Sunday, December 9, 2012

2013 Plans

It's scheduling time. How do I balance MC-Scow regattas, E-Scow regattas, marching band shows, family vacations, and actually having time to mow the lawn?

MC-Scow regatta plans:
3/12-3/13 Zenda University, Eustis, FL
3/14-3/17 Midwinters, Eustis, FL
5/4-5/5 Cowtown Classic, Columbus, OH
6/1-6/2 Cage Match, Fenton, MI
6/22-6/23 Horse Race, Saratoga, NY
8/24-8/25 Nor'Easterns, Keuka, NY
9/7-9/8 Montreal, CA (possible conflict with marching band)
9/21-9/22 Blue Chip, Spring Lake, MI
9/28-9/29 Cowan Scowin, Cowan, OH

E-Scow schedule
7/27-7/28 NYS Championships, Keuka, NY
8/1-8-3 Easterns, Keuka, NY

Total right now looks like 8 days off from work to accomplish this.

Also in the plans (again) is a 20-pound weight loss and getting in shape.

I have spent this past week prepping the MC-Scow. I fixed a dozen or so gelcoat dings and scratches, built a mast cover and boom cover, and started the mental design for two potential changes to the rigging. Both will improve my heavy air sailing if I can figure them out.

This winter is warm. No snow. I'm fining my winter stir craziness is coming early. It's before Christmas and I'm looking at next year.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

2012 Keuka MC Nor'Easterns

For the twelfth year running Keuka Yacht Club in the beautiful Finger Lakes of New York host the Nor’Easterns MC Regatta. 20 Boats competed in moderate, no strike that, let’s call it “interesting” winds.

Friday night rains prevented much of anything other than drinking and playing cards and such. Everyone found their hosts and was tucked into bed pretty early. Saturday morning sailors arrived at the club to see SSW winds at a nice 8-10. Race 1 was scheduled for 10:15. It didn’t quite make that time.

Race 1 – After a delay while the RC chased the clocking breeze to the west, The race got off with Scott Norris and Chris Hawk quickly jumping out to a good lead. The 5-12 mph winds were shifty with 30 degree shifts. It didn’t much matter what kind of boat you sailed as long as you picked the right shifts and sailed toward the next puff. Doing so would make you more gains than subtle boat speed differences. At mark 1, Norris and Hawk had a 15 length lead on the pack chasing them down. Both extended on the leeward making it a 2-boat race. On the windward leg large holes appeared and shift got even wilder. Norris broke cover on Hawk to go another 100 feet or so before tacking which let him extend dramatically and left Hawk in a hole. Stuart Strother  hit the right corner and closed the distance on Hawk eventually narrowly missing third lace at the finish. Norris however had checked out and won by a couple hundred yards. Will Hendershot from Montreal and Matt Newman from Hoovers rounded out the top 5.

Race 2 – The wind continued its clocking to the NW and North but picked up to a good moderate breeze. Race 2 started out eerily similar to race one with Norris and Hawk rounding the top mark in 1, 2. But the fleet was right their heels. On the second windward the wind did a Crazy Ivan splitting the fleet a bit. Norris and Hawk split with Norris right. The right came in and Norris, led the parade of Sean Treacy, Stuart Strother, Chris Craig, Devon Howe and other past all those on the left. Hawk rounded 14th. Norris went on to win again followed by Treacy, Strother, Andre Marcotte, and Hendershot.
But the real story of race 2 was the seamanship of Chris Craig, DNF for the race. We experimented a bit with the course this weekend doing a 2 lap center line course with the line set close to the leeward mark. This limited the need to move the RC boat and pull the 250 feet of anchor line. But this also allowed for almost two full windward legs and a windward finish. It worked out okay. Chris rounded the bottom mark in fifth place with a very very short windward leg to the finish. He had struggled with his borrowed boat getting it tuned right with the bent mast (not possible) and a 5th place would be very good. He trimmed in around the mark, heard a bang, and the boom hit the deck. The forestay shackle broke. But the mast was still standing! The heavily trimmed main forced the boom onto the deck holding up the mast! He was sailing still…sort of. He may still pull out a good finish. But he was below the layline. He lay in the bottom of the boat as much as he could and tried to tack. But the handling was so poor he couldn’t quite pull it. So with the mainsheet cleated he tried to find a replacement shackle and reattach the forestay while “sailing.” The effort was valiant but too late. While holding up the mast with one hand he lowered the sail, repaired the forestay, raised the sail and sailed in for lunch.

At lunch everyone had the same question. Who the heck in Scott “Chuck” Norris?

