Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sept Six Pack Series

I had planned to take the Summer off from racing. But with the Shaw Island Classic, Down The Sound and J&J race, it was hardly a summer off. So since I was back in the racing groove, I decided to race the Sept Six Pack series at Port Orchard. This is a four race series run on Friday nights from the Port Orchard Marina. It is sponsored by my club, West Sound Corinthian Yacht Club.

Each of these races had very light north winds and in three of the races, the course was shortened.

Race1. This race went to Pt Herron and back to the start/finish line where it was shortened. I got a good start and played the left side of the course with good winds to about 8 knots at times. I rounded the first mark way in the lead and set the spinnaker. During the run, the ferry came through our fleet on it's way to Bremerton. I had to head way left to clear it and found myself in light air. The second place boat, "Tantalus" was far enough behind to avoid the ferry and stayed in better winds. They passed me and finished first. I was second for the evening.

Video of the mark rounding and spinnaker set during the Race 1 of the Sept Six Pack Series

Race 2. Again we raced to Pt Herron and finished a shortened course at the start/finish line. I got a good start even though I had to wiggle around a couple of boats. Again, I lead to the first mark and again, I had to sail to the left to avoid the ferry. But this time, when I could I jibed to the right and had stronger winds. The boats behind stayed more to the left and I pulled away from them even though they initially gained. I was first, "Blackout" was second and "Swan" third.

Video of the start, mark rounding and spinnaker set during the Race 2 of the Sept Six Pack Series

Race 3. For this race, another boat entered the series. I am not allowed to name this boat, so I will call it "The Boat Not Named"(TBNN). The people who sail this boat are very sensitive about anyone reporting their progress. Again we had light north winds but this time it was drizzly and cool. The course was set to the radar target at Retsil. Yeah, we do not cross the ferry lanes! Again I got a good start on starboard even though one boat on port turned right into my path and I had to change course to clear them. I had some chopped up air from a couple of boats ahead and then TBNN luffed me up even though they too were in bad air. This slowed us both down. I tacked away and then back again and TBNN tried luffing me up again. This time I had some room on them, so I fell off some, got across their bow, below the boats ahead and soon found myself well in the lead. Pointing is sooo overrated in light air!

We got to the windward mark, set the spinnaker and started down wind. With the light air, I sailed very steep angles and went far to the right near the Shipyard where I found some wind funneling out from between some of the ships moored there. I jibed and again, the race was finished at the start/finish line. I again got first, TBNN was second, "Tantulus" was third.

Race 4. With two firsts and a second, I did not need to do much more than show up to win the series. Before I left the dock, the crew of TBNN was talking smack about how they would finish ahead of me and other stuff. They are so sensitive!

The course this time was once around a short course to the Navy mooring buoy at Annapolis, the club buoy at Ross Point and return. Again, the winds were light from the north but skewed so that a starboard start would take the whole length of the line. I went right up to the breakwater before tacking and crossed the line at the outboard end just as the gun went off, clear air and good boat speed all the way. TBNN was greedy, tried to port tack the line at the pin end inside of me and found themselves over early. I sailed toward the left, tacked once and made the mark. I set the spinnaker and sailing tight angles jibe through the start/finish line(a mark of the course) in first.

The wind lightened and as we sailed south, it filled in some to the left and "Tantalus" and TBNN both sailed by me. After rounding the mark, "Tantalus" went right. I went left found better wind and soon passed them. As the sun went down, it became difficult to pick out the puffs of wind on the water. There was also a lot of wind shear and I was setting the jib leads nearly 10 inches different between port and starboard sides. I also had to steer an "average" course to keep the sails full and the boat moving. My course was much different then the other boats, but I was FAST! As TBNN neared the finish line, I could see them struggling. I sailed my oddball course, caught up to them and passed them finishing about 1-1/2 minutes ahead for first place.

Video of the run set during the Race 4 of the Sept Six Pack Series. This is my "psycho" head cam video. You may want to take some Dramamine before watching. I was busy and my head (and camera) was all over the place!

