Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Lake Erie Interclub - sailboat racing can be expensive!

I left off the last post at this point;
The last fleet (Storm Warning, Outlaw and Sledge Hammer) ready to start.
They are all across the line clean and Outlaw's spinnaker is up while Sledge Hammer's asymetrical sail has an "hourglass".
Storm Warning powers past even though their asymetrical sail isn't up yet.
Sledge Hammer's sail is full and pulling well.
Outlaw is away, Storm Warning still doesn't have their "A" sail up and Sledge Hammer is trying to pass them on the windward side (good race tactic as it will steal their wind).
But Sledge Hammer's "A" sail is huge and its getting water in the bottom which could pull the boat over so
They change direction slightly and slip by Storm Warning on the leeward side.
Sledge Hammer is on her way but Storm Warning has still not got the downwind sail up.
Its still not looking good.
Then its up and flying and looks like its going to be fine - whew!
But that sigh of relief was too soon, looks like it's ripped.
Yes that is definitely a ripped asymetrical sail - that will be expensive.
They took it down and then disappeared in the fog that was rolling in. I suspect that they put up their white downwind sail (we had seen it previously) but they had lost considerable time against their competitors.
Sailboat racing is expensive. That was a huge sail to get repaired or replaced. In past years I know there was a boom broken and a rudder in another. It is not unusual to hear of ripped sails, shredded spinnakers, broken blocks and other hardware. But the same boats keep coming back year after year, they must love the competition, camaraderie and just the event in general.
Dense fog for the ride home to Dover
We pulled up the anchor (with about 150lbs of clay that we had to knock off it) and were very thankful for the GPS and chartplotter on Unison to guide us back home. Looking forward to some relaxing after 3 tiring days on the water. Not as tired as the sailors who still have 2 more races in Buffalo after this one to Port Colborne.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Lake Erie Interclub - Port Dover to Port Colborne Race

Up at 5:30am, asking myself "Why am I doing this?" but greeted at Unison with an extra large Tim Hortons coffee and I'm ready to go again.

Through the lift bridge, past the lighthouse and out onto the lake.
Light wind again!
Interesting sky and Tenacity, a Dover boat.
Chuck instructs us to fly the postponement flag (on the right) and the follow me flag (on the left) and start motoring down the lake towards Nanticoke Shoal.

The fleet is all around us, some motoring , some motor sailing.
Time to swab the deck,

dry out the sleeping bags,

find a perch
or try out the spinnaker.
This is when we heard the bagpipes.
After a while, well before Nanticoke Shoal, Chuck decided there was enough wind and we anchored and he set the start line.
The pace went from leisurely to high gear. Sails went up and the nearly 40 sailboats all clustered around the start line.
It was to be a down wind start. These are exciting to watch and nerve wracking as well. The skippers can opt to sail a spinnaker from before the start or to start first (with more control and maneuverability) and then haul up the spinnaker. We knew that the first fleets were more likely to be cautious and the later fleets more likely to be aggressive.
My job was to make sure no one was over early and after that I could take pictures (until the next fleet was ready to start). Here some have spinnakers up already and some are just starting to get them up and flying.
Off they go, into the sun. Shaibu and Venture.
Some cut rather close to the Committee Boat!
and to each other.

There was some yelling
Things would quiet down when all the spinnakers were up and they could spread out a bit.
Then more yelling as the next fleet would start, as it didn't always go perfectly.

Flyer, with Danielle on crew, got a good start.

Dreamer's spinnaker sock wasn't co-operating.
Finally it was up and she was off.
The second to last fleet went off without a hitch.
Just the 3 fastest boats were left now, "chomping at the bit"
I am going to save my pictures of their start for the next post ..........

Lake Erie Interclub - PDYC Fish Fry and Awards

We walked from Unison's dock down to the Yacht Club as we knew there would be no parking available. The club is packed, in every way; boats fill all the slips (some members give up their slips to the guests from other clubs), boats are rafted together into the river, crew have pitched tents on the grass and all parking spaces are taken up with crew and visitors.
Time for a quick snooze on a pile of sails.
or to sit in a cockpit and talk sailboats and racing, comparing tactics and equipment, tall tales and near misses
or buy an Interclub t-shirt or cap
or line up for a free drink.
Many participants are wearing the current Interclub shirt, others are wearing those from previous years but many boats have crew uniforms;

Powder Hound



I found Storm Warning at a slip and got a better picture of her bow.
I thought the painting had been air brushed on but the owner told me it was a "wrap" (?).
Continuing on the t-shirt theme, some just wear sailing related shirts;

After the fish fry (Perch and salads and lots of it) it was time for the awards for the first 2 races.
Mark looking quite proud of Caleidoscope's first place in her fleet in the Erie to Dover Race
and hamming it up with Liam who is holding Caleidoscope's second place (in her fleet) flag for the Long Point Bay Race. I'm not sure who took the photo as it was e-mailed to me.
Chuck was given a red flag for going above and beyond the call of duty and starting all the fleets at Long Point on Saturday.
After their handicaps and times were calculated, two boats tied for a flag, right down to the seconds, amazing. The skippers cut it in 2 and each got half.
I didn't wait for the band and the dancing. I had to be up early the next day so headed back to Zatarra and my "aft cabin".