Race 3 – During the day the wind clocked 180 degrees to the right, then back 60 degrees, all the while oscillating 30 degrees left and right as it clocked. The poor RC continued to struggle. At the start pin end boats could lay the mark on port while boat end boats were 20 degrees lower than that. Norris, Wynkoop, and Bob Cole started at the pin end with Craig and Hawk at the unfavored boat end. Craig banged the right corner, Hawk played the middle and the pin boats layed the mark. Strother and Craig followed. At the top mark Norris rounded first followed by the gang of Hawk, Strother, Craig, Newman, in some unremembered order. These boats battled the whole race with Norris extending a bit, Hawk and Strother picking up on the long windward, and eventually catching Norris. Matt Newman also made large gains. Going into the last mark rounding Norris, Hawk, and Strother were nose to tail. Strother made a great move toward a skewed line to almost win the race but didn’t quite catch Norris. Hawk dropped to 3rd followed by Chris Craig and Matt Newman.

Race 4 – By 4:15 the RC had set and moved more marks than practically the whole season. The course had to yet again be completely moved. The race had a familiar feel. At the top mark Norris rounded first with Wynkoop, Cole and Hawk overlapped behind him.  Treacy, and Craig were close behind. Cole quickly jumped up to second and started chasing Norris. Two legs later he was able to roll over Norris and held on for the win closely followed by Hawk. Bob Wynkoop held off Sean Treacy to round out the top 5.
At the end of day 1 Norris had a seemingly insurmountable lead. The battle was for second with Strother 16 points, Hawk 17, and Treacy 20. Cole was 5th with 31.
Saturday night’s turkey dinner with all the trimmings was spectacular. Sunday with only 2 scheduled races the start was set at 10:00.

Race 5 - At 9:00 there was a beautiful 10-12 South wind. At 10:00 after one recall the entire course had to be moved yet again as the wind shifted. Race 5 was started after the RC decided close enough was fine. The pin end was favored to where boats could lay the mark on port. At the boat you had different wind headed perfectly down the course. The fleet and anyone with any sense started at the pin. Locals Cole, Penwarden, Hawk, and Jenkins among others started at the boat. Hawk took the most extreme angle nearly reaching away from the line of boats streaming off the pin. Local knowledge paid off a bit. The wind did another Crazy Ivan dying out and shifting way right. Cole led at the mark with Hawk, Penwarden, and Strother close behind.  The wind dropped to almost nothing and got weird, or technically weirder. Cole rode a puff and checked out. The fleet scattered all over the lake looking for zephyrs. Chris Craig went and got a miracle puff to pass a dozen or so boats, almost catch Cole and roll into second. Hawk, who rounded mark 1 in 2nd, rounded mark 2 in 16th. Leg 3 had the fleet reaching in East wind. Cole held off Craig to round mark 3 first followed by Strother, and I’m not sure who else because I (Hawk) was now 19th and quite a ways away. A following puff closed up a lot of the fleet into a giant jumble at mark. With 15 boats 4 and 5 wide beating to the short offset many rules were bent and words were had, all in slow motion.

Leg 4 had Cole and Craig battling for the lead. The tight reach had other boats strung out all looking for that puff or clean air. The advantage went to the boats in back who climbed high off the mark, found a building breeze and rolled over those below. The biggest recipient was a trio of Penwarden, Jenkins, and Hawk who went from 16, 17, and 19th place at mark 3 to 3rd, 4th, and 5th at mark 4. On the tiny final leg, Cole parked up at the line, and Craig creeped closer. The miracle trio closed the gap quickly with Hawk catching Jenkins and Penwarden just as Cole found a puff to win with Craig second.

Hawk went from 2nd, to 19th to 3rd to ensure a win over Cole. But the overall places were still up for grabs. Norris and Treacy were deep, drifting along in the pack. But Norris was able to pull out an 11th place to clinch the regatta with Hawk second, 4 points back. Treacy’s 13th put Cole in 4th place overall.
At the awards ceremony I asked for a show of hands. Who was in 5th place or better at some point in race 5? 15 hands went up. Who was in the last 5 places at some point? 12 hands. Who was in BOTH top five and bottom five during the race? 8 Hands went up. As crazy as that is, it was exciting!

So who is Scott Norris? I asked him on the way in from the last race. He was in the area for personal reasons and thought it was time to try an MC-Scow. He borrowed boat 1856, had 4 hours sailing Friday and some phone advice as his preparations. He led every mark for 3 ¾ races and dominated the regatta. He said he has done some Melges 32 sailing, Melges 24, has a J24 and a Laser.

Well I googled Scott. “Some” Melges 32 sailing includes crewing with Harry to take the 2010 Worlds, and crewing for Jason Carroll in his 2012 Nationals win. He got 2nd in the 2008 Melges 24 regatta in Newport, and sailed the worlds in 2008 as crew. In the J24, he crewed to a worlds win in 2005 and is active today. There’s probably a whole lot more out there. These were just the first few hits on Google.  We had fun sailing against him and certainly hope to see him back here again.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Best Sailor

Last post I kinda implied that I was a better sailor than George Welch. Well I really doubt that now. I think I can take him in MC-Scows but he can spank me all over the lake in E-Scows, much more a "real" boat than MC-Scows.

