Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Racing In The NOOD.

If you tell someone that you raced in the NOOD(pronounced "nude"), you would probably see some raised eyebrows or shocked expressions. Actually NOOD stands for National Offshore One Design. This is a multiple day regatta for one design boats or similar boats that rate the same under a handicap system. This regatta had it's start many years ago in other parts of the country and finally made it's appearance in the northwest about four years ago. It's primary sponsor is "Sailing World" magazine.

For the NOOD, I was invited to race on "Swan", a Thunderbird 26 class boat from the Bremerton area. This is a very competitive class of 11 boats.

The committee sets three starting areas for the different classes. The small dinghies raced on the south course in front of Shilshole Marina. The intermediate sized boats(Vipers, J24's, Tbirds, SJ 24's and SJ 21's) raced the middle course just north of Meadow Pt. And the larger/faster boats(Melges 24's, Performance 30's, J105's and 6 Meter's) used the northern course near Pt Wells.

Over the three days from Friday to Sunday, we got off seven races. On Saturday we got off three races in winds to 10 knots before the wind shut off.

Saturday we only got in one race. The winds were from the north and very light and even the lead boats used most of the time available to finish the race.

On Sunday, the wind shifted back to the south and the rain moved in. We got three more races in on Sunday. In the last race, we had some fun with one of the buoys. It had a long anchor line and it caught on the keel. After we cleared it, it bounced back and caught the boat behind. When the next boat finally cleared the buoy, it bounced back and touched the third boat! All three of us had to sail a circle to exonerate ourselves from the infraction.

Each day, the party tent was open for post race activities. We went home each night. The owners son had a small boat and in 40 minutes we were back to Brownsville. In the mornings, we returned to Shilshole on the small boat. Better than driving a car!

Results can be found here:

Pictures by Jan can be seen here:

 Boats at the dock after the racing on Friday.
 Boats at the dock after the racing on Friday.
 Boats at the dock after the racing on Friday.
A J105 towing a couple of 6 meters back into Shilshole Marina.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Compass Repair

Compasses are normally filled with fluid to provide dampening for the card and provide stability of operation. Some compasses use mineral spirits as the fluid and others have talked of alcohol, glycerin and even kerosene. Whatever fluid is used, if it leaks out, then there is a problem!

Last summer my port compass started leaking the fluid out and it did not take very long before all the fluid was gone. I took the back cover off  and discovered the diaphragm that compensates for expansion was ruptured. I searched Ritchie and Sons's website and found an exploded view of my Navigator BN-202 compass as well as a list of parts. I determined what parts I needed and with a call to Ritchie, I had the repair parts ordered along with  a quart of their new filling fluid, Isopar L. Ritchie(who is in Massachusetts) sent me the parts where they arrived only four days after order via US Postal Service and without an expensive shipping charge! Kudos to them!

I disassembled the compass at the shoreside shops of Hermit Hill Rigging and cleaned the inside of the now cloudy dome. Reassembly was easy and the o-rings, diagphram and new LED lights were installed. Filling with Isopar L is messy. The fluid is first placed in the freezer for several hours(I assume to squeeze the air out). I tried a small funnel and spilled a lot of the fluid. I finally found a small tapered hose fitting from my vacuum pump and with a hose and the small funnel, finally accomplished the fill and excluded ALL the air.

The compass is ready for reinstallation on the boat. That only takes a few minutes and four little screws to mount, but a little longer to solder the wires of the new lights.

 The compass disassembled and the parts cleaned.
 Ready for filling. Notice how small the red compass card looks?
 The compass filled with cold Isopar L fluid and the air excluded. Now see how large the compass card appears now?
Filled with fluid.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Port Orchard Invitational Race-It Must Be Summer!

Today was the Port Orchard Invitational Race. It was the fifth race of the seven race West Sound Sailing Association(WSSA) series. This race starts at the Port Orchard Yacht Club, sails north up Port Orchard to a temporary buoy and back for a distance of 16.4NM.

The weather forecast was for very warm weather in the upper 70's. The wind was predicted to be light at 5-6 Knots. At least, the direction was given as from the NW. Maybe this will finally give us a race with a long beat!

Sure enough, the wind at the start was NW, but the velocity was closer to 8-10 knots. But before we could start, a bit of complication started unfolding. A Port Orchard Yacht club member left the yacht club with the temporary buoy to set at Battle Pt and to shorten the course if necessary. He did not get very far before his motor overheated and he went dead in the water. One of his relatives was starting in the cruising division ten minutes before us. He took the buoy with the assumption that he would be the first boat to Battle Point and he would set the buoy. Stay tuned!

We had a good start on time. We started just below "Tantalus"(Express 37), but soon pulled ahead into clear air. We tacked back toward the east and tacked up that shore to to look for current relief from the still flooding current. We had good speed and pulled away from the rest of our class and started passing the previous two classes. We crossed back to the west and started lining up our approach to the area between Pt White and Illahee. This zone has some strange currents to contend with. We took some long tacks up Port Orchard before we started working up the Bainbridge Island shore. There was a narrow band of wind from Fletcher Bay to Battle Point, farther to the west, the wind was very light.

