Saturday, March 31, 2012

Double Handed Farallons - my decision...

Today, the double handed farallons race was scheduled...I ultimately decided against going...here is why

The weather forecast is up but in my opinion safe for experienced sailors in a boat that is well maintained, just received a clean bill of health and has all the safety equipment. The good news about it is that it is pretty steady so the conditions you see out in the morning will be similar to the conditions in the afternoon, allowing for turning around safety calls based on actual conditions.

So had I known I was going with the person I am doing Pac Cup with, with the 2nd crew who had expressed interest, Nathan with whom I have been sailing for years, Nick whom I have a lot of respect for as a sailor and know well, Scott who is very experienced and skilled, or anyone else I know well, have sailed with before, I would have gone.

However, around midnight, with 8 hours to go, I finally secured one person to go out there with...And that one person is someone I do not know and who does not know the boat. He sounds like a fantastic sailor, and my kind of sailor (offshore/adventure type, and a small boat lover despite the discomfort) but I felt rushed not having the time to chat with a couple of people I know and trust as sailors about him as a sailor.

With this unknown, I had a small doubt in my mind about how safe a call it was to go out to the ocean (as opposed to rocking around on the Bay). The swell is really a critical factor in safety, the wind not as big a problem, and certainly a problem that can be much more easily managed. 

I talked with a couple of people whom I know as sailors and respect and asked them what they would do in my position - they both agreed that given the rush + unknown factor and the conditions out there, they would not be going in my shoes.

That advice and an old principle of mine which says that if I can't be 100% sure I am making a safe decision (even if if I am mistaken) for the crew and the boat, then it probably is not a safe decision...and I will err on the safe side. My irrational side was pushing me to go so badly just because I am a huge fan of ocean racing, but I tried to set it aside as it is not a good safety companion. My rational side had one open question - at sea and with the comfort of choice because the boat is in port right now (obviously, hitting a storm out in the ocean triggers a different set of decisions), open questions about safety are paramount.

So it is with a very heavy heart that at the very last minute, I erred on the safety side :(

it is probably a good call. And it still sucks big time...

 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pumpkin

Pumpkin, one of my cats, looks confused. Airbnb guest says 'well, he is named after a vegetable, what do you expect???'

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Relaxing before or after the races this Spring Keel weekend

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Mike and Mark

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 Mike, Scott, Mark, Nat and Sergey
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Mark and Sergey
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Sergey and Nat
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Scot, Nat and Mike

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Learning from this weekend

We debriefed a lot after this weekend's race and tried to figure out how we can improve, based on our observations and based on the data from Sail Analytics (that Sergey put together! and we had the master sailing on Elise this weekend!)

 

Looks like areas of improvements for us are in order of priority

 

  1. Tacks (speed during and re-acceleration after tacks)
  2. Starts (last start was great, but few boats were on the line)
  3. Upwind boat speed (although we saw massive improvement from Saturday to Sunday by applying some basic notes from Saturday
    1. using the pinching technique to depower the boat
    2. drive the boat more with the sails (main) and less with the tiller
    3. traveler down and small traveler adjustments (one backstay is maxed out) 

 

  • Pointing was good (as good as Witchy Woman's)
  • Boat was flat the whole time (less than 15 degrees) 
  • Boat speed on Sunday was good (keeping up with lead boats the entire upwind legs)
  • 20 seconds slower than lead boat on Saturday upwinds
  • Downwind speed is good on Saturday with chute up
  • Downwind track looks a bit erratic in one of the races ;-)

 

 

Learning from this weekend

We debriefed a lot after this weekend's race and tried to figure out how we can improve, based on our observations and based on the data from Sail Analytics (that Sergey put together! and we had the master sailing on Elise this weekend!)

 

Looks like areas of improvements for us are in order of priority

 

  1. Tacks (speed during and re-acceleration after tacks)
  2. Starts (last start was great, but few boats were on the line)
  3. Upwind boat speed (although we saw massive improvement from Saturday to Sunday by applying some basic notes from Saturday
    1. using the pinching technique to depower the boat
    2. drive the boat more with the sails (main) and less with the tiller
    3. traveler down and small traveler adjustments (one backstay is maxed out) 

 

  • Pointing was good (as good as Witchy Woman's)
  • Boat was flat the whole time (less than 15 degrees) 
  • Boat speed on Sunday was good (keeping up with lead boats the entire upwind legs)
  • 20 seconds slower than lead boat on Saturday upwinds
  • Downwind speed is good on Saturday with chute up
  • Downwind track looks a bit erratic in one of the races ;-)

 

 

Changing the base of Elise's traveler car

Photos courtesy of Nat's camera and Serge's expertise

The base of the traveler broke before the start of the second race

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Mike and Mark offering their precious help
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Nat went out to West Marine at 8am on Sunday to pick up the part and had to fight her way through half a dozen parts that look exactly the same...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Racing on Frequent Flyer - Farr 30

Last Sunday, Nat raced on Frequent Flyer, a Farr 30 at the Redwood Cup, doing spin trim. The boat is only 3 feet longer than Elise but has nearly double the sail area (and the keel weight :))

Pretty amazing ride, even though we had some really interesting 180 wind shifts...one moment you are sailing downwind, the next upwind ;-)

The boat tied in for 1st place.

Photo
 Doing a bit of lubing along the main track. Requires going up the mast.

Photo courtesy of Ella.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Elise's caretaker taking part in Big Daddy

Serge sailed on Ohana

Serge
and did trim

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Photos: Serge

Next boat coming up...mark rounding (again) Big Daddy 2012

[[posterous-content:pid___1]] Spinnaker preset[[posterous-content:pid___2]]and up!

