25 April 2009

To Megabyte or Not to Megabyte

Have to admit the thought of getting out of the Megabyte has crossed my mind. Is it the psychological impact of the sick economy (I'm still employed after all) or wanting to devote more sailing time to the big boat or maybe just reconsidering the kind of racing I want to do. Whichever, and until I decide, I've got some good racing planned for this Summer: Whiskeytown, family fun at Huntington Lake, and capped off with the Megabyte North Americans (10 boats would be a huge turnout, whoohoo!) in September on The Bay. The NAs is something to look forward to and at the moment is one thing keeping my interest in the boat--dedicate one more summer to improving my skills in the boat and then see what I can do. There's also the hope that having the NAs local will boost interest in the class here.

Well, either way, had a great time a week ago mixing it up with the Vanguards. I started late, kept to the edge of the course, and took wide mark roundings to avoid screwing with the boats actually racing. Still good fun and good to get some tacking and gybing practice after being out of the boat for quite a while. I was reminded that the Megabyte is a great boat to sail. Responsive, challenging, and comfortable. Maybe I'll keep it another Summer . . .

22 April 2009

Opening Day Take Two

Six eight-minute races around some weighted down hippity-hops aint much to brag about on Sir Robin Knox-Johnston day on the web, but that, plus downing a few beers and arguing about season scoring methods, is all that we accomplished for the Vanguard 15 Fleet 76 2009 Opening Day re-do (the first attempt was blown out with 40 knot gusts--Sir Robin's seen worse.) It was great to be back among a crowd of sailing friends. All were eager to get the racing started--Dean a little over eager with two over earlies to start things off--and the post-race parking lot banter picked up right where we left it when daylight wasting time put an end to last season. Should be a great new season with opportunity to improve our skills, learn the new rules (some of us are still a couple of decades behind), do a lot of yelling, teach some kids to sail, and otherwise just have a blast racing small boats. Only one can be the first to circumnavigate singlehanded nonstop, but the rest of us still can thrill from chasing our buddies around a short course to beat them by a nose at the line--nice move there, Dean.

20 April 2009


Gee, can't remember exactly when it was we last sailed Lapras. I know it wasn't that long ago, but with a lot of other distractions lately, the memory has blurred away. Let's see. My mom and Bill were aboard. We motored East against the strong ebb in very light wind until the Easterly kicked in and whipped up a steep chop over the sand bar entering Suisun Bay. Hmmm . . . maybe I remember more of this than I thought . . . With the chop making the ride uncomfortable, we ran away with the jib poled out for a quick ebb-assisted sail home.

I remember that the last time out with me mum aboard was the day before her mum passed away. Last night, I wrote this to be read by me mum at me mum's mum memorial service this week in Manchester, England.

“Hi ya” Meant

Do you remember, “Hi ya”?
That thing Nana used to say . . . with a curl in her smile . . . a glint in her eye.

“Hi ya” meant “I’m glad to be here. I’m enjoying just being with you.”
“I’m me. You’re you, and that’s just right.” That’s what “hi ya” meant.

Sometimes the “Hi ya” was silent with just the curl and the glint to hint it was there. I’m sure that was the look she had when I first tried on the browny-greeny shorts she had made for me when I visited at the age of four. What made those shorts special was the matching marble bag she had crafted from the fabric offcuts. When I got back to the states, I was probably the only boy in the entire US of A with matching shorts and marble bag. Not something to be proud of, but I was.

“Hi ya” meant “how are you?” “I’m interested in what you’re doing, what you’re thinking, how you’re feeling”
“Hi ya” meant “come talk to me. We have all the time in the world.”

A cup of tea, some “mmm, lovely” biscuits . . . Living half a world away, I don’t have a lot of memories of Nana, but characteristic phrases and images have stuck. Something about “me frock” or “me hat”. (Which like my shorts and bag, often matched, too.) Always loving. Always tender. Always Nana.

“Hi ya” meant “hi.”

“Hi ya” meant, “I love you.”

I remember Nana. I remember “Hi ya”.

“Hi ya,” Nana.

05 April 2009

Little Big Dinghy

"Hey watch out for us little guys out there," I chirped across to the I14 crew rigging up next to me in the parking lot after learning at the skippers meeting we'd have quite the diverse "open" class at the RYC Big Dinghy. "How long's your boat," came the reply. That's when I realized, "oh yeah, I guess my dinghy is bigger than yours." Still, an International 14 at speed with two on the wire is a scary site to a guy bobbing around in the "bigger" 14 foot, 3 inch Megabyte. All turned out well, however, and as far as I know there were no collisions among the Wetas, ICs, I14s, Lightnings, Johnson 18s, Osprey, Musto Skiff, Contenders, Wing Dinghy, Force 5, or the two Megabytes.

Mack piloted the other Megabyte, and we both got some great practice on the venue that will host the Megabyte North Americans in September. By race 4, we had a good blow with 15 to 20 knots gusting 25+. Keeping the boat up to speed to weather through the steep Bay chop was the biggest challenge. I could generally finesse the boat over two or maybe three big ones in a row, but more than that and I'd loose the rhythm and come slamming down off the top of one killing all speed. Off the wind, I was happy to keep the shiny side down, but not comfortable enough to really work the boat down the waves for maximum speed. A different feel/technique is required compared to the lakes where the Fleet 3 Megabytes usually congregate for regattas. Will need to get some more practice time in on the Bay . . .