those holes did hurt us, but the real winners were the two ketches anyway, because they close reaching all day with a lot of canvas.  After the race, we talked to the others who went “in” and everyone said there were holes everywhere, so there probably wasn’t a favored side of the course this year.

It stayed breezy as we sailed on to get to Sugarloaf Marina, and we dropped our main in nice flat waters of the protected part of the entrance, just west of the Welland entrance.

All-in-all, another good day of sailing.  I know the results don’t really show it, but we sailed very well, and it really was anybody’s race depending on how many holes you hit.

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Interclub 2012 Race 3 Recap

Posted by AJ Miceli on July 1, 2012

Results:  DNF

Crew:  Kim, Mark Rosemary

The “Dover Triangle” is traditionally a triangle.  Not this year.  The wind was from the north at 15-20, so we had a downwind start from ED2 to Mark E.  Then we turned left and sailed to Mark D on a reach.  Then we gybed and aimed for Mark C, which was the Bluff Bar Buoy.  Then we rounded and were looking at a 10 mile upwind leg back to ED2.

Well, let’s make a long story short.  We reefed and sailed.  The first two legs went off well.  A downwind leg in 15-20 doesn’t hurt; and, of course, a close reach isn’t bad for us either.

The first problem came on the dead downwind leg to Bluff Bar.  The wind had built to 20-30 by then and the waves were four feet and bigger rollers.  Most of the fleet flew their chutes and went deep downwind fast.  We didn’t.  We tried reaching on white sails.  Eventually we were at the back of the full fleet, and next to a few boats from our fleet.  We were neck-and-neck with “white Venture.”  About halfway down the leg we decided that it wasn’t working so we hoisted the fractional chute.  Then we were sailing fast — very fast.  At one point we saw 11.7 knots down the face of a wave (that’s a record for the boat that we will probably never break).  Yes, we were going fast, but we still couldn’t sail as deep as the rest of the fleet, so we ended up going real fast too far away from the mark.  As we approached the layline we still had to drop the chute and sail about 3/4 of a mile on white sails to the mark.  At that point we gave up any gains we made in speed.  “white Venture” rounded ahead us…  But we get man-points for even carrying the spinnaker in that breeze at all!

We rounded the Bluff Bar Buoy about 2PM.  The GPS said that ED2 was 10 miles dead upwind.  The race had a 5PM time limit because of the 7PM start for the Fish Fry.  We sailed upwind for a little while on starboard and could only do 5 knots in those waves.  We flipped to port to see if we could go faster by taking the waves in a different direction, but it was about the same.  The GPS said that even if we could keep this up we would still miss the deadline by at least 15 minutes.  So we started the engine and motor-sailed back.  Even that took about 2 hours and 40 minutes because we still couldn’t go dead into those waves.

Well, now that I think back on it I still think we made the right decision.  As it turns out, only 5 boats in our fleet made it.  The others struggled mightily upwind but still couldn’t make the time limit.  So, the fact that we got back to the tugboat basin by about 5PM gave us the opportunity to take a shower before dinner.  Worth it!  The course that day was just too long for the small boats.  We would have been better off doing a triangle in the north half of Long Point Bay, rather the polygonal course that was set, and that left us 10 miles upwind for the last leg.

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