[[posterous-content:pid___3]]Next fleet coming up to the windward mark and getting ready to round it

[[posterous-content:pid___4]][[posterous-content:pid___19]][[posterous-content:pid___20]][[posterous-content:pid___21]][[posterous-content:pid___18]][[posterous-content:pid___17]][[posterous-content:pid___16]][[posterous-content:pid___15]][[posterous-content:pid___13]][[posterous-content:pid___14]][[posterous-content:pid___7]]huh oh...[[posterous-content:pid___8]]this was a very nice hoist - and good trim[[posterous-content:pid___9]][[posterous-content:pid___10]]spinnaker is pre-fed and ready to go up. Boat approaching the offset mark[[posterous-content:pid___11]]Oopsie, a little hourglass knot; not looking good, eg. not looking fast :)[[posterous-content:pid___12]][[posterous-content:pid___6]]pre-feeding the spinnaker[[posterous-content:pid___5]]You can see the mast person pulling on the halyard and the bow person feeding the spinnaker out of the hatch so it doesn't get caught on anything. Makes for a fast set. We now do this on Elise with our pit person jumping up to the mast to do that. then jumping back to get the jib down

Another Mark Rounding - Big Daddy 2012

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Upwind
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In the middle of a tack toward the mark
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Rounding the mark
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On their way to the offset, the spinnaker is 'pre-fed'
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at the offset
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a little slow on the hoist...the boat is already downwind and the spinnaker is not up yet...

Let's Follow a Sailboat to the windward mark at Big Daddy 2012

[[posterous-content:pid___0]]Going upwind[[posterous-content:pid___1]][[posterous-content:pid___2]][[posterous-content:pid___3]]Getting ready to tack toward toward the mark (eg 'turn' toward the mark)[[posterous-content:pid___4]]As the boat is confident they will make the mark on that tack, they are getting their pole up and getting ready to set their spinnaker[[posterous-content:pid___5]]by the mark they are already nearly ready to set the spinnaker[[posterous-content:pid___6]]hoisting![[posterous-content:pid___7]]It is up![[posterous-content:pid___8]]Taking their jib down now that the spinnaker is up and flying[[posterous-content:pid___9]]And downwind they go. Next stop the leeward mark where everything happens in reverse order...

Race Committee for Big Daddy 2012

Nat did some race committee work at Big Daddy this year. Markset boat (eg the boat that places the windwark mark and in the case of this race; the offset...)

Again, please join me in saluting all these volunteers that allow all the racers to have fun...

[[posterous-content:pid___0]]Jennifer all bundled up for the cold wind. You don't get to move much on a race committee boat.[[posterous-content:pid___1]]Greg, our fearless captain[[posterous-content:pid___2]]This was the Race Committee boat, with the Principal Race Organizer (PRO) - this is where all the coordination for all the mark boats, crash boats, line boats, etc... gets done. Over VHF.[[posterous-content:pid___3]]Getting flags ready - everything in sailboat racing is done via visual signals[[posterous-content:pid___4]][[posterous-content:pid___5]] Which one will we pick for our offset? ;-)[[posterous-content:pid___6]]Encounter with the photo boat[[posterous-content:pid___7]][[posterous-content:pid___8]]With our proud work: the windwark mark which we carried all the way to the top of the course and anchored[[posterous-content:pid___9]]Getting some protection from the elements[[posterous-content:pid___10]]Doing a wind read with a compass. We put a flag up, read the direction the wind is coming from and relay that info to the PRO to see if they want to make any adjustment. Remember...start line needs to be square to the wind...[[posterous-content:pid___11]]There are some advantages in doing race committee...loads of downtime...

Big Daddy Regatta 2012

Nice writeup from Norcal Sailing

http://www.norcalsailing.com/entries/2012/03/12/bigdaddy.html#.T2F0axEgd5Y

And a particularly bad main tear

Photo: Steve Holloway

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Elise Health Bulletin

  • new outhaul cable
  • new outhaul line (low stretch high tech line)
  • double purchase on the outhaul 
  • new gooseneck pin
  • rig was checked and is fine - could be tuned up
  • new primary winch on starboard side

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pac Cup 2012 Prep Weekend #1

Photos courtesy of Serge (mostly)

[[posterous-content:pid___0]]At the last practice there was an encounter of the third kind with a buoy which left some traces on the hull.

[[posterous-content:pid___1]] Serge's special treatment pretty much eradicated the whole thing

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Clean as new!
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And Elise has never been so clean...wait. That's not true. She gets this treatment every week...
[[posterous-content:pid___6]]The man behind making Elise so beautiful

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Nat looking puzzled at the mess the lead line has become (now replaced by a much lighter depth meter...but helpful in the event of a complete loss of power) - Serge solved the problem in no time. The line is now tidy and stowed away in Nat's garage until its next trip.
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Nat calibrating the voltmeter with brain waves
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Checking that no cat hid under the car[[posterous-content:pid___12]]Doing some creative choreography
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Fixing up some loose wires in the starboard quarterberth[[posterous-content:pid___14]][[posterous-content:pid___15]]
ToDos done for Pac Cup so far
  • Found source of survival suits (Thanks Ray!)
  • Inspect boat for any maintenance items inside and outside (led to job list and shopping list)
  • Test emergency VHF antenna (it works just fine)
  • Bought new flare box
  • Put sail number on Elise's storm jib
  • Replaced Elise's spotlight
  • Got Elise a second waterproof flashlight
  • Saw off bolts at fore peak & check for other similar head pokers in boat
  • Reserved liferaft for the trip

Running aground...

Oopsie

Photo courtesy of Ultimate Yachtshots

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Elise has a new cooler

Courtesy of Serge - this is Elise's Christmas present

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 the old and the new one...

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Sanding the top
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Varnishing the top
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And Elise's new cooler is ready to be used!