Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fowl Weather Race, Gobble Gobble!

Today, I took the boat to Port Orchard for the Fowl Weather race. This is suppose to be a three race regatta and the prize is, well, a Turkey. I started this race for the club 20 years ago. Around my family the joke is not to thaw out a turkey until we know the results of this race.

I was underway this morning at 0715. It was calm with patchy fog that always seemd to clear just as I got to the patch.

We started the first race on time at 1000 with light winds. There was 12 boats that showed up. The committee set a 3.8 mile course with a downwind start. It actually was a bit long. We do not have separated classes for this race and the smaller, slower boats had trouble completing within the 2 hour time limit. The winds were light and shifty and it took a while before we started separating from the fleet. But when we did, we started incresing our lead and by the time we finished we had saved our time by a lot over the other boats. By the time we finished, the wind built to 12knots SW.

Near the end of the first race, the wind did increase enough until we felt that we needed the heavy No.1 genoa. So between races we changed to it, but before the start of the second race the wind lightened and we went back to the light No.1. Fortunatly we had not hoisted the Heavy No.1 or even unzipped the bag.

The commitee did not learn their lesson and for the second race, set a 6.8 mile course to Waterman and back. Again a downwind start. And again we had trouble getting away from slower boats in the shifty conditions. We were second around the mark, but on the beat back we immediately passed the lead boat and built a big lead before the wind died all together. We ran out of time in front of the ferry terminal. Since both races took over two hours each, there was no more time for any more races. The committe did not have a turkey or gift card so like last year, I will have to wait until they send me a card. Last year it was the middle of December. Good thing that I don't need a turkey for Thanksgiving!

Had a nice motor home and arrived at the dock at 1700. Very nice day and a great time to spend on the water! I think I got a little sunburned!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Convoluted Trip Home!

I am safe at home after a convoluted trip home from Norfolk.

For some reason, our new travel system(lowest bidder?) routed a couple of us thru DC, Chicago to Seatac. It made for a long day. Left the hotel at 0400. Had to turn in the rental car and then caught a 0612 flight to Dulles. There, some of my coworkers caught a flight straight to Seatac. Larry and I had about two hours to wait, so it was a good time to get some coffee and breakfast. Arrived a half hour early into Chicago where we met up with somemore of my coworkers who had a later flight from Norfolk straight to Chicago. All worked out well as the flight from Chicago to Seatac arrived a half hour early again. A miracle happened at Seatac, my luggage was waiting on the baggage claim when I got there. This has never happened before with United! I was more concerned that my luggage would be lost. I picked up my car and with only mild congestion on I5, arrived home at 1600.

Why did I put up with this? Several reasons. 1) More frequent flyer mileage, 2) More travel comptime, 3) Did not travel with most of my coworkers! :-)

I hope to post some pics of the large rattlesnake that we saw in North Carolina if I can get them from Larry.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Stormy Weather

A storm came in last night and by this afternoon the wind was gusting to 50 knots. The waves breaking on the beach were awesome. The rain was heavy with lots of standing water on the roads. Since I forgot to bring a raincoat, I got pretty soaked when I went outside.
Well, the election is over. Hopefully we can all get on with our lives now.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Outer Banks

On Sunday, two coworkers and I drove down to the Outer Banks in North Carolina to Cape Hatteras. I have done this trip twice before. It was a great day for a road trip. The sun was out with the temp at about 65.

We did not stop at the Wright Memorial in Kitty Hawk. I have been there before and everyone else was too cheap to pay $4 to enter.

We did stop at the Bodie Island light. When we left there and got on the main road, we past something on the road. We turned around and there in the road, moving slowly across it, was a l
arge Timber Rattlesnake. It was about 4 ft long and
very thick in the middle. We could not tell if
it had been run over or just cold, but it took quite a
while to crawl into the brush.

Cape Hatteras light was spetacular as always. It is the tallest lighthouse in North America at 208 feet. Built in 1870, it's location was being eroded away by the sea. So in 1999, it was moved 2900 feet to a location farther way from the ocean.

Hatteras Lighthouse

The stairs in the Lighthouse

The path that the Lighthouse moved

Bodie Island light

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Arena Racing!

What is Arena Racing? It is auto racing with small cars on a banked track inside on an area about the size of a hockey rink.

Now the longer answer. On saturday night, I went with a coworker to the Hampton Coloseum to watch Arena Racing.

The track is 0.1 miles long and is a portable banked track that is made of aluminum. The surface is roughned and coated with some sticky black coating.

The cars are approximately 1/2 the size of a NASCAR stock car. They are 9 feet long and weigh about 750 pounds. They are built with a full cage and a fiberglass shell. The engine is a 13hp Honda generator engine mounted in the rear. The driver sits in the middle of the car and enters thru a hatch in the top. The driver wears a helmet and full head, neck and arm restraints. The cars are fitted with transponders to record lap and finishing positions. Nothing could be changed or modifyed except the suspension alignment could be adjusted. All the cars are from the same builder.

During racing, these cars go about 55 miles an hourand turn lap speeds of around 10 seconds. A typical race is 50 laps. No pitting is needed and repairs are actually performed by the officials!

The racing was wild. There were three preliminary races and a final event. There must have been qualifying during the day. Each prelim had between 10 and 12 cars. The top four were tken from race "B" and "C" and 6 from race "A" for 14 total for the final race. Starting positions for the final were drawn from a hat.

These guys really are agressive. Two and three wide was common. Just like the big cars, you could see the effect of tires wearing out and loose cars hitting the wall. There were lots of chrashes.
Kind of funny because very little damage actually
seemed to occur. One car hit the wall so hard that the body behind the rear window was almost broken off. If the car will run, the officials will use lots of duct tape to hold the body together and send them out again. When one rolls over, two officials come out and roll the car upright and they seem to restart easily. One car rolled over in turn 4 skidded a ways on it's top, rolled upright and kept going without the engine dying. Hitting the wall was a resounding "WHAP"!

Lots of fun and glad I went!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Saturday Work

Here I am working overtime on Saturday. Had to take a side trip to one of the ships that we shipchecked two years ago. It is about half way thru it's overhaul and some of us took a field trip to the shipyard where it is being overhauled. Alas, my equipment has not been installed in the machinery rooms yet. Still nice to see the removals complete and the foundations installed.

Typical overhaul, the ship is in a state of chaos. Dust, smoke and people everywhere.