Thursday, October 30, 2014

final results - sss 2014 championship

full results at

Hoisting Elise

Well, it's a week day, so city clothes...

Post Pumpkin race - with Serge, Elise's caretaker

Monday, October 27, 2014

Great Pumpkin - delivery back and Base Ball game

Sailing Elise back from RYC - beautiful lighting on Angel Island

Warm quiet evening

Mark drove such a good race!

Most people thought I was Peter Pan, even thoug I am pretty sure he was pre puberty...

There were a few really nice bird formations

Mark, Ryan and I then watched the game 

Great Pumpkin Pursuit race

Elise finished in 21st position

Bandido picked up a Pumpkin. We saw one on the course but we were doingwell in the race so the team voted against picking it up.

Dropping the pumpkins along the course

got it!

Like every year, on Great Pumpkin pursuit race, we swap positions on Elise, and we each pick the positions we think we are worst at (reliatively speaking). That works for most of us but Nathan because it is tough to find a position he is not good Nathan gets what's left over...


Mark: helm
Ryan: foredeck
Nat: tactics
Nathan: trim 1

We also had a special guest: Junior sailing program participant Jack!! Jack did trim 2 with Nathan

We picked a counterclockwise route (tactician call)

Reason 1: more spinnaker legs when wind is supposed to be strongest
Reason 2: pushed by current the entire time
Reason 3: assumed upwind leg when wind is dying therefore with higher chances of creating apparent wind. Turned out that we hoisted the spinnaker close to the finish anyhow but mostly true

This photo was purchased from H20shots.

Jack was also our photographer

Jack and Nathan working on spinnaker trim

Happy Ryan

Meeting the race of the fleet going the other way

Beautiful beautiful day

Tough to be in the lee of Angel Island in a building flood

Photos from

Jack brought us treats! Homemade Pumpkin

And I was Robin Hood

The devil trying to call the Earth on VHF

I sailed with my bow, made with wood from the yard

Ryan devilishly directing Jack to the start line

Nathan applying his face makeup

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Elise is on Google map

In Gordie's shop!


Elise SSS Season Champion

A bit of a surprise since I didn't know that there was a season championship for SSS, mainly because I had only sailed a few events in the past and only cared about these sporadic events like Three Bridge Fiasco, Single Handed Farallon race (one of my favorite annual races), Half Moon Bay.

This year, singlehanded sailing was my focus so I sailed in all events but one and that was because Elise wasn't back in the Bay Area yet and the water was too cold to swim up to Drakes Bay. George had mentioned this vaguely while we were in Hawaii but I forgot about the whole thing soon afterwards as I didn't feel concerned at all. It is only when he reminded me that I might be a contender, after all the racing had been done, in Vallejo, a week ago that I thought about it again.

A season encompasses (or at least tries to) all types of sailing. Heavy, medium and light air. Bay, Coastal, Offshore. Upwind, Downwind, Reachy. You don't need to win any race to win the season, much like you don't need to win any stage to win the Tour de France, it is a point system. It rewards consistent performance over time, and participation. And it probably rewards participating in the Single Handed Transpac quite a bit.

Looking at the trophy in disbelief.

This is also a surprise because on that rating list, there are so many sailors whose skills surpass mine and who would regularly kick my butt on the water. Somehow, it feels like I have achieved this mostly by showing up at the start line and not running aground somewhere before hitting the finish line.

It is fair that the boat name be listed because it is the boat that wins. The skipper's name is only one part of the equation. Without Gordie fixing my keel in time, I wouldn't have been able to start SHTP on time. Without Brian's autopilot, I wouldn't have had such a good performance downwind. If Serge hadn't spent so much time faring the hull, I probably would have been a couple of a tenth of a knot slower on a consistent basis. The races are not just the water part.

Maybe the lesson is that if you really focus on one thing, and you really give it everything you have (quite literally...I think every piece of equipment I own for the boat save the fleet racing sails were used during the season), you can be consistent enough across all races to win a season.

In any case, I feel proud for my beloved Elise and so glad I am lucky enough to be able to sail her. And very thankful to my parents for having had the brilliant idea to sign me up for a junior sailing program, one day way back when...

I race to become a better sailor - and I feel happy when a race has been sailed well, regardless of the result. For instance, I won my division at the Corinthian race but my upwind performance was abysmal. I would have to sail downwind to catch up. Fortunately, it was a downwind finish. So winning seemed to be more a function of the course than a function of my great sailing. On the other hand, during day 2 of Vallejo 1-2, Elise did not finish but caught up with the lead boat, then passed the lead boat, then kept up with the lead boat for the longest time and not finishing seems to be partially a function of a ship going through the shipping channel and shoving up to the West of where we wanted to be, and the wind dying right at that moment, not allowing us an easy passage back...I felt that the sailing during that race was much better, yet the result wasn't great.

Being recognized by peers that I respect tremendously and who have taught me so much, the members of the Singlehanded Sailing Society feels like I might have improved my sailing a bit. And THAT feels good, and is more meaningful to me than anything else.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The 2 of Vallejo 1-2

early morning walk by the marina

breakfast at the Sardine Can. A tradition.

 light air

 very light air

very very light air

very very very very very light air

I am contributing to boat speed

actively contributing that is

A clear windline...

We are still moving forward

 It was so light I could swim faster than Elise would move forward. Was helpful because there was a lot of crappy seaweed stuck in the rudder

We fnished 10 inutes too late. but we had a beautiful sail home in the sunset

Photos courtesy of Nathan