Thursday, July 28, 2005

Thursday Nite Race: July 28th (Grand Prix!) v.2.01

What a difference a day makes! Tonight we had light winds and cooler temps, with an awesome sunset to boot! It was a spinnaker night, so we shook out our chute for a couple turns around the Charles Island bell buoy and the start line in the Gulf.

Here's Teri with Tim.

OK, let me tell you something about Teri. She gets very focused when racing. Which is a good thing; she's competitive and can concentrate in a way that I envy (I'm "Mister A.D.D."). Unless you happen to be the target she focuses upon. Like when you're the helmsman. Then it can be FUN. Certainly not annoying in any way; no sir-ee Bob! Not at all even the tiniest bit, jokingly annoying. I'd be crazy to even consider that for a second. Nope, her being annoying is probably the FURTHEST thing from my short-attention-span-ridden mind. If there's ONE thing I always say about Teri, it's that she's NEVER the LEAST bit annoying. To say otherwise would be silly, gosh darnit!

While sailing to the windward mark, she tends to advise you by whispering things like "you're pinching" while you helm the boat. Except, because of your self-absorbtion and complete daftness, you can't hear her properly, and you think she said "you're bitching".

Then you start worrying about everything you've said in the last ten minutes. Thoughts like, "Was I bitching?" "I didn't think I was a being a jerk when I asked for sail trim" and such go through your mind. Suddenly you're not really thinking about how you're helming the boat, because you get preoccupied with why you're a bitch.

Of course, at that exact moment, you hear another helpful whisper you again mis-interpret as you being a "bitch"!

Yes, it's a bit distracting. Not only am I a "bitch" apparently, but the boat is sailing like shit, too! Maybe if I wasn't PINCHING so much, we'd do better and maybe...h-e-e-e-y-y-y-y, wait a minute!

Yeah, I eventually figured it out. I'm known to be a bit slow on the uptake occasionly...just ask Joyce if you doubt me.

Upon futher reflection, I realize that Teri is awesome and I'm a dummy. (I don't expect that anyone would put up any kind of persuasive argument to dispute this fact).

Yup, we got to shake out the bastard TWICE tonight! Fun...and great work by our crew; especially Pete's work on the bow. Nice job during those gybes! Joyce repacked it perfectly also.

Trimming the spinnaker was fun tonight; especially in the light conditions. Tim also worked the chute.

Pete and Lori help prevent the main from gybing while we're near the wind line.

Joyce helms while I handle the spinnaker; Teri handles the main sheet and then reminds me that I'm pinching. I still think she tells me I'm bitching. (Dammit!)

Joyce helmed us expertly on the downwind legs. You did a great job, honey! Post-finish, Joyce enjoys a beverage while Lori and Tim bask in the waning summer light. Note that Lori and Joyce are wearing their "Full Tilt" crew shirts. Don't worry Tim, you'll be getting one soon!

Fun race tonight, and a great job by the crew! Thanks guys! (yeah, and you too, Teri; you know how I love to kid...then again, maybe not!)

Hey, you'll hear no more bitching on my part!

Another night's attempt at racing with "Wild Eyes"

Sailing with Pete and Teri on "Wild Eyes" yesterday, we were hoping to squeeze in a race before a major squall line swept through the Sound as a cold front finally was supposed to break the incredible heat and humidity we've been suffering for the last few days.

It was brutal hot. The sweat index topped 100. OK, there's no such thing as a sweat index, but if there was, it was over 100 yesterday. The wind piped up to 18 knots as we motored out, but the skies were still relatively clear.

Then it started creeping in. Here Teri is watching the last bit of sunshine before it got "interesting".

When the skipper and crew starts putting on the life vests, I get worried.

Somehow I think that this picture doesn't capture the feeling of concern I was experiencing as the storm marched in; maybe I shouldn't look like I'm having so much fun.

When the wind hit 28 knots and thunder was booming, we decided to call it a night and run for cover. Meanwhile, the starting line buoy was last seen sailing towards the Azores.

And we made it back to the dock just as the sky opened up and poured while lightening was crackling around.

The good news was that the storms blew through within the hour, and the temps dropped a good 20 degrees overnight. Just for that, it was worth it!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Port Jeff R&R

Last weekend was the annual Port Jefferson Race and Rendezvous, and the weather couldn't possibly be better (unless it was raining beer or money or something cool like that).

This is gonna be a LONG post!

We were race committee for the start. Here Lori hands race instructions to a competitor on a fast-looking boat. We had a nice 12-15 knot breeze out of the NW at the beginning of the race. Frickin' PERFECT!

We got all 32 boats off smoothly, then we put up the sails for a nice cruise over. Tim helms the boat on a downwind run.

We're a lot more relaxed not racing; here Lori sacks out on the starboard rail.

"Straight Up" tows "Bedpan". Fortunately we were nearby to help out when the Bedpan got filled up. With water. Only. I know, it's an unfortunate name for a boat.

The party got rolling on time. Here's some poorly lit party pictures (I'm sorry about the quality...I happened to NOT be poorly lit, so to speak; blame the McSorley's Ale for that!)

Pete chats with someone.

Chad and Sarah show off their leis. Everyone got "lei-d" that night.

Joyce isn't drunk yet. But she's getting there.

The next morning, the crews of "Wild Eyes" and "Sea Hound" enjoy their morning coffee while the sun cranks up its heat output about a billion percent. Yeah, it was warm on Sunday.

We nipped the palm trees for a boat decoration. Don't worry, we'll get them back to the club eventually.

Joyce enjoys a boiling solar shower after a cooling swim.

Chad's girlfriend Sarah tries to find shade under our makeshift bimini.

