Monday, September 28, 2009

Star Crewing 101

In between running the summer series for the Flying Scots and the Classic Moth Nationals, I got the call to fill in as a Wednesday crew for John Jenkins on his Star boat. I hadn't been in a Star for 30 or so years but Wednesday nights are usually light air drifters .... so how hard could it be? Well when we arrived at the St. Michaels YC, the wind was a consistent fifteen and the tutorial on the sail out to the starting line was short and sweet; here are the cleats for the running backs, don't thread the whisker pole through the mainsheet on the way in or out, and here is a nifty fine tune adjust on the jibsheet. From my perspective, there looked to be plenty of lines, that, if pulled wrong, could pose big problems, not just in racing around the buoys but in keeping the mast up .... those thoughts I put out of my mind.

John got the best start at the weather end and we were ahead comfortably 2/3 the way up the first beat. Unfortunately his closest rival got out to the right and rode a nice starboard tack lift to lead us into the mark. Off we went downwind. John was intent on running down his rival; not only was the leeward running back off, he let off some 8 inches of the weather one and we pulled on a jib thing-a-majingy to bag the jib out. I got the pole out after a delay, my feet effectively cleating the sheets for a while until I figured out what the problem was. I hadn't screwed up too bad until we attempted what would turn out, for a neophyte Star crew, to be the equivalent of a an inward three-and-a-half somersault in tuck position ..... we did a gybe into a leeward mark rounding.

Well, lets say I did get the whisker pole back into the boat properly before we rounded the leeward mark but .......... the weather running back was not fully on, the jib sheets were in a huge ball right at the turning block, and I had pulled the jib thing-a-majingy on instead of out and the jib was a good three feet up the forestay. I did get the weather runner on before the mast went anywhere bad, I was able to miraculously free the jib sheet ball in about 20 seconds and we eventually got the jib down to the deck. By that time our rival was well gone. We were able to hang onto second for another windward/leeward but another boat ground us down just before the finish (I just don't have anywhere near the beef of a true Star crew).

All in all, I was pleased with a third. It could have been worse though we didn't do John's series lead any favors. Lesson, if you are going to be a pickup crew in a Star, definitely do it in under 10 knots when things happen a little slower.

Music for Friday; Bernadette Peters - I Wanna Be Bad

Music for Fridays has been somewhat intermittent lately.

From the movie "Pennies From Heaven"

Oops! Bernadette went into the YouTube black hole. Here is the original Helen Kane song from 1929

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

2009 Classic Moth Nationals; Y2K Bug Mods

John Z, who finished 2nd overall, had his Moth, Y2K Bug, modified overnight Saturday. Port and Starboard winches, bow and stern lights made this Classic Moth a proper yacht now.

Monday, September 21, 2009

2009 Classic Moth Nationals - Elizabeth City NC

This past weekend was the Classic Moth Nationals at Elizabeth City NC. Twenty Seven Mothboaters showed up, an excellent turnout. I'll have more posts later but the Elizabeth City paper, Daily Advance, has a report here . Also the slideshow by staff photographers, Brett A. Clark and Justin Falls is well worth a look.

It's great seeing all the Mothboaters, some returning after a couple year hiatus. A National Championship like this seems to be more of a reunion with a competition tacked on.

Winner Mike Parsons was waxing magnanimous in his interview with the Daily Advance, the winds were actually on the light side and very shifty from the North.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Phone Call on Sunday Morning (Sept 13)

Sunday morning and I was just about to put my head around which project of many I wanted to tackle when my good friend George called. Turns out that my old club, West River Sailing Club, was running the Laser Districts. This had sucked up all of the RC folks, leaving a scheduled Sunday Fall Series for Flying Scots without anyone to run their races. I owe, I owe (Big George for previous work on a shed) so it wasn't hard to say yes, particularly since, according to George, I was the last one on the list. Sunday Series start at 1 pm. so this left some time to do some wet sanding on the Classic Moth, Tweezer, before moseying on down to Galesville.

It was a gorgeous day, the sky peppered with low lying cumulus, lazily making their way to the south. The engine for the one remaining whaler at the club started right up, never a sure thing for club boats this late in the season. I gathered up two hippity hops with anchor rodes, a spare Ollie was found and a start flag attached to a PVC pipe. There wasn't much gas so I made a detour upriver for Hartges Yacht Yard where I found they had closed the gas dock (argh! things change when you haven't been on the river for the summer). I backtracked to Pirates Cove gas dock, filled the tank, putt-putted another 1/4 mile (6 mph restriction) and then opened it up for another 1/4 mile to get to the race course. I had ten minutes to spare for the 1 pm start time.

The Race Course for the WRSC Sunday Series is little over 1/2 mile from the club, tucked into a little bay butting up against the Smithsonian Rhode River Research Site on the North Shore with the entrance to Rhode River marking the Eastern limit to the course area.

A light, shifty Northerly was going to give some trying conditions. I got the weather hippity hop down in what looked like a good upwind spot (though in tracking the shifts over the afternoon, maybe 50 feet to the left would have centered the mark more). I was able to plonk the start line outside the direct line freeway into Galesville (never guaranteed in this area; many times the wind forces the course to include dodgem of high speed stinkpotters and clueless sail cruisers).

