Sunday, April 20, 2008

First Races of the 2008 Season

The first races of the 2008 season started with a bang. Winds gusting upwards of 40 MPH for the 2nd race made things rather interesting... it may explain my soreness this morning. We started off with a general recall and thank goodness, we were way over and a little to eager beaver, but I guess I few of the other guys were too. On the restart, 4 boats were over and we were one of them... maybe one day I'll learn how to start. We retreated back to the line rather quickly, cleared ourselves and rounded up. We nailed the sail trim and the boat came alive. We were high and fast and despite the bad start ended up 3rd at the windward rounding. Downwind we separated nicely, but Wilson had taken advantage and was gone. Bill D. was ahead of us but we closed the gap as we got to the leeward mark. All I can say is... sweet rounding. Again we were high and fast and on the shoreline tack Bill took our stern. Our tack wasn't so hot and we barely crossed in front on the next pass. As we crossed again at the St. Francis, Bill had an override on the starboard side and floundered and we sailed on. The gap increased and the IOD's came up on us from behind causing additional drama. We held 2nd and felt like we were making gains on Wilson for the rest of the race. My crew was convinced we'd be in a battle for first if our start had been better. The 2nd race we were poised for an awesome start and the boat end, but I asked for the main to come in a bit soon and we clipped the committee boat's metal guard rail and had to do a 360. Minor gel coat damage, nothing that can't be sanded, filled and faired from the dock. At this point the wind had really come up and my main trimmer got the main sheet wrapped around his lag and our turn took a lot longer than it should have. We recovered and again felt high and fast. By the time we got to the windward mark we were 4th and our group was breaking away from the rest of the fleet. Downwind we turned ASAP and headed straight for the mark. Wilson and Tommy went wide and by the time we reached the leeward mark we were in 2nd place. Peter was in first and not going to be caught so the plan was to defend 2nd, but the rounding turn was good, but our trim was not and we were too tight. Tommy went below us, Wilson went above us and we ended up 4th. But, for not having had tuned the boat at all and just throwing up a MP main and new Doyal jib, and crew I'd never sailed with it was a very promising day on the water. This was the first time I'd ever raced the boat aside from the single handed race.
The port side cleat is lose and needs repair. The jib also needs repair. The batten pockets decided to open up. Not a big deal, but I'll have Columbo at Doyal fix it this week.
The traveller and backstay control line cleat housing teak broke away on the last tack before the finish. Ironically, Peter Jeal had noticed this as a weak point and recommended I fix it. Now I guess I'll have to. The only other major drama I heard of was Brock's crew taking a swim. I received this email from him this morning:
Congratulations on your strong first day finishes on Josephine! Looks like you have the potential to give Don & Peter a run for the money. On the last downwind jibe in the second race I lost Phil, my foredeckman overboard.The wind was intense, the pole was up and I had a crew member in the water. No time to go forward to take down the pole. We immediately turn upwind disregarding the jib and threw Phil the life ring. I then got out a coil of floating line and managed to get it to him on the second toss. Once he was on the line we pulled him back to the boat and the pulled him on board like a tuna. I seem to be getting a lot of man overboard practice as I had two last year. Throwing the ring was important as it is bright orange and provides a good target for keeping an eye on the swimmer. The floating line was also a big help. Tomorrow I am going to the boat show and will look for one of those rope ladders with the plastic steps that Don demoed at the Spring meeting. This would definitely make getting back into the boat easier. I sailed back to Alameda by myself with only the jib and the boat was still doing 4.5 - 5+ knots! I checked the weather at 6:30 and they said there were wind gusts of 40-50 MPH with a 65 MPH gust recorded in San Rafael. Quite a way to start the season. Hopefully there was no boat damage.


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