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Spent most of the afternoon bobbing around like bath toys.  Sadly just enough wind to make you hopeful.  So only two races.  Second place on both races.  Had to go find the wind and stay away from the crowds and that really fed into our advantage.

Loosened the jib rigging to billow the jib as much as possible to catch the wind and sat leeward most of the time to help the sails fill.

Good day and happy with the results.

 

Signed up to head out as crew this Sunday for some club racing. I was originally going to race my Flying Scot, but another member wanted crew on their Scot so I figured why not!

If it all fell through I would just go back to my plan on sailing my boat.

Sailing with someone else at the helm is always an adventure. How much are they going to lean on your expertise... their style... if they even know how to race...

I find that going from captain to crew is a delicate balance of listening and suggestions. Since I'll be running the jib, I don't mind telling the helmsman to head off or go up for a lifter. Beyond that I try and not question the strategy too much.

Either way, looking forward to hitting the water

Every year at the club we have the Master's Race - aka over 50 at the helm crowd.  We had a great turnout this year.  Since I don't find myself in that grouping yet, I usually volunteer for race committee.   I'll help set the course, run the flags, whatever is needed, but I mostly enjoy taking photos.

It's not very often you get a picture of your boat while you're sailing it.  Here's a few that I took over the weekend.  Enjoy!

and a whole lot more here if you wish to keep looking:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/paintballphotos/albums/72157684970070294

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Recently got back from the America's Cup in Bermuda.  What a great place to hold this event.  In case you've been away for a spell, here's a spoiler alert... Oracle didn't win.  Actually they lost soundly.  No fault of their own, they really busted their butts but Emirates just proved to be sailing far too perfectly to lose.  After a very rough start during the preliminaries for Emirates, they got the boat, the water, the crew, everything fine tuned.  So much so they hit the once thought nearly impossible goal of reaching 100% fly time.

Yes, 100% fly time during one of their races.  With that kind of perfection there is no catching them.

It will be interesting to see what the next America's Cup brings for both rules and location.  I'd like to think the crowds at Bermuda proved that you can have a destination location and the people will come.

The first day we sat in the Gosling's Rum Bar.  Great view, and really good food.  The next day during the finals, we sat in the grandstands slightly behind the announcers

Sitting in the Grandstands - Just behind the announcers

Sitting in the Grandstands was very much worth it.  Goslings was fun, but the Grandstands were perfect.  Met some locals who we made friends with by holding each others seats off and on while we got up to get drinks.

 

Now onto the boats!

On Sunday we took the ferry out to the America's Cup Village just as we did the other day, but today our Ferry Captain made a strange left hand turn and a heading we had not taken the day prior.  Odd we thought, but there was a lot of boat traffic and the Americas Cup boats were starting to head out so maybe it was a detour?

No.  We just had a great captain and brought us out directly onto the course so I could get a picture like this:

Team Oracle sailing by our boat

No need for me to use my zoom lens on that photo.  They were actually that close.  Will post more about the island another time, but I'll end with this gratuitous shots taken by yours truly.

The wind was steady, my new Tacktick compass was in and I just installed it onto my dinghy mast.  I was ready.  It was a little too cold for shorts but I was determined to wear them.  I donned my iceboating nationals sweatshirt and checked my phone one last time.  Nothing.  Paul, who usually crews for me had a softball championship game that day and I wasn't sure when it was going to be done.  Looks like he wasn't going to make it today.  It was then that I decided to head out alone.

I usually don't like sailing the windmill class boat alone.  I can, but on race days my mindset changes and the relaxed atmosphere when sailing alone disappears.  I frankly just don't have enough water time to race that boat alone.  Joy sail?  Yes.  Race... No.

As I head back to the boat I noticed one of our older (older than I) club members looking around also.  Seems as if his crew bailed on him also.  He sails a Flying Scot and they way his boat is set up you need to have two people to race.  I offered up my services and that's how I became crew aboard a boat I knew nothing about.

The Flying Scot was roomy and much more comfortable than my windmill.  His sails were old, but the rigging was all in the right spots and well thought out.  I brought my dive slate (I use it to write down compass headings and find them easier to use than writing on the deck) but noticed the boat lacked a compass.  Put the slate away because today we're going old school.

I became part jib man and part tactician.  I loved every minute of it.  A few times I was worried I might be over stepping my bounds as I mentioned when and where I thought we should tack.  Hopefully Bill didn't mind.  Many times I told him it was his boat and he tell me what to do but he seemed happy to get the feedback.

Running the jib, I kept a careful eye on the tell tales and made sure I let him know if we were getting a header or if we started to pinch a little too high.  My terminology is still poor and I many times apologized for the screw ups.  For at least two years, two non-sailors (Paul and I) were yelling at each other to pull the color coded line.  We've learned the names of the lines now (cunningham, outhaul, etc), but in those two years we called a "header" a gust of wind that "headed us up".  Hey, it made sense to us.  I may know the correct term but when instinct takes over you blurt out what you are most familiar with, even if it's wrong.  Similar to my old 1968 Triumph Bonneville.  She shifter is on the  right side as opposed to the left.  It's fine when you think about it, but when a car pulls out or you take a sharp turn you find yourself doing the opposite of wheat you expected.

Heck, we even got to try one of my starts where we cut the middle of the start line on starboard and hit it full speed.  We took off, lee-bowed another boat and couldn't be caught (at least the first leg).  Our boat that day was too slow downwind and we had a kite to fly but since I've only done it once before and Bill wasn't up to giving it a go with a rookie, we just flew wing on wing and hoped for the best.

Down wind is where I'm the worst anyhow.  At least that's what I've learned over the years.

By the end of the day we had come in fourth in all three races.  I had far more fun than I have sailing in a while.  Not sure if it was just the change of scenery, position, or both.  The last time I crewed (and was completely green at racing), I felt out of place.  I didn't know the difference between leeward and windward then.  I couldn't tell you which buoy was the jibe mark.  Watching the guys on the boat say "lifter" or "header" while looking at the wind seemed more like witchcraft than sailing.  Years later, now that I have a bit more experience under my belt (if only just enough), being crew on a boat had a lot more importance and meaning.  Where once before I felt as if I was just dead weight as I had to be told and then shown what to do, this time I felt like I was part of the boat.

So for all you boat owners out there, if you haven't crewed in a while it's probably time to give it a try again.  I guarantee that you'll see things in a whole new light.