Friday, April 25, 2014

Poulsbo Invitational Race 4-26-2014 Pre Race Analysis

Saturday is the Poulsbo Invitational Race. This is the 4th race in the seven race West Sound Sailing Association(WSSA) series. This race starts just north of Battle Point and with a south wind it heads to a temporary buoy near University Point, then north to the #6 navigational mark near Pt Bolin and then follows the shoreline to a finish off of Poulsbo Yacht Club in Liberty Bay. This course is 9.6 miles. In case of a north wind, the race is run first to #6 mark, University Pt and then PYC for a distance of 11 miles. Furthermore, this race can be shortened at the University Pt buoy or Mark #6.

The wind predictions for this race are fairly consistent at 5-9 SSW in the morning rising to 7-12 S in the early afternoon. The current will be flooding during most if not all of the race. 

With the start line set north of Battle Pt, it is possible that there may be a port tack lift close to shore north of Battle Pt. If the line is set to allow it, a starboard tack start would be my preference. I would continue toward Bainbridge Island and look for the header to tack to port on. I probably would have checked for it before the start. Once on port, I would carry a long port tack course toward Brownsville where I would expect a header. After I sail into the header, I would tack to starboard and look for the small  lifts as the  wind puffs off the land. The University Pt mark is usually set to the west of the point and the wind is very fluky around the mark. I would approach the mark from the east. 

After rounding the mark, I would probably do a bear away spinnaker set and sail NE to clear the point and get into clear and hopefully stronger air. As long as the wind is consistent, the run to Mark #6 should be a straight rhumb line course. The course will be into a flooding current, so I would be observant of the wind conditions and consider sailing higher toward the east for current relief if the wind lightens. 

At Mark #6, I would be careful not to get swept into the mark by the current, get the spinnaker down smartly and sail as high as possible toward Pt Bolin. In the past we have often been able to clear Pt Bolin without tacking. I would be aware of the shoals south of Pt Bolin. Fortunately, they are somewhat flat. Reaching toward Keyport, I would be ready to reset the spinnaker as soon as the wind comes aft enough. I would toward Keyport and stay near the left shore. After the Navy Base, I would work hard at sailing high to clear Lemolo Pt. The wind will be puffy and light here and will come forward. Work up in the puffs and don't let yourself get pushed down toward or behind Lemolo Pt. The final push toward the finish is pretty straight forward, stay in the center or slightly left of the channel until past Virginia Pt. And if the winds cooperate, sail straight toward the  finish at the Poulsbo Yacht Club docks. 

Be prepared for anything!
 The current at Agate Pass during race day.
Here is our track from this race in 2013. We did win our class that day, but placed down in the overall standings. Given the predictions for Saturday, I would expect this track to be a good template for the race. Conditions in 2013 were a lot like the predictions for this year. The 2013 report can be found here: Poulsbo Invitational 2013

Friday, April 11, 2014

Rich Passage Ramble Race-April 12-Pre Race Analysis

Saturday is the annual Rich Passage Ramble Race sponsored by West Sound Corinthian Yacht Club and is Race #3 of the seven race West Sound Sailing Association Series. This race is a race from the Port Orchard Marinas through Rich Passage, around Blake Island and Bainbridge Reef Buoy #4, leaving both to port. From buoy #4, the race continues again through Rich Passage to the finish at Port Orchard Marina. Along the race, competitors experience strong currents, protruding land masses and speeding ferries.

I like this race for it's technical challenges. This year it looks like it could be a great race. As I write this on Friday morning, the various weather models are predicting North to Northeast winds of from 5 to 12 knots. The currents are actually favorable both outgoing and incoming through Rich Passage. Or they are favorable if the winds cooperate. If the winds do not wake up early enough Saturday morning and the competitors cannot get to Rich Passage soon enough, the racers may find themselves sailing against a flood current.

The first warning is at 1000 with the Cruising Boats starting first followed by PHRF 2 and PHRF 1. If the winds are up as predicted, the best track is down the middle of Port Orchard staying in the stronger ebb current. Expect a easterly push off Bremerton from the current flowing out of Port Washington Narrows. If the winds are still trying to fill in, it may be necessary to work one shore over another, probably the east shore. If all goes well, the racers should approach before Rich Passage during the last of the ebb.

