10.20.15...Yet, there is the i550...so stay tuned
If you make it a habit to check out the i550 build log for hull #87 once in a while, well, there's no need to as the boat is done, it floats and it's a blast to sail.
We went out a few days ago on a fall afternoon when we were decidedly not expecting much breeze, but were pleasantly surprised by a nice 10-12 knot southerly that had made it up the bay to North Point. This was for sail number 4 in the boat's short sweet life as a "done deal."
There had been a somewhat troubling issue with water ingress about a month ago, as the boat was in a slip for 48 hours, but that seems to have morphed into being no longer a problem...which is very strange.
We put the boat through some paces, even managing to ground it pretty hard twice. I'd like to say it was intentional, to test the keel trunk, but that would be total BS. The north breeze had emptied out the creek to a certain extent, but we should have been more vigilent about depths.
Maybe I'll install a sounder.
At any rate, the boat is a hoot. Surprisingly well-behaved. Pretty stiff when the board is all the way down, which again was unanticipated with only a 175 pound bulb at the end of the keel foil. Jay, pictured below, and I were able to keep the boat off her ear in the 10 gusting to 14 very easily with no drama and the blast reach back into Jones Creek was excellent. Water temps being what they are, and still being somewhat unfamiliar with the boat's handling characteristics, we left the chute in the bag.
And yeah, I know, I needed more halyard tension up front.
The square top main worked nicely even though I somehow lost the outhaul by sucking it back into the boom...put that on the repair list.
Another complete bonus is how easily this thing tows and launches! It was even lower, tide-wise, on the ramp when we got back in and still, the yank-out was a breeze. Altough 4-wheel drive is a nice thing to have.
A good wash-off after being in the creek and we're off. Though the convenience of a slip is very muched missed. Maybe next year....
10.06.15....the State of the Site
Being president of CBYRA since last December has kept me too busy to do much with nbayracing.com -- I have to put too much time into CBYRA and some of that is maintaining their website, so when it gets around to adding content to this page, I'm pretty well spent and the burn-out factor is increasing rather than decreasing.
So that's why six months have gone by without a post.
Yet, as I look back, it was one helluva great season. Highlights of this season, for me, were:
- a truly epic race to Bermuda on the Hinckley SW 42 "Sparky"
- a FOUR-pete win (fourth year in a row win) of PHRF B on "Incommunicado" for the SMCM Gov Cup
- a handy win over our class in PHRF B for the NASS Race to Oxford in boisterous conditions, again, on "Incommunicado"
- Messing around on John Aellen's "new" J92 for some of the races at MRSA.
- The last 5 races at NPSA with Tom, Jon, Susanna and Dan, racing against the crew on "Relentless" -- that was fun, guys! Those drfiter races were killers!!! (no pix--too dark out!)
Some pix from 2015:
Champagne sailing in the heart of the Gulf Stream with 30 - 35 on
Our intrepid skipper, Rob, hangin' tough in the Stream in spite of mal de mer
One of my favorite shots from 2015, our navigator, Bob, serenely at the chart table with all hell going on outside.
Gov Cup on board "Incommunicado" just before the breeze finally showed up...that's David McCullough's "Gitana" in the background.
The USNA 44 NA29 rolling us in a big chop on the way to Oxford.
On John Aellen's J92 on a Wednesday night MRSA race.
If things settle down in 2016, I'll put more stuff up and perhaps add some commentary with regard to the State of the Bay from a CBYRA perspective from private citizen Schweik (google Good Soldier S◊ejk). Thanks for tuning in.
4.2.15....NPSA Gets it.
Went to the NPSA meeting yesterday and had a "great minds think alike" moment.
NPSA Commodore Ted Diehl and those of us in CBYRA working on getting some dual-purpose boats (read: cruisers) to come out and give racing a try, seem to have been thinking similar thoughts simultaneously!
Ted got his inspiration before we did, he says. Well, maybe. I'm just glad to see somebody else not only "gets it," but has taken real steps to actually impliment a plan! Way to go Ted!
Heck, he even had his material, developed before ours, (the LAID BACK RACES flyer, posted below NPSA's) LAMINATED!
Ours are just on cheesy xerox paper.
Look, racers are disappearing. Yet, organizers keep doing the same old thing over and over again, with the expectation that boats will show up.
Only, they don't. This isn't just a problem on the Patapso, or Annapolis or Oxford, it's a nationwide phenomena.
So, to the haters who think the fact that we who are trying to get some cruisers to come out and try racing are crazy, wasting our time and pursuing an exercise in futility, well maybe we are. But at least we are getting off our asses and trying something.
