[Public-List] Another race night

Gordon Laco via Public-List public-list at lists.alberg30.org
Thu Aug 11 05:21:26 PDT 2016

Good morning,

SURPRISE was out on the race course last night here at Midland Bay Sailing
Club.  My business day was hectic (hectic because we¹re very busy... I kept
telling myself this kind of stress is good.  The bad kind of stress is
sitting in a quiet office wondering why nobody calls...) so I looked eagerly
toward getting down to the boat.

Our crew last night was much attenuated.  My son Pete couldn¹t come; his
foredeck associate Steve is getting married on Saturday so begged off.  This
later was perfectly understandable of course but I affected a pained voice
when he called me, and thought it appropriate to commend that it bodes ill
for the future if he¹s already curtailing his Œguy stuff¹ when he¹s not even
quite married yet.

So off Clint and I went.  I decided to make our absent members feel worse by
putting ice on the beer, a rare thing in our boat and the fact that they
missed it would, I hoped, make their choices sting a little.

Motoring out to the start, I was very pleased to find that SURPRISE had her
top speed under power back.  Here¹s what that¹s all about.  I actually
nearly wrote to the list about it, modifying the pleasure I was feeling
earlier about the performance of our new propeller.  We¹d noticed lately
that full throttle barely got us up to 5 kts, and towing the dinghy knocked
some off even that.  The change happened so suddenly that I thought perhaps
we had weed on the prop.  We didn¹t.  I thought the knotmeter was wrong, it
wasn¹t.  Then I remembered that I hadn¹t given the engine a tune up for
years... Turned out it was five years.  In real life Clint is a highly
skilled mechanic so he had a look at our Atomic IV¹s ignition system.  The
points were closed up and very worn.  The rotor was worn, etc etc.  so after
new points etc (during which I sent out my appeal for the gap figure) all
was back together.  And what a difference...

Back to the race.  The wind was 10 kts+ and squarely north...  We joined the
fleet of about 20 boats swinging back and forth before the start sequences.
A Fleet (full of big boats) got away without stress....  We had a superb
start with B... Our main foes MAID MARION and SUNDANCE nicely tucked under
us and both looking unhappy.

The wind dropped, leaving a slight chop and the worst of all conditions for
our Alberg 30 in a mixed fleet... About 5 knots of wind.  We¹ve found that
in more than 5 or less, we¹re competitive, but at 5 and particularly with a
bit of a chop, we are very slow.    So away went the whole fleet. By the end
of the first windward leg we were in last and we never got back up into the
pack.  We occasionally gained, but never much and the gains were always lost
again going to windward.  Because there were only two of us, and perhaps
because I was getting demoralized, we didn¹t use the chute downwind so any
gains we made off the wind were incidental and fleeting.

The long agony ended with the shame of the committee boat crew having to
wait for us as we crept across the finish.  I shouted Œthank you for
waiting¹ to them, they responded with Œwe don¹t often have to wait for YOU¹.
Which was nice I guess but not great.

Why so bad, when last Wednesday, also in light air, we were first?  Well I
think the difference was that the lower wind last night was not until the
end as light as the week before.  And last night there was a slop on the
water, whereas last week the water was smooth as glass.  While trudging back
to the club I remarked to Clint that maybe we were so slow because I¹d
filled the portside saddle fuel tank in anticipation of our sailing trip
next week.  Clint responded saying we were about 300 pounds lighter with the
missing crew taken into consideration.  There was the lack of spinnaker use,
but the truth is if we had used it, it wouldn¹t have brought us up the
distance we were astern.

I think that last factor was me.  I wasn¹t Œon¹ for the first half of the
race and by the time I was feeling tuned in to the boat we had lost too
much.   Both MAID MARION and SUNDANCE came over after the race and commented
Œwow, we certainly got our revenge tonight, what happened?¹   I complimented
SUNDANCE on his ability to make his boat point, and as usual MAID MARION was
deadly fast in light air.

Maybe I¹ll have to develop some sort of pre-battle ritual to get my head
clear of conversations with customs brokers etc and into the boat.


Gord #426 Surprise

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