In Rich Passage, work the middle of the pass and stay in the rougher water. Don't get greedy and cut the corner at Pt Glover too close, there can be a substantial adverse back eddy there. After Pt Glover,  if the wind stays favorable, steer toward the R6 buoy again staying in the ebb. If things slow down and the flood starts, a course to work over to the right toward Manchester Park might work and keep you out of the current. 

If the wind stays from the north, it should be a reach towards Blake Island. Again, don't get too greedy and go close to the shore. The wind can get very light. Fortunately, by now the current should have changed and be slack or nearly slack. If the winds are very light, I have had some success at a very gutsy move of sailing towards Southworth and riding a north flowing current out of Colvos Pass. If you do go close to Blake Island, be aware of the rock filled shallows at the SE corner of Blake Island. Many boats have located these rocks the hard way.

Once clear of Blake Island, it should be a beat along the east shore. If the wind are light, a beat along the east shore could be prudent. Watch for rivers of favorable current. Rounding the NE point of Blake Island, be aware of the shallows. The course to R4 should be a reach. If the winds are light, be careful to not get swept on the wrong side of the mark. From R4, I would ride the current between Orchard Rocks and Bainbridge Island, around Pt Glover and out the pass staying in the middle in the stronger current.

From Rich Passage to the finish, the fastest course should be down the middle of Port Orchard to the finish. Be careful to stay clear of Pt Herron and the flooding current.

There you go! No secrets or magic, just my analysis. Take it or leave it! Have a great race.

 The currents in Rich Passage and SW of Blake Island.

This is our track from the 2012 Rich Passage Ramble. The wind was a good northerly all day at 10-12 knots. Other than the jibe we did SW of Blake Island, this is a good template for the race. Also, the current was still ebbing in Rich Passage that caused us to work the edges harder than would be necessary for this years race.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Grind of Healing

In a previous blog post (It Should Have Been Easy Again) I talked about falling, breaking my hip, surgery and my discharge from the hospital. This post catches up with my progress to date.

When I last posted, I was still at my parents house. After a total of five nights, I moved back to my home. The visiting nurse had met with me twice and did not have any major objections to the move. It was not easy. On crutches I soon found it hard and tiring to do just about anything. I found myself sitting for most of the day. Physical Therapists visited twice a week and schooled me in trying to make it easier to accomplish tasks. One cool idea was to use an old walker my folks had as a "truck" to haul things around as needed. This made food prep easier: I could load the walker at the refrigerator and haul it to the counter. The walker has a seat on it and I could sit while cooking. They tried to show me ways to be comfortable sleeping, but to this day, I cannot sleep in my bed and find myself sleeping in a recliner in the living room. I dread the night. I often only get 3-4 hours of sleep at night. The PT people visit me twice a week and monitor my exercise progress and change my program as I progress. I was also getting visits from a nurse who tested my blood since I was on blood thinners(warfarin: rat poison). After four weeks, I have now been taken off of warfarin, so that nurse will not visit anymore.

A week after I got to my house(two weeks post surgery), I had an appointment to get the staples removed on my incision. A friend drove me to the appointment and has hauled me around to many places since as well as mowed my yard once. Others have stepped up and given me rides when I need them.

This week I have shown some improvement. The pulled muscles in my upper thigh are not as painful as they were. I suspect that when the surgeon reset my break, there was probably times when my foot could have been near my head! And since I am off warfarin, I now have permission to take ibuprofen which is my preferred pain killer. I have been able to do my exercises at the goal of three sets a day now.

I will have to admit that this whole healing process is extremely boring. I have read a lot(and run out of reading material) and sleep some during the day, since I have trouble sleeping at night. Yet it also has made me grateful about how large my social circle is. Many friends have come by to visit. My neighbor picks up my paper each morning and checks on me. My neighbor and others have made me meals. That helps with the fatigue factor.

So, the slow pace continues. I have an appointment with the surgeon in Bellevue on May 2. He will xray the leg and hopefully give me approval to start putting weight on the leg. I am sure that it will take some time for the muscles to start working together again.

This is a pre surgery xray of my broken femur/hip joint. The break is my right leg(left side in the xray) and you can see how twisted and displaced it is. I normally would not wish this on anyone.
It has been reported to me that someone on another social network talked about my injury and posted an xray of a repaired joint from a DOG! If this is true, I find it to be in bad taste.