This isn't going to happen overnight, and it has to be done well. We'll see if in five years racing numbers are up. If they aren't, well at least we tried.
Thanks a million, Ted, it was great talking to ya! (Ted's flyer below) It was great seeing everyone else at NPSA again, too!
NOTE: In December 2014, I stepped into the role of President of the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association (CBYRA)
The role takes up an enormous amount of time. I will be doing some racing this year, but I probably will not be updating this website very often. Once in a while, but most of what little free time I have for working on websites will be directed at keeping the CBYRA website up to speed (cbyra.org).
In the meantime, check this out:
10.26.14...The F. Scott Key Classic
(above, top left, A shot off "Incommunicado's" stern in a decent puff; top right, reeling in the Cal 40 "Flyer" and bottom, Dewey Ward trims kite as we approach the finish...the J120 on the port bow is "Windborn" which won PHRF A the day before)
The breeze was OK for the Harbor Cup, but I missed that due to work. But, the next day the breeze was ON! And the forecast was guaranteeing an outtasight sled ride down the river into the bay. RCRA set a great course that included two short, upwind legs, and that made for some interesting transitions in the building (20 - 25, puffs to low 30's) northwesterly.
"Incommunicado" won the Harbor Cup Overall (best boat in the fleet on corrected time) and also won the Key Classic, but the results are still hung up on a protest. Some boats did not sail the proper course. Nbayracing hopes these boats fess up and the protest gets dropped, and they certainly should. The math behind the finish times makes their finishes implausible at the very least.
Major props to the Cal40 "Flyer" with whom we played cat & mouse for the entire race and whom we just barely eked over the line with about ten seconds to spare after racing 13 nautical miles. Great race folks!
10.11.14....Yet Another First
(left, the "Chesapeake Bay buy boat" Mildred Belle as RC boat and, right, Farr 30 Miss Trixie and B32 The Fish at the start)
Not a first place, though. A first race.
Along with a Harry Young Cup, I’d never done a Constellation Cup. So both got scratched off my to-do list this season.
Constellation was a hoot, mainly because of the fun people on the boat and the fact that there was breeze all afternoon. After this year’s Race to Rock Hall, that was refreshing. It was nice to see some PHRF A boats on the course, too....they have been noticeably absent in other Northern Bay events this year.
One complaint was a bit of confusion with the Sailing Instructions. There was a note on the course map, saying two marks needed to be honored on the way down to Ft. Carroll and on the way back. I guess the idea was to keep boats out of the main shipping channel.
The problem was, the note on the map didn’t say anything about the second trip down to Ft. Carroll and back (we did two laps).
The specific language was: R “16” Round to Stbd on fiest leg to Ft. Carroll and -- R “14” Round to Port on first leg back from Ft. Carroll.
So the question remained, what about the second time around? Would you have honored those marks?
We didn’t, and then we regretted it and sailed all the back to honor R “14” along with the folks on “Vulture.”
As it turns out, we didn’t have to. Had we looked more closely at the Course Map, we’d have seen the list of marks in the order of their roundings and taken notice of there being no mention of any obligations on the second time around.
Apparently there was a protest, but in the spirit of this being a charity event, it was dropped. Big thanks for that!
This is a fun event and it’s always cool to race above the FSK Bridge and round Fort Carroll a couple of times. But the uncertain language with the SIs needs to cleaned up. It would have so much more simple to just state:
“Boats must keep to the northeast, non-channel (shore side) of R “16” and R “14” on ALL legs except the starting leg. Passing either mark on the channel side will result in a DNF.”
A big thanks to the folks on the Frers 38 "Legacy" for having me aboard and also to the wind gods for sticking around for awhile. Finishing way up in the harbor with breeze on is a kick!
(below, downwind and uptown: actual breeze)
9.28.14.... Not Insane
( left, being around much faster multihulls is fun...until it isn't)
Someone once said the definition of insanity is, "having failed, once or twice before, doing the same thing one more time and expecting it to work."
That was our M.O. for the 2014 Race to Rock Hall.
Conditions were a total groundhog's day from the 2013 race and we thought we had it pretty well sussed that we'd elect to stay left of the rhumb line and stay in clear air on the uphill leg to Region 2 mark "P". What we didn't count on was a 35 - 45 degree lefty that had us "great circling" into the mark, and which, for all intents and purposes, killed any chance of a podium finish for this year's race.
We saw the race winner (for our our PHRF C fleet) "Heyday" take what we thought was a total flyer, headed off on starboard tack into, what looked like to us, the deepest recesses of Bodkin Creek. Someone on the boat had the audacity to actually say, "looks like they have volunteered to lose the race" or something like that.
