27 April 2010

Sailing in 2025

The future of sailing? It's here right now:
  • Advanced materials
  • Engineering first, art second
  • Multihulls
Oh, and the Laser -- after all, tradition and resistance to change are sailing's strongest forces.

Back to you, Tillerman.

17 April 2010

Season 4

No, it's not some box set of reruns to help you waste hours and hours on the couch watching other people pretend to be other people. No, the only way to see it is to do it. Fleet 76 is back at it, racing Vanguard 15s Friday night out of Benicia. The fleet is looking as healthy as ever with one new boat and several "new guys" looking for a crew spot. Rich is going to skipper an underutilized boat this year which means David is back in the crew training business. And hey, the owners even have a new old outboard on the way to replace the one that was stolen off the committee/chase boat last year.

I missed the first racing night of the season (had to get my speed rest before Corinthian), but made it out last Friday for day 2. We were blessed with perfect conditions--enough current to make some break from the parade downwind to look for an advantage and enough wind to get even us big boys in the hiking straps. Other than feeling a little awkward with boat handling it felt like we just picked up where we left off last October, except that I hate Dean's new tiller extension--sorry, Dean.

The parking lot post race camaraderie also flowed right in from last year with renewed pressure from some for me to buy and campaign my own Vanguard now that the Megabyte is gone. They are not going to be too happy with me when they find out what I did at the boat show last weekend . . .

14 April 2010

Corinthian Survival

OK, right out with it: we were the last boat to finish in our class. But hey, the keyword there is "finish." This race turned out to be more of a real fiasco than the real fiasco--about a third of the boats in the fleet never made it to the finish. Heck, with 38 mph gusts at the start, some never even started the race. We made a reasonable show of it, getting our pudgy little cruiser around the bay tour race course, but being on your ear all the way up wind (we ran out of reefs) and wiping out several times downwind (despite being in the non-spinnaker class) ain't exactly fast.

Other than being well outside our optimal conditions, we probably had at least 15 minutes worth of slow start, extra tacks, misjudged laylines, uncoordinated sail handling, etc. That's the difference between finishing 5th and 8th. It was tough on everybody, but especially so on the little guys and those of us with basically cruising sails and such. In that kind of weather Lapras probably can't sail to her rating, anyway, but with a little more help from her humans she could have a closer look at the front.

Last or first, it was still a ton of fun. We got around the course on a really rough day, one if not for the race we would have spent at home watching TV or something.

More here: Blustery SSS Corinthian Race