Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Discovery Museum in Sausalito

No sailboat racing this last weekend, time to spend the weekend with the family and do something fun. We crossed the bridge and went to the Discovery Museum in Sausalito.
Lots of fun stuff for kids of all ages, but I think about 10 or 11 is the max age for kids at this place. After that, I think you're fooling yourself about the things your kids might find interesting.
But for our little Annika, it was whole new world filled with excitement at every turn. A nautical theme makes me happy because it makes for introduction to all the nautical terms which is an education in itself.
Boats and boards and water play areas inspired all the little kids I saw around the playground. They were so engrossed in the things they were discovering that they were ignoring their parents completely... which can be good if you actually want to talk with other adults for a change.
This metal sculpture reminded me of something Peter Jeal would make if he were so inspired.
We went indoors to the Tot Spot and Annika played us some music.
She crawled around everywhere and was laughing a giggling everywhere she went.
Then she charged at me.
And attacked, slobbering and snotting all over me. I got slimmed. It was awesome.

Monday, May 19, 2008

WBRA Races 5 & 6

Well, what do you think? Would you consider this to be a problem?

It's kind of dug in and the vetical cracks seem substancial.

Maybe I'm a worry wart... or maybe that's what keeps the boats that I've had together.
All 4 arms of the boom track have issues. That's the problem with a painted mast.

The races: First race Wilson and and I shot off the front and before the 2nd leeward mark the vang attachment point gave and slid toward the mast. Panda was right to drill out the holes and screw the attachment points in. I thought they'd hold, I was wrong. We were close to passing Wilson downwind and gave up that attempt and limped in for 2nd place. By the time we fixed the vang and noticed the boom had also dropped 4 holes and dealt with that in 25 knot winds, we had just enough time to come back to the start line only to discover how grossly favored the pin end was. Peter port tack started and was launched. Turns out he had some mast issue and couldn't use any backstay. We consolidated but were too far back to catch up. Down wind the vang slipped again and we went from 4th and closing to 5th and defending. It got interesting at the finish when Mike took Peter well above the lay line and held him off. Tom and I got close to catching them because of the extra distance they travelled, but in the end it was a bummer of a 5th place. Wilson got 2 bullets. Disappointed with how fast I know the boat can be. Completely mismanaged on my part. It's good to learn from mistakes... it makes you stronger. Nietzsche was right.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Follkboats are great....

... but Annika is better!!! She's almost 9 months now and is really super fun. She's saying "Mama" and "Dada" and a bunch of other little cute babbling noises. She can stand up with almost no hand holds and is a super fast crawler.
After work I jet over to her daycare and pick her up so we can have good father/daughter bonding. We sing songs, play with her toys, talk about what happened that day...
She's 20 pounds already and it's all in her cheeks. She's developed this cute little giggle that simply melts my heart. It's going to be a great summer vacation this year.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

2nd Wednesday Evening Race

It was hot today and the wind was shifty and light by SF Bay standards, so we threw up the MP sails and had at it. It worked... we got lucky too. But before the start though, we started a war with Mike Goebel. I forgot to empty my pockets before we shoved off and realized I still had a tennis ball in my cargo shorts pocket from work. So, when we passed close to Mike I threw it at him... and missed. Man overboard drill! We retrieved the ball and threw it once more... and missed again. We didn't have good position to go back and get it, but found it a few minutes later and threw it once more... third time a charm, direct hit. Score: Kaiser 1 / Goebel 0. Mike retrieved the ball and fired and missed our stern by a foot and then he retrieved the ball again, but by then it was time to start and war will have to continue another time. The first start was a general recall and thankfully so, we were so far over the line we were in China. The 2nd start I used a little advice from Anders Olsen... I elected to be at the 2nd best spot on the line and got clear air and room to maneuver. It didn't hurt that IOD's were coming down and trying to round the starting pin and messed a bunch of boats up. The wind shifts were unusual in that there were very distinct warm and cool wind oscillations. The warmer winds were coming off the shore and gave port tack a lift and the cooler winds were more straight out of the channel and gave starboard a lift. I didn't tack on every wind shift, but made my educated guesses as to where I wanted to have the boat up the first windward beat. It was flooding so I didn't want to go too far out, but I didn't want to go to far in either, so I played the Goldilocks strategy and made sure our position was just right. It worked, but not as good as it did for Randy and Richard. We were all together at the windward mark and we were 3rd. We passed them both before the leeward rounding and didn't head up as high as we should have around the mark and gave Richard some breathing room. He used it, passed us and made us duck him once, but he got stuck behind the wind shadow of the St. Francis and we stayed out despite the adverse current. The wind pressure was stronger and we won. Richard was 2nd, Tom jr. was 3rd, Team Wilson was 4th and Peter was 5th.
The sunset was magnificent and Cassandra and I were reminiscing about how this sunset reminded us of the skies in Bogense during the Gold Cup in 2006.
We were catching up to the Knarrs too quickly in the harbor and had to spin around once... luckily that made for the cool shot of Peter Jeal's boat.
Tom jr. was close behind and soon the rest of the fleet would be upon us, so we skedaddled.
Not a lot of wind... it won't last, it never does. Everyone was talking about how the wind will return with a vengeance for this Saturday's races over in the Olympic Circle.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Sad Day on the Bay

I received these pictures without the story... I had heard a rumor that a Folkboat had sunk in Richardson's Bay. These pictures confirm part of the story, but how could this have happen?
I found this link detailing the story... credit goes to Latitude 38 for the story.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A First for the First Wednesday Evening Race

Last evening was very special for me... Cassandra started crewing again after several seasons and I guess she's good luck and good crew, we got our first win of the season on the first race of the Wednesday Evening series. Brock wanted to throw me in the water because it was the first win in the new boat. Hmmm... not tonight, I have a headache. We had a great start with clear air and made it first to the windward mark, held everyone off down wind and moved away on the upwind leg. Over stood the mark by a ton by accident and had an over-ride on the port winch. Couldn't get that undone until we rounded, luckily we didn't have to tack. As the wind faded and the sun went down we rounded the final leeward mark and just tried to go as fast as possible. Peter was higher, but at that point there was too much distance to make up and the wind was steady all the way to the finish. Peter was 2nd, Don was 3rd, Bill D was 4th and Tommy was 5th.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Out With The Old...