Of course they made it to the windward mark at least 5 minutes ahead of us. Game over, dude.
Particularly aggravating was the insistence, on Sailflow's part, that a huge righty was coming in off of Tolchester. Well, whatever....it never got to us.
So we suffered mightily in the middle, while all the boats we'd carved out a nice lead on, in the first third of the leg, rounded ahead of us. We finished third, mere seconds ahead of the Catalina 27, "Safari" and corrected to 4th. Boy, it was light at the finish and on the way home we motored past 15 - 20 boats that were going to be looking at a big fat TLE.
I think racing in October is a total crap shoot. I've had more days of lousy breeze in October than in August. In the summer, you almost always get a sea breeze in the afternoon/early evening. In October, with air and water tempertures about the same, if the isobars aren't compressed around you, then forget it.
At any rate, huge props to the folks at PSA who put on the race and especially John Aellen, who puts in countless hours on this race and is still living nicely in the "successful organizer" ranks, as this race did draw more boats than last year's (2013, the inaugural event).
(left, Jon "Gnu Guy" Acheson on kite trim as we suffered DW in the dwindling zephyrs)
Big congrats to Paul Susie and the crew of "AfterSchock," as they did a horizon job on the fleet to win the 2014 edition of the Harry Young Cup.
The predicited 10 - 15 kn breeze didn't show up until we were back in the slip, but the light southerly was adequate to get a six mile race done in a couple hours and change.
Not that it wasn't fickle. A big lift downwind left us heading DDW about 200 yards from the leeward mark and that's never fun on a J24 racing non-spinn. That ate up a couple of minutes on our attempt to correct over "AfterSchock."
Then at the finish, we Great-Circled into the line and that, too, knocked any hope of correcting over "AfterSchock" completely out of the park. No worries, we took second, what they call "First Loser."
To top things off, it was 99 degrees by my car's thermometer in the parking lot at Young's. Racing in September?...more like racing in July for this year's event.
Thanks to everyone on "Myth" for providing RC duties and for mercifully shortening the course!
9.5.14....Never Trust a Rainbow
I've been too busy to say much on here with regard to last month's Gov Cup, but man, what a hoot!
A great start with the Pride as the RC boat, an amazing night of sailing when the rain and big breeze came in around midnight. We figured, "OK, we'll have this breeze while this particular squall passes over us, then we can relax." Except the breeze built. Two hours later, "OK, this will die in the river," but then we had a solid 15-18 up until the entrance to the St. Mary's River.
And then, we had decent breeze in the river and finished at 3:14 a.m......simultaneously with the flashing lights of a medivac from SMCM's Farr 40, which gave our arrival a sort of surreal feeling.
Not to mention approaching hypothermia....it's weird to race in August with your teeth chattering. I think every one of us, all eight, were completely drenched. Water found new ways to enter my foul weather gear and a lot of it was from being fire-hosed by water shooting upward. I now realize my gear is completely inadequate for the offshore race I was slated to do from Halifax to St. Pierre and I'm kind of glad that race got scuttled.
Oh, and the rainbow? It turned into a double rainbow, and then it got dark. And then the poop hit the fan a couple hours later.
(below, the Pride getting ready to start things off)
And in yet another weird spot on the 2014 "Incommunicado" racing calendar, co-owners Tim Polk and Ed Tracey had to send back the trophy for "Overall Winner." Despite the celebrations seen here, above, we did not win "Overall." At the Awards, we knew we had an easy win in PHRF B, but when Adam Werblow announced "Incommuncado" as Overall Winner, our jaws dropped. It was fun celebrating for a few minutes, but Ed had a deep suspicion that the award was in error and he emailed the RC as soon as he possibly could, with a 12 hour delivery home facing us imediately after the Awards Ceremony.
The irony? This is the second time this summer Ed has notified an RC that there was a mistake and the second time he's had to return Overall Winner hardware from the two, longest distance races on the Chesapeake.
If the Organizing Authority on the Bay has a sportsmanship trophy, then Ed is certainly a deserving nominee.
8.25.14....Gold and Rose
I don't know what it is with this season, but we've had a run of insane skies. They've more than made up for the lack of the type of racing I'd really wanted to do this year (offshore and/or one-design). But it has been especially rewarding to take some old friends, new to racing, out on Wednedays. That has been a real delight.
And here's something pretty cool. When you see these weather-makers whilst on the water, it's easy to think, "hey, that storm is close, probably only ten miles away," or something