This was fun to make the trek south each Friday to race this series. I specifically used the series to work on light air boat speed. With the warm weather and light air there was lots of wind shear and I worked real hard at understanding it and trimming for it. I also reconfirmed my philosophy about loosing all the rig adjustments and sail controls in light air.

Final results will be found here when the are complete:

Saturday, September 22, 2012

It Was BAD At Brownsville Today

It was BAD at the Brownsville Marina.  Before you think that something was amiss, "BAD" stands for Brownsville Appreciation Day and the slogan is "Bad Is Good". It is sort of a community fair for the Brownsville community at the marina. The marina was open to the public along with vendors, a classic car show, live music and eats. After a drizzly Friday, Saturday morning was grey and overcast. Fortunatly the day cleared up and the crowds of people showed up.

 Here it is, the fourth Saturday in September.
 The Classic Car Show was set up in the grassy area above the upper parking lot.

 Mainly old cars, but there was some newer muscle cars too.
 The stage was set up next to the launching ramp and the vendors in the grassy area between the road and the shoreline.
Various vendors offered crafts, jewelry, and food. Farther up the road near the fire hall, there was a batting cage and a inflated bouncy castle for the little kids.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Not For The Faint Of Heart!

Here is a short video from the first race of the Friday night Six Pack Series. These maneuvers are best done with a crew of six or more. I am doing this alone. Not for the faint of heart!

Chasing Trains On The John Wayne Trail

After a couple of stressful weeks, I decided that it would be a good time to get out of town for a day and do something fun. I had wanted to ride the John Wayne Trail again while the weather was still nice.
The John Wayne Trail is a cross state trail system that starts at Cedar Falls just outside North Bend and continues across the state to the Idaho border. It follows the old Milwaukee Road railroad and utilizes a lot of the old trestle's and tunnels. My goal was to ride from Cedar Falls, through the Snoqualmie Tunnel and back. I have never started at Cedar Falls before. Usually I started at Twin Falls.
I like to start my road trips early in the morning, so I was loaded up and on the road at 0530. After a quick stop in North Bend for breakfast, I was at Cedar Falls and ready to ride at 0804.
Most of this rail/trail is of very easy grade, after all, it was made for trains. It is also really a hard packed gravel road and is also used by service vehicles for phone and power services. I soon got into a rhythm riding uphill and averaged 9 mph to the tunnel. The weather was great! It was sunny and warm, but because I started early in the day, it had not warmed up too much.
I got to the west portal of the Snoqualmie Tunnel. After a short stop, I turned on the headlight and rode into the darkness. The tunnel was cool and there was some water dipping from the overhead in places. I soon was into the daylight again on the east side of the Cascade Mountains just below the Hyak Ski area. There is a large parking area here. Many people that ride the trail start here, ride through the tunnel and then downhill to Cedar Falls where they can catch a shuttle bus back up to the Hyak Trailhead. I don't know a lot of people that ride both ways.
After a short stop, I rode west through the tunnel and had a fast cruise downhill to Cedar Falls, arriving at the truck at 1208. Total distance I rode was 43.6 miles and elevation gain was about 1500 ft.
After quick stops at the North Bend Outlet stores and Harbor Freight, I was home in the early afternoon.

 The John Wayne Trail starts at Cedar Falls in the Iron Horse State Park that extends across the Cascade Mountains.

 One of the many original trestles that I rode across. When I first rode this trail in 1994, there were no guard rails on these bridges.
 This is a reconstructed snow shed to protect the trains in avalanche areas. It was standing in 1994 when I rode here, but was demolished in 1997. Volunteers rebuilt it from the original material that was still on site.
The West Portal of the Snoqualmie Tunnel. This is a 2.3 mile(actual length may vary depending on what you read) tunnel that passes below the ski areas of Snoqualmie Pass. Elevation at the east end is 2620 feet. The tunnel has had various closures and openings depending on restoration efforts. It originally opened in 1914. The last train passed through it on  March 15, 1980. It was closed from 2009 to July 5th 2011 for restoration. It is closed annually from Nov 1st to early May.
A short video of my ride.

Monday, September 3, 2012

New Sailing Invention

The J35 solar powered primary winch.