... in with the new. As much as I like the green theme, slowly I will phase out what I can. This time it's the boom.
Panda hooked me up with a John Mast aluminum boom from Denmark. All the wood purist and booing and hissing, but it's the future of the fleet. Half the boats I saw in Sweden and Denmark had them, they were totally accepted and... they are less maintenance. At this point in my life I don't have the time to strip the green paint off, see what is exactly under that paint because as we all know, until it's scrapped off a whole lot a problems can turn a seemingly simple project into an adventure in wood working.
The green boom had evidence of problems, a crack here...
A crack there...
Another crack here... and it was too thick. Extra wood was added to the sides, but that makes it illegal, right?
I'm not sure it's supposed to be open at the end, but does have the outhaul/5-1 purchase inside. Problematic if it jams... there's no way to fix it on the fly, but Panda assures me that he has worked this bug out.
I'm not too fond of the color chosen for the outhaul line... kinda clashes with the color scheme. I'll deal with that later.
The green boom was almost straight.
This one is definitely straight.
Pretty slick how the shiv is inside the boom and the outhaul line descends almost straight down, through one block and trails aft. Really cleans things up compared to how it was before. First test of the new boom will be the first race of the 2008 Wednesday Evening Series.
This is next on my list of things I shouldn't really wait for to break like every other one I've ever had. I do like being able to set the jib halyard to a number on the side of the box, but control lines can be marked in other ways too. Oh, by the way, if anyone needs a spare boom because their's broke you can use my green one until you get your new one.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Day 2 - Races # 3 & #4 - Knox Buoy

It was a beautiful morning... I played with my daughter, changed her diaper, sipped a cup of coffee, watched a little ESPN... I ordered the sandwiches from the local Safeway and picked them up early. I even had time to fiddle around the boat, eat breakfast, put on sunblock, take off the tool box and extra unnecessaries.
Then my morning started to suck. I call my crew at 10 because it was time to leave the dock and I wanted to see how close he was to see if we should get the sails ready without him he acts like he has no idea it's a race day. I hang up and turn to my other crew and say, "It's just us, let's go."
He starts making phone calls and his brother was his 3rd option, but was in the area and available. So, I ask him to make like the kid in the movie The Incredibles and go get him (the kid in the movie has like super speed super powers if you haven't seen the movie). While he was gone I rigged the boat so all they had to do was walk on and cast off. The sails were up as they were walking from their car. It was 10:35 and everyone was long gone. The wind had just come up from the north west and it was flooding so we pointed high and made our way over to the Knox buoy area... luckily, we were the 4th start.

Meet my muppets. Will and his brother Tucker. Great guys, too. They put up with my antics and intensity today. They wanted to win just as bad as me and felt bad they didn't know what to do.
Will is actually very good crew. He's done time on J-105's and Express 27's and many other boats, so he knows what's up.
Tucker just had hand surgery and it was forecast to blow 20-25... yikes.
The usual suspects were in attendance, Team Wilson with Kate Funk.
Richard and Al... no 3rd.

Chris Herrmann, Mike Cole and new guy Chris... didn't get the last name and some random piece of string stuck on the lens.
USA 108
Mike Goebel and Co.
That rouge piece of string again.
Bill DuMullin woke up in time for the first race.

Peter Jeal and Suzi Parker... they're mad at me right now. Some silly trifle at the first start. We might be going to protest room, I hope.
Randy Hietter on Scout - USA 115
Brock DeLappe looking sharp.
There were others... Tom Reed jr. on USA 111 and Werner Stein with Chad Schwartz on USA 103. 74, 76, 104, 105 and 114 were notably absent. Danielle Dignan is only sailing 116 on the Wednesdays and the Woodies.
First race we were 2nd to the windward mark had a poor leeward rounding and fell to 5th, very disappointing. We worked out the crew teamwork thing and did much better after that. Peter won and Wilson was 2nd... I think. In the 2nd race we were 6th to the windward rounding, pulled into 3rd by the leeward rounding, moved up to 2nd before the next windward mark then actually passed Wilson downwind... I'm still trippin' that we did that. Then, damn it, we were covering the fleet along the shore of Angel Island and we all sailed into a hole. The heat from the island creates this weird effect when it heats up. The wind rises up just before it hits the land creating a hole. I know it does this, I talked about it on the way over to the races, I saw it getting lighter, but I went into it anyway. All I could think was cover, cover, cover. Wilson pulled out of it better and beat us to the line by a third of a boat length. Ok, not bad really. The boat is fast and the tuning we did on Wednesday was spot on, we're fast on both tacks now and downwind. We'll be OK for the rest of the season.

After the races a bunch of us stopped at the GGYC and had some drinks and talked about the days racing. All part of the fun of racing Folkboats on San Francisco Bay. This is the view from the bathroom of the GGYC in case you can't quite place the angle.