Thursday, July 31, 2014

Overnight Racing Part II

Couldn't find this year's but I like this logo

It appears that I've been bitten by the long distance overnight bug--now off to do the Governor's Cup starting tomorrow afternoon. This one is just a bit longer than the Solomons Island Race--68.6 nautical miles. CBOFS wind prediction is calling for 5-10 knots which is a hell of a lot better than the less than 5 predicted earlier this week. We have a good crew--people I've raced with quite a bit over the years so it will be nice to be out there with them again. I was supposed to do this race in '09 but instead went to Amsterdam...I think I made the right choice. But it has taken me this long to get back to doing it--usually because of scheduling--we tend to go to the beach either the last week of July or the first week of August but this year was a fluke & we'll be going a bit later. So now I'm finally going--I think it was good to get the experience of Solomons first so that I have a better feel for this race--but no fishtraps! Unfortunately I'll have to come back Saturday evening--I usually like to help bring the boat back from wherever we've raced to, but since our kitchen remodel there's stuff I gotta do on Sunday.  But for now, my thoughts are looking to the bay & the overnight into St. Mary's.

Off we go!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Fish Trap Mythology

Dog fight under the moonlight
What an amazing birthday! My last post was anticipating the event but the experience was way better than I anticipated! The wind was better, the race was better, & ultimately my birthday was better! Lucky me.

The race itself was challenging--we were in a dog fight with another boat pretty much the entire way down to Solomons--covering tacks at least a dozen times if not more--sometimes they were ahead, & sometimes we were. And the fish traps! Xing Fu warned that the boat could be swallowed whole & we all way!  But even under that full moon, we had our work cut out for us trying to steer clear. Sometimes you could hear a bunch of birds as they sat on top of the poles, but often, nuffin'! And at one point, crash tacking away so that the other boat could be clear ahead was critical. 
Also, as we crept up on another one, we realized that it spread out across the river like this one above--we were so close at one point we could've reached out & grabbed it! Hopefully no boats got caught up in it--didn't hear of any so maybe everyone was able to avoid these hazards this year.

At midnight, the crew sang Happy Birthday & we toasted with a little wine--just before tacking to avoid the fish trap--no rest for the weary! At 3:30 AM, we were getting punchy--the glow from the huge gas dock could be seen for hours & we kept saying--"Oh, there's the gas dock!" for about 4 hours straight. And singing traditional sailing songs....while tacking to keep in the fight. It was a lot of fun, but I was glad to finish at about 7:45 the next morning--beating out 3 boats--including the one we battled with all the way down, that managed to pass us when we were under the wrong spinnaker earlier. We crossed the line 3rd but were corrected over by 2 boats which gave us 5th place...ah, PHRF racing--so close & yet so far. When we got into the marina, there were Bloody Marys & other birthday drinks made by my skipper & another friend: Painkillers for my birthday! Xing Fu drove down & brought birthday cake so another round of Happy Birthday. Needless to say, the morning was a bit hazy--by 1 PM or so, I needed to sleep so I found my way to the motel & crashed for about 3 hours until it was time to go to dinner.

I think I heard Happy Birthday sung to me about 4 times that day--the last was a rousingly loud one by the entire bar at dinner--so fun! And it truly was a birthday for the record books--thanks to all of my sailing friends for such a super celebration!

Looking forward is Governor's Cup--I'm going to do this crazy overnight thing again--adding about 20 more miles....

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Overnight Racing

I feel that my standard opening lines are always, "Been a while..." Like my very own "Once upon a time." Okay, so, it's been a while. NYC was awesome--Hedwig even awesomer! My son is in Spain for 3 weeks studying Spanish & Global Business & so it has been quieter at home, but I've been keeping very busy with sailing, of course.
Solomons Island

And I'm going to write about sailing--now that's been a while! I think this may have been the first year where I haven't waxed poetic about racing & sailing. I guess it is a "goes without saying" by now, but I'm happy to inform everyone that I'm still out there at least 2-3 days a week racing or sailing, or practicing. This weekend is an overnight race to Solomons Island. It used to be the feeder race for Screwpile which I won't be doing for the 2nd year in a row--sad but as it is now out of sync with the Solomons race, no one wants to keep their boats down there for a week until Screwpile. Plus, racing overnight is more interesting for a lot of people who don't want to do windward-leewards in usually very light air for two days. It is certainly a new experience for me. I was going to do the Gov Cup in 2009 but instead went to Amsterdam--that would have been my first overnight racing experience & ever since, I've been unable to participate in either Solomons or the Governor's Cup because of scheduling reasons. So now it looks like at least I'll be doing Solomons & quite possibly Gov Cup this year--so new racing experiences for me after so many years.  I've sailed at night quite a bit, but no racing. There will be a full "super" moon for this race--how cool--at least we'll have some good ambient light--there can be many hazards: long tows--barges attached to tugs with a very long towing cable, fishing traps that according to Xing Fu can swallow your boat right up, unlit buoys, etc., always need someone on watch for these things but I'm thankful for the full moon & moonset isn't until 5:00 AM~lucky us.  Wind is predicted to be light & we should be beating(close hauled) most of the way, but looking at the stars, the moon, the water--the quiet, nice. And, it is my birthday on the 12th as well! How auspicious--Cancers are ruled by the moon & on my birthday there will be the super moon. Now I can get all horoscope-y & talk about how Cancer is a water sign-I'll be sailing, the super moon, & Fun!
See you in Solomons!