Friday, July 24, 2009

Blogger makes rare appearance on keeler

Your humble scribe went Wednesday Night racing on Jim Mumper's Cal 36. I must admit I'm not very good at it; I just don't do it enough, being content to play mostly with small sailing boats. Jim said he was short handed but when I showed up at the dock he already had 6 plus himself. It turned out there was enough regulars to run the boat and I could simply hide my incompetence by rolling across the cabin top during the tacks, being careful not to ensnare my foot in a jib sheet. So for most of the race, I draped my feet over the gunwhale and took in this Wednesday version of PHRF racing. A picture perfect evening; southerly breeze around 15 .... just beautiful. We were starting together with J-30 one designs who were scored separately. For us, our main competition were the J-80 sport boat and some hot 30 foot MORC racer. Our start was good and I was told the Cal 36 didn't tack so well, which to me meant tactics were going to be in very broad brush strokes (as in choose one layline or the other, punch through those niggling little shifts). So, halfway up the first beat, on our first hitch onto port, some J-30 executed a perfect slam dunk on us.....GRRRRRR! You would think someone in another class would cut us some slack ... but NOOOOO! It seemed my job for the night was to call the laylines, which became difficult as it became apparent that the old warhorse lacked the height upwind of the newer classes. But given the distance added in the time lapse between when I thought we should tack, and when we actually did, we never had to squeeze for the marks. Offwind our waterline length helped us catch up ... and we got the spinnaker up and down fairly quickly and despite some small snafus like me dumping the spinnaker halyard all at once (handled very adroitly by our crew) we acquitted ourself very well. On the short beat into the harbor and the club finish, our pointing inability came back to bite us. We had to make an extra short hitch to get around the very, very big yacht docks and finished 3rd to our two rivals, only 39 seconds out of first. All in all a very pleasant ride.

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