Heading home while motor sailing, we stopped about halfway home and took a swim to cool off. Imagine our surprise when we dove in and found the water temperature was easily 10 degrees cooler than the balmy PJ harbor waters. Screaming ensued. It sure was refreshing though; especially once we defrosted our bits and pieces.

Lori clowns around with Tim.

The requisite self-portrait of the skipper with his cigar.

Safely back in Milford, sun-drenched but happy. Great job by the Windjammers officers and all the volunteers who helped, and congrats go to John and Celeste on "Witchcraft" for winning the race!

Some things we learned this weekend...
...according to Lori, the boiling point of water for making coffee is 260 degrees.
...Chad managed to go through 2 bottles of suntan lotion while applying it to his girlfriend.
...the Bedpan has a future career as a U-boat.
...Tim managed to wake everyone sleeping within a 200-yard radius with his snoring.
...Joyce won't need to buy Twizzlers for at least a year.
...and finally...
...while discussing Teri possibly going overboard, we learned that the MOB button on Pete's GPS stands for "Missing One Bitch".

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Thursday Nite Race: July 21st

Tonight was a lot like last night, except there was EVEN LESS wind! Sheesh, what's a guy gotta do to get some decent WIND around here? Ah, well, least we got a good sunset out of it.

Here we are on the first leg. The course was NDNS. There was a little breeze at the start, and we made the first mark in pretty good shape.

"Schock Therapy" and "Defiant" tangle at the windward mark. We closed in and got under them right after rounding.

The long leg to the bell bouy was brutal. We made decent time, but the tide set against us, and pushed us west towards Charles Island.

The short first leg caused some interesting traffic patterns. And the wind was starting to fade. "Schock Therapy" ghosted by us near the island. We lost all the air and we nearly hit them while drifting. It wouldn't really have been a hit, just a tiny little bump. Not even a "bump". A "bmp". Maybe even a "bp". So we cranked up James Brown on the CD player and popped open some brewskis. Because, you know, beer makes drifting more fun.

"Straight Up" got swept south of the island and they went aground hard right after they started their engine. We were about 100 yards away when it happened, and we all heard the thud as they went from 4 knots to a dead stop in no time at all. It was really scary.

Here's the skipper after he decided to call it a night. When the wind died completely about 100 yards from the bell bouy, we started drifting west with the tide over the shallows south of the island. We started the motor and struck the sails.

Post-race-quitting, Tim serves up slices of luke-warm pizza goodness.

Lori partakes.

Chad partakes.

Joyce yells at me, "Where's MY slice?"


Who doesn't love sunset photos?

This Saturday we're RC for the start of the Port Jeff Race & Rendevous. I know I spelled "rendevous" wrong, but really, who gives a crap?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Crewing with "Wild Eyes"

We're getting into the dog days of summer...heat, humidity, and light winds. Tonight's race reflected all that.

Tonight I sailed on Teri (left) and Pete's (right) Quest 33 "Wild Eyes", at the Branford Yacht Club's regular Wednesday Night Race.

This is just after the start. We had good position at the committee boat; about five boats were over the line early, and there was even a minor collision between two of them. We held position, powered up just before the line, and got to windward of most of the fleet. Good job Pete!

Despite the light winds we made good time against most of the fleet. I would have snapped more pictures, but Teri screamed at me for not taking my position on the rail fast enough. I'm glad she didn't have a gun handy. I don't believe she would have killed me; she'd probably just have shot me in the foot or something. To teach me a lesson.

The spinnaker leg was HOT. Not FAST hot, but HOT hot. Fucking HOT. Like, volcano hot. Heatstroke hot. Hot. It sucked.

Did I mention it was hot?

Paul trims the spinnaker as we approach the leeward mark. We had a bit of a problem getting the bastard up, but we doused it like pros! I was in the sewer for that maneuver.

Lori enjoys the close reach towards the finish. This might be the first picture I've ever taken of her where she didn't make a goofy face. I feel so...special.

We cross the line effortlessly as "Wild Eyes" cruises into a dying breeze. If this race lasted another half hour, we might have lost the wind altogether. Good race, guys!

Friday, July 15, 2005

"WAH Part Deux"

Tonight was the 2nd of three "Woman at the Helm" races. Joyce took the helm in light conditions; she totally forgot that today was the race, so she didn't get nervous until I reminded her of it an hour beforehand. Then she thanked me for ruining her day. Bwa-ha-ha!

Above, Joyce takes us on the first windward leg while Chad gets ready to tack. We got stuffed at the start, so it took a couple of tacks to find clear air and get the boat moving.

We're currently in last place, while "Straight Up" approaches the first mark and "Defiant" rounds it.

We approach "Paikea" just before overtaking her. Teri finally got annoyed at my awful directions and took over tactics at that point. Hey, I'm only one guy; I can't possibly overrule two headstrong women and expect to get off the boat alive! She did a superb job calling tactics and winds. You'll hear no more "3-2-1 Tack!" from me, Teri.

These guys must have been expecting a gale; something like 15 people were on board for the race. Looks like they had a fun time. "Hey, let's see them life jackets!"

Running toward the finish we kept ahead of these last three boats.

And there's the horn! I just had to take a picture of that sunset.

Post-finish, a very happy Joyce commands the crew to fetch her a wine cooler PRONTO! And it better be ICE COLD!!!

The girls excitedly discuss the race in frequencies too high for normal human hearing.

"Hey, don't look at me, I'm just rail-meat."

Ridiculously unofficial results show us in fifth place; not bad considering we were last to round the first mark. Also, the calibre of competition is getting more intense; out of the eight boats entered, our J/30 was rated the slowest in PHRF.

Good job Joycie!