I got three races off (WL, WL, finish downwind), lounged around on the bow of the whaler for the afternoon (when RC duties didn't call) and soaked the day in.

After the racing, on the way back in, I spotted what looked like a Dragon sailing back into the harbor. Had to take a detour to look at such a Classic but as I drew closer I saw it was a Luders 16, another very pretty Classic. Had a conversation with the skipper; built in 1954 and restored recently in Virginia and from what I could see it was a great job that was done on her. A wave goodby and putt-putt back to the club to put the Whaler and all the race committee accoutrements away.

Back on shore and some socializing. Flying Scot sailor, Gabor, told me he had bought a beater 505 for singlehanding and he was enjoying it immensely (the jib is roller furling). I didn't ask if he was singlehandedly trapezing as he is an older gent.

I also ran into another good friend; WRSC member Bob B. who had just gotten back in from the last race of the Laser Districts. He is over 70 and sailed in the Radial division with all the kids. Needless to say he got crushed and his back was also complaining quite loudly. Both of us have shared a campsite at the Mid Atlantic Small Craft Festival the past two years but I'm not sure I will be able do it this year.

Amazing what a unexpected phone call on Sunday morning will bring.

First Signs of Fall

Only in Annapolis..........

Last week I saw the floating docks for the Annapolis Boat Shows being trucked in from storage. It takes over a month to launch and assemble all these floating docks that gobble up several acres of Annapolis Harbor.

My source at the shows tells me that despite the recession, the Sailboat Show has about the same number of exhibitors, though the mix is different; less boat manufacturers and more on the accessory side.

The MotorBoat Show is definitely down as the 18'-28' market has crashed.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dylan Winter posts his summer doings

Dylan Winter, the videographer slowly making his way counter clockwise around England in a Mirror 19, has posted a video summary of his spring and summer travels. As to be expected from Dylan, beautifully shot and edited.

A couple of months ago, I posted some earlier Dylan's videos . More and more out in the bloggosphere are picking up his work. If you want to spend most of the evening going through his travelogue, click here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Six Metre Worlds in Newport RI

Another photogenic class, the Six Metre keeler, is hosting their World Championship at Newport Rhode Island as we speak. Of the 32 entrants, 26 are classified as Classic Six Metre's (built before 1965). Within the Classic division, the Six Metre's split it even further into four time periods where different versions of the rule were in effect. I find this interesting because we also have divided the Classic Moth into three divisions; the Vintage, the Generation 1 (Gen1), and the Generation 2 (Gen2). In our case, the Vintage division is those hulls built prior to 1950, whereas the Gen1 and Gen2 is somewhat loosely based on design date but also wetted surface and stability. So in Gen1 you have 1950 designs such as the Challenger, Mint, and Cates mixed in with newer Europe dinghies and Masers (Laser conversions to Classic Moths). Gen2 is a true restricted class which you can design and build to a box rule though the 1960ish Mistral design still rules the roost.

A nice video of a German Classic Six Metre sailing out of the Solent.

Yes, Rich People Do Live Differently than You and I

The above was a sage observation repeated every so often by my friend John Williamson.

The super rich, racing super yachts in a super swanky Caribbean setting.

St. Barths Bucket Trailer 2009 from acquafilms on Vimeo.

Log Canoes; Some Pics by Al Shreitmueller

Eastern Shore Log Canoe Racing is tops when it comes to photogenic yachting racing action.

Following are some of the brilliant photos of log canoe racing taken by Al Shreitmueller. As always, click on the picture to view a larger version.

"Island Lark" boiling down the Chester River.

The main trimmers get to sit off the back of the canoe. Like a cox on a racing shell, lightweight body frames are desirable for main trimmers and so we we have these comely lasses lumped in with a crew of hulking boardmen and squelchers.

Main trimmer 1

Main trimmer 2

Monday, September 7, 2009

Laser Worlds Concludes

I'll wait for a debrief on the return of Great Grand Master FavoredEnd who lead at the weather mark in one race (at the Worlds, I'll take that to the bank anytime). In commemoration of the second Laser World Championship to be held in the birthplace of the Laser, I dug through my archives and came up with this picture.

Laser designer Bruce Kirby firing a "funnelator" at the 1972 Canadian Championships of the International 14. His accomplice to the right is Rob Mazza, for many years one the principal naval architects at C&C Yachts.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Joe Bousquet; Building and Racing Foiler and Classic Moths

Three local Classic Moth sailors have built foiler Moths; two of them use their foilers to blast back and forth on the Chesapeake Bay and have no intention of racing. However Classic Moth sailor and Moth blogger, Joe Bousquet has actively embraced racing his foiler, shipping his home built Hungry Beaver design to the Moth Worlds in England last year and just recently, The Gorge Worlds on the Columbia River. This interview with Joe is rather long but he does a nice job of humorously relating how he may be tilting at windmills; how difficult it is for an amateur to compete in a class that is now filled with professionals, in a craft where speed is king, and the design, execution, and preparation, particularly in the foils and their controls, reaps big rewards. At about 3:05 into the video, Joe give a tip of the hat to the Classic Moth.