As we approached Battle Point, it soon became apparent that we would pass the lead cruising class boat before he reached Battle Point. So even though short of Battle Pt by about 100 yards, when we were even with him, he threw the buoy into the water. We had to turn ninety degrees to port and sail for about 75 yards to round the mark. Hope we would not need the extra time it took to change course and round the mark. The next boat in our class to round the mark was about 12 minutes behind us.

We set the spinnaker and started reaching back toward the finish. Again, we worked the Bainbridge Island shore to avoid the typical hole around University Point. We had a nice reach down Port Orchard with a good boost from the now ebbing current. I worked at keeping the boat sailing to it's target speeds. I have found recently, that when I go off my Polars, I get cranky and slow. Life is much better when I am on my Polars!

We took the fastest line past the Point White/Illahee line and then worked the west shore to get nice back eddies. Our speed over ground was good and the boats behind fell back more. We were far enough ahead, that the next boats behind us started disappearing behind the outcropping land. We jibed in toward the Bremerton Marina and got a great current boost from Port Washington Narrows, jibed to port and sailed straight to the finish where we finnished first  about 22 minutes ahead of "Tantalus". The rest of the fleet arrived for another hour.

There was a large post race raft up at the Port Orchard Yacht Club breakwater. The "Young Guns" huddled together and congratulated each other on their great performance while it was the grey haired experienced skippers that ruled the day. We were first to finish, first in class and first overall. "Dulcinea" (J105) was second in class and second overall. Class II was soundly won by "Emerald Lady"(Catalina 27). It was fantastic day for a race. The winds were consistent to 10 knots without too many holes to fall into and the warm weather brought out a lot of white skin to be be burned red.

And to make it even better, WE DOMINATED THIS RACE!

Thanks to Jim for crewing with me and helping us get the win.

Results can be found here: http://www.wscyc.net/WSSA/current%20year/Race5POInvite.pdf

 Jim trimming the spinnaker.

 Jim trimming the spinnaker.

 The "Young Guns" huddled together on the dock after the race.

Our course for the day.

A short vodeo recorded early in the race.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Race To The Straits 2012 and Back From The Straits

This weekend was the annual Race To The Straits. This is a two day race from Shilshole Marina north of Seattle to Port Townsend on Saturday and return on Sunday. This race is for doublehanded(two people) and singlehanded(one person). Another unique part of this race is that the handicaps are applied at the start with the slowest boats starting at 0800 and the fastest boats starting nearly three hours later. In a perfect world, all the boats should be finishing at the same time.

All weekend, the winds were predicted to be light, but Saturday morning, the wind was south at about 8 knots. I set the spinnaker right at my started time and was off. I sailed to my target speeds and looked for rivers of current to assist. Near Point No Point, the current started turning to flood. I reached across toward Useless Bay on Whidbey Island. The bay was far from Useless as I found some current relief under Double Bluff. At the Double Bluff buoy(a mark on the course), there was a lot of congestion. I jibed and headed into Mutiny Bay. Many boats headed straight across towards Marrowstone Island, but had to  contend with two knots of flood current setting them left. After sailing into Mutiny Bay, I jibed and had a good line up the bluff south of Bush Point. Sailing in shallow water, I found good back eddies along the shore. "Schock Therapy" (Schock 35) and I sailed next to each other for miles along the shollow areas both trying for good current.

Once around Bush Point, I again followed the shore toward Lagoon Point. The flood current was still strong, but was starting to decrease, so I headed on a reach toward the finish. The winds shifted toward the left in Port Townsend Bay. Some boats jibed right and took a big hit. I managed to close reach into the finish at about 1614.

Saturday night was the traditional dinner, party and first day awards ceremony. I was first in my singlehanded division and won a nice travel mug with the races logo.

Sundays start was on time, but the wind was very light and a lot of boats could not get very far from the start line before later starting boats caught them. I started on time at the committee boat closest to the light wind from the Straits. It was a close reach to Marrowstone Point where the strong ebbing current stopped the boats. Some boats headed across Admiralty Inlet to attempt current relief on the east shore. I was swept north some before the wind filled in and the current abated. It was a nice run south toward the finish at Shilshole, the sun was out and the wind filled in. I started passing boats and by the time I reached the finish, I had a good placing and was first in my division. I finished about 1645.

It was a great weekend: sunny and warm with good winds most of the time. Sloop Tavern Yacht Club again put on a great event with nearly 100 entries!

Results are here: http://www.styc.org/race_info/RaceToTheStraits/2012/race1.htm

 My track north of Point No Point. Red track is Saturday's track from Shilshole to Port Townsend. Purple track is Sunday's track "Back From The Straits" from Port Townsend to Shilshole.

 My track south of Double Bluff. Red track is Saturday's track from Shilshole to Port Townsend. Purple track is Sunday's track "Back From The Straits" from Port Townsend to Shilshole.
 The J22 "22 Caliber" at the start Saturday.
 Chasing the earlier starters Saturday morning.
Lighter conditions along Whidbey Island.
The final reach across Port Townsend Bay toward the finish.
The light air at the start on Sunday.
Schock Therapy (Schock 35)