George just finished 13th in the E-Scow nationals sailing KU-1 with Bryon Eichorn, Scott Leonard, and new rock star Steve Brown. They had quite the roller coaster of a regatta in 2nd place after 3 races then dropping a turd of a 4th race. They ended up right in the middle of the rock stars, just a couple points out of the top 10.

Congrats to George.

Results here:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

2012 Season Finale

Labor Day weekend is the traditional end to the sailing season. This year the weather was not as cooperative as we hoped. We did get 3 E-Scow races in and 4 MC-Scow races in. The results were typical of the year. KU-1 won Sunday's only race and finished 1, 2 in Monday's racing. And I finished 1, 1, 2, 4 in Monday's only MC-Scow sailing of the weekend. but it was great getting 12 MC-Scows on the line.

Overall, George Welch won the season for E-Scows convincingly with 12 wins in 16 races (.750 winning percentage). I won the MC-Scows with 9 wins in 14 races (.643 winning percentage). So from that perspective he is a better sailor than I. However, if you look at the percentage of boats bested in each race, George beat 63 out of 84 or finished in the 25th percentile on average. But I beat 90 out of 111 to finish 19th percentile on average. (My job is to spin stats! There is always a way to look better.)

I also like to think some of his 12 wins this year were somewhat due in a small part to his crew, namely me.

Bob Cole finished second in E-Scows with 3 wins and lots of seconds. By far the most improved sailor at the club this year was Brent Penwarden who finished third in E-Scows and second in MC-Scows. The drama was for third overall in MC-Scows where Sean Treacy and Steve Bender were tied going into the last race of the day on Monday. Sean won the race and Steve was deep in the pack settling that score.

All that is left this year is the nor'Easterns regatta at Keuka. Then the boats get packed up and put to bed for many months. It seems a waste. The wind is good and the water temperature is still only 1 degree cooler than its peak. We should be able to get a few more weeks of sailing in with no problem. September series sailing has somehow fallen by the wayside.

Monday, August 27, 2012


The E-Scows got in 2 races Sunday. But the MC-Scows were yet again thwarted by a lack of wind.

We started prepping KU-1 for the Nationals. Bryon Eichorn jumped on as a 4th person on the boat. Unfortunately there wasn't much wind for race 1 so practice was a bit stunted. But for race 2 he got a taste for some medium breeze. We won race 1 with little effort. But race 2 was a short 1-lap where we got passed on the downwind by Brent Penwarden and John Anderson (sailing Bob Cole's boat). We ended up third.

After we got to shore we watched the wind slowly drop to nothing during lunch. Then an hour after we cancelled afternoon racing the wind filled in again. Frustrating.

Now the long term forecast is for the residual hurricane remnants to arrive between Sunday and Monday potentially messing up our final weekend.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

No People, No Power, No Wind

Two weeks ago we did not sail. For E-Scows in the morning there were too few boats because of regatta travel. For MC-Scows in the afternoon, we had 4 boats. But only 2 made it to the water before the power went out at the club. With no easy trailer hitch launch available, and squirrely wind, the two of us on shore decided to throw in the towel. I had to drive to Detroit that night anyway. I got an early start.

Last Sunday we started the day well...sort of. We had two races for E-Scows but they were a bit dodgy. Race 1 quickly became a low side light air adventure. We led at the top mark, lost the lead to Bob Cole and never regained it until 30 seconds before the finish when we got ahead just enough to cross him on port by a foot or so. A couple close tacks later we had the pin end of the line laid on port above and ahed of Bob. But he threw in a nifty attack flopping to Starboard short of the line. If we were a foot or two slower he would have had a starboard advantage and we would have been in trouble. But we crossed and won. Brent Penwarden was thrid about 10 minutes behind us, and 4th and 5th place were 10 minutes behind them.

Race 2 looked to be a drifter. We started in 3-5 which went to zero on the second lag. Brent Penwarden rounded first followed by Joe Meade and us. Brent erroneously gybed away not knowing the course was far more changed than he expected. When we sailed into the last of the air behind Joe Meade we did so with the jib down letting us pick up the new air just slightly quicker than Joe. We rolled him and never looked back finishing the 1-lap short course in about an hour.

The wind never did pick up for the afternoon. So we went another week without any racing for MC-Scows.

For those of you that missed the sailing link I posted a few weeks ago before it was taken down by VIMEO, here it is from another video hosting site. Enjoy!

Irish Sailing Commentary

Only five days of sailing left this year.