Tuesday, October 21, 2014

It's that time of year

No different from any other October for me, I suppose. It's post-Columbus Day and I've been packing up gear and hauling it home, a carload or so at a time. Sails are off and stowed, galley's stripped clean, cans and jars and bottles are off. There's still bedding, foul weather gear, electronics and more still on board, perhaps two trips worth. The last offload will likely be cabin cushions.

It's not really a sad time for me... I see it more as the beginning time for winter boat projects and getting to all the whipping and splicing I don't get to while I'm sailing. And, of course, it's the beginning of the countdown to taking the cover off in the Spring!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Can you whistle up the wind?

I don't usually race LIQUIDITY, with one exception. Annually, in support of the Boston Harbor Island Alliance, I've entered their regatta.

Through luck and circumstance, I've managed a fair number of trophies. I won the Cape Dory 28 class trophy one year. With four of us registered, heavy weather the day before and fog the day of the race, there's were just two of us on the course. 50/50, I suppose, for evenly matched boats. Last year, I sailed away with the Master's trophy, being the only senior in the cruising division to register and race. Other years, well, they tell a different tale.

The 2014 race was something I looked forward to, as defending Master's champion. All I needed was a small enough number of competitors and a Cape Dory wind in the low to mid teens. That's not what we got.

At race time last Saturday, wind speed was, well, ZERO! The start was delayed, delayed, delayed, then postponed to Sunday.

Sunday just a handful of the registered boats returned. Wind speed... marginal... delay, short delay... then off we went, in light but sailable air! We passed the committee boat just a few seconds after our scheduled start time and headed off on a comfortable starboard tack. With a good line on Nubble Channel, we tacked... and the wind went to, well, ZERO. Now, at the mercy of the flood tide, we were, before long, behind the starting line (and well to the left of the course!). Seeing little prospect in the afternoon forecast for recovery, we scratched. I fired up the motor and headed out around the course to see watch the lighter, faster boats.

All told, there were just four or five boats left on the racecourse. None had made it half way around the loop and time was running short. As we headed back home, we could see the committee boat, heading out to the few remaining boats... pretty much shortening the course to wherever they happened to be at the time. (Extra credit goes to the Catalina 30 who was the sole "finisher" in our division, without making it to the first mark after trying for three hours to sail in near zero wind against the flood tide.)

It was a disappointing weekend because it's a fun race and usually a good sail, trophy or not.

Stay tuned for 2015, where if all goes well, we'll be back. And note that none of the Masters finished, so I remain the defending champ, for at least one more year.