Friday, July 31, 2015

Whidbey Island Race Week 2015, aka Adult Summer Camp

Whidbey Island Race Week(WIRW) is the third week of July and is five days of sailboat racing, partying, pranks and silliness. It has also been referred to as "Adult Summer Camp".  With a history of 30 years, it is one of the last race "weeks" that still exists in the country. Many "race weeks" have been shortened to a long weekend.

I was invited for the third year aboard a J105 named "Dulcinea" owned by Matthew. This boat is from my yacht club and is one of my primary competitors in the West Sound. This was actually my second year racing WIRW on "Dulcinea". I was invited for 2014 but could not race after I fractured my hip. My WIRW started on Sunday. The boat was already in Oak Harbor and I made my way there for a day of practice and to set up my camp at our team compound in "tent city". We sailed out into Penn Cove and tried to sail through some maneuvers. We were not very successful as the wind were very light. Also with the intense heat of the day, it was unpleasant on the water. So we pulled the crab pots and towed some of the crew members behind the boat. I guess we were trolling for sharks!

The racing was intense all week. This year the J105 class numbered 10 boats.  The starting line was crowded and often the boats stayed close together during the entire race. The winds blew each day at 10 knots or more. A few days it took a few hours for the winds to arrive. We raced a total of 12 races for the week, two days of three races and three days of two races. Twice we raced in south winds in Saratoga Pass and the rest of the days in Penn Cove. Matthew had good starts for most of the races and we had good upwind speed. On Thursday we had one first and one fourth and placed as the top boat for our class for the day. I was happy with our upwind speed compared to some of the top boats that we raced against. Unlike two years ago, our speed in stronger winds seemed good even though our placings sometimes were not the best. By the last day of racing, I was so tired I could hardly stand up. I was not the only one, many crews were pretty tired.

The J105 class is pretty close. On Wednesday, they class had a barbecue/potluck at a home overlooking Oak Harbor.

WIRW was a lot of fun for me. The racing was some of the most intense racing I have ever done.  Our foredeck crew of  Tessa and Jeanie for the first two days and Tessa and Melissa for the rest of the days were awesome. The cockpit crew of Mike and I did everything we needed to do to keep up with Matthew. The shore side activities were interesting and just like the expression "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas", some things are best left in Oak Harbor. Matthew runs a great program and arranged good logistics. Mike had his Class "A" RV and made us breakfast each day and provided a place for evening meals. In addition to Mikes RV, Matthew had a large travel trailer. The two formed a nice compound in the "tent city". We also had several tents and I slept in my truck.

Results can be found here: WIRW Results 2015

 Lisa on Last Tango greeting her visitor during a windless delay.
 And the Poke and Destroy crew getting in a little wake boarding while waiting for the wind.
 The entire fleet of J105's behind us during one of Thursdays races. A race that we won.
 Melissa awash in a sea of spinnaker fabric.

 Melges 24 planning down course.
 Sport boats planning down the bay.
 "Last Tango"

 The J105 fleet moored together.
Party "tent" where awards were presented and post race activities were held.
 The traditional crew photo after the last race of the week.
The actual crew photo after the last race of the week.

Friday, July 10, 2015

A New Belt For Ulysses

I remember the day and time when it happened. I was riding my Buell XB12X Ulysses motorcycle up the road to Sunrise at Mount Ranier National Park. The road was freshly chip sealed. I felt a thump and heard a bang. I did not find anything wrong, but after I got home, after a closer inspection I found a small hole through the drive belt. Evidently a small rock from the chip seal stuck to the outside of the belt, rolled over the idler pulley and pierced the belt from the outside.

I did not stress too much over the damage. Most of what I read on the internet said that it was minor damage and the Harley Davidson people (Harley discontinued the Buell line in 2010 GRR!) said that with the fiber orientation in the belt, that a small hole would probably not weaken the belt much. I continued to ride the Uly for a while and did not ride at all last year after breaking my hip.  A few weeks ago I found a new belt for sale on Ebay at a good price from St Paul Harley (Harley again GRR!). So today I finally carved out a block of time to change it.

The whole belt changing process is not too complicated. It just requires the removal and reinstallation of a lot of components: fender, belt guard, drive pulley cover, two chin fairing screws, idler pulley, foot peg bracket, brake pedal and master cylinder, partial removal of the rear axle and removal of part of the swing arm. Most of the fasteners are either allen head or torx head machine screws. Did not have to remove the rear wheel, but did have to jack the back of the bike off the ground. It took me about an hour and a half including being interrupted by a phone call.

After everything was reassembled and properly torqued, I went for a short ride. Everything worked fine. Now Ulysses has a new belt. Hopefully I can get out and ride now!

 The old belt almost removed.
 The new belt installed. Just need to install the covers, guards, foot peg bracket and rear brake lever and master cylinder.
 Here is the culprit. No, not the toothpick, but the small hole in the belt.
And always present, the shop manual.