20 August 2009

Worlds Day 4: NAs race day 2, it went better

We started the day by trying to sleep in a little better, have a relaxed breakfast, and then drive down to the club and not faff around with anything on the boat (since theoretically we did all that the day before).

OK, but:

- Ran into someone Gareth used to sail with in Bermuda, while eating breakfast in the coffee shop. Small world, but had to cut it short.

- Took a slightly different route, got stuck on one-ways going the wrong way from the club, and there was traffic since we were later.

It all worked out in the end, it turns out we had plenty of time, but I was a bit stressed -- all my carefully worked out plans were for nought!

I just had to faff around a bit worrying about tides & my mast ram calibration.

One the way out we realized that one of the turning blocks for the spinnaker halyard was melted away to just the pin on the sheave -- this was actually a replacement for the original block which had too much friction. And I thought I was just being a wimp, but in reality I was melting up all that plastic. We were able to rig it to not use that block, and the spinnaker was much easier to pull up.

My main goal today was to be in the right gear when the wind came up & get a good start. in the first race, we didn't get a good start, but were able to tack and clear behind some sterns. There was a bit of a righty and this worked for us, plus with a lane we got up to the mark in the middle somewhere. Where we really lost ground was downwind: hoisting & jibing the kite, sailing fast with it, etc. I am still too slow and being tired after the beat only makes it worse... Apparently though we finished 36th, which is 12 better than the first race yesterday. As Gareth says, keep this up and we will be winning in 3 races!

On the second race we got a great start: punched way out and sailing next to some of the big guys for a little while. "Looking like heroes". Although we had great lane and speed, you could see that it was still not enough -- basically some boats around us were cracked off more and cooking past us, while I was not depowered enough. I did find out that our board is not calibrated right, so we probably had it too far down going upwind -- sounds like it should be down while going upwind, but as you get over-powered you crack the board up a few inches as you rake back. We also put in a flattening reef, which is a line about 8-12 inches up above the clew, which keeps the boom out of your heads & the water when it gets a little crazy. We did get to the mark in a big pack, lots of traffic (30-40 boats worth), and bounced around trying to get through to the layline. There were some sterns we should have taken. The lesson there is all about traffic management & picking your route well ahead of time.

Then I got my tiller extension stuck to leeward on the hoist & capsized. So we packed it in and went to the beach rather than sail around in last for another hour. Good thing we did, because the trap twings popped out due to the spinnaker faffing around the mast in the water, and the spinnaker had several large rips in it (first day out too...). We had to sail in half of the way hiking out. Not so fast.

Boatwork at end of day:

- replace spinnaker/ram turning block -- we are now using an all-metal wire block with ball bearings, this one ought to last, third time lucky, right?

- pop out trap lines & replace them (Gareth working diligently on that now)

- mark CB positions

- get sails to sailmaker for repair tonight

- bolt in pole fork end that broke at BBR and was lashed in there

Outstanding boatwork before worlds:

- put trap lines back on

- replace junky spinnaker sheet turning blocks

Tomorrow we'll finish both races!

1 comment:

James said...

Hi Doug

I enjoy reading your blog as the wind blows outside back here in Bermuda.

I empathise with your experiences at a big regatta with a new boat, especially in SF. Beautiful place but a challenge to sailors. I admire you guys hanging in there.

Best of luck in the rest of the racing.

James Macdonald