Here is a YouTube of Jeff Linton's first go on Joe Bosquet's foiler Moth.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

From the View of the Race Committee; Finn Europeans

Scroll down and read my diatribe about those who push the start line and, lo and behold, what pops up today but a YouTube on a Race Committee dealing with a rambunctious Finn fleet. Race 3 start of the Finn Europeans courtesy of the TheFinnChannel . This video captures the difficulty of identifying those over the line ..... from the video soundtrack ... Right now the boat that is the problem .... I can't tell! Looks like they got them away on the second start.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Classic Moth; Chestertown Redux, Summer 2009

Bob Patterson and the Chestertown Yacht and CC had the Classic Moths back this past weekend. We got seven Mothboats (I like to call our class the Circle M class because I'm tired of explaining.... we don't foil like the International Moth... we're not that kind of Moth class... glassy stare... not comprehending... why wouldn't everybody want to foil? Sigh!!!!). Wind was a lightish westerly with a strong weather shore component but enough right shifts to keep it interesting. Mike Parsons won again and the Nationals are up next. With Jeff Linton not competing (Lightning Worlds conflict), Mike is riding a strong season...maybe this year? Mike almost beat Jeff two years ago but got passed on the last run of the last race.

While derigging on the grass, a Dan on a bike stopped by (my varnished Classic Moth... ahem... Circle Mboat seems to attract passerbys). Dan is just starting a stint on the Tall Ship Sultana , based out of Chestertown. Dan is from that subset of sailors (seemingly 180 from dinghy sailors), true seamen who handle tall ships with square sails and hemp line the size of your biceps. Surprisingly he was genuinely interested in my 11 foot dinghy and then admitted his father had built a 16 foot, strip planked replica of a Brigantine. We talked of his aspirations of moving up through the Tall Ship ranks (Sultana being one of the dinky ones) and the possibility of meeting up again on Sultana's next trip to Annapolis and then off Dan rode.

A 16' replica of a Brigantine seemed worthy of Internet investigation... Let's go to YouTube. Sure enough, there is a YouTube of what I assume is Dan's fathers Brigantine Replica.

Looks like there could be some stability issues. Somewhat roly-poly.

I usually have some pictures of Classic Moths sailing the regatta but no cameras at this event. From my archives, 2005 Chestertown rigging.

Bob Halsey; A Salute

Bob Halsey, open canoe racer/sailor passed away about three weeks ago at the age of 93. Bob is one of two iron men Canoe sailors I came to know when I showed up in the International Canoe class in the early 1980's. Bob and Steve Lysak were already well into their 60's but had the strength and endurance of someone in their 40's. Bob would race the Open Canoe sailing events at Sugar Island, turn around at the end of the regatta, load the canoe with camping gear and go on a sailabout of the Canadian Park islands for a couple of days.

Bob was still swimming the Round Sugar race (over 2 miles in length) well into his 80's and when he went South to Florida, he would do the Rudder Club's Mug Race on the St. Johns River (the Worlds longest river race). A well sailed Laser usually takes 12 hours to complete the race, most time Bob and his open Canoe were on the water for 14 hours, finishing well after dark. Bob started his last Mug Race two years ago (he didn't finish that one, though he had previously won the slow handicap division with his open Canoe).

Bob had been a metal worker out of North East Ohio and he had that low key Midwestern, take it in, measure it, and then parse out a cryptic but insightful... this is how it needs to be done.... from someone who had been creating, and fixing stuff for his entire life.

He will be missed!

Bob, in his own words on his sailabout of the Thousand Islands.

Probably the greatest photo of Open Sailing Canoe Racing, Bob Halsey in his self designed and built sailing Canoe with the ACA rig, at Sugar Island. Photo by Chuck Sutherland.

Oh Sh#%t; Solo dinghy sailing

Tillerman has posted a bucolic photo of lighthouses and classic yachts over on his site. Well, I was poking around my computer and came across this photo I had uploaded from the Web a while ago. It is of a singlehanded Solo dinghy (UK) in some breeze (SOME BREEZE??)

This has got to be the wildest singlehanded photo I've ever seen. For the spray to be blown flat like that, the wind gust has to be over 30. Looks like the poor skipper is a second away from having his tiny yacht driven under.
Update: Anonymous has identified the location......"Member of the Avon Sailing Club, sailing on the river Severn."
The Solo is another popular singlehander class in England (among a plethora of singlehanded classes in England). Designed by the great Jack Holt in the mid 1950's, the Solo is around 12.5 feet long (3.8 meters) and a hull weight of around 150 lbs. I think I lifted the photo from the Solo website. If anyone has the photographer's name, I would like acknowledge him/her.

I've done a more recent post (December 2011) about the Solo Dinghy over here.

Update: Oct 2012 - David Harris from Avon SC sends along a post mortem photo of Solo sailor and boat. Seems the mast complained somewhat about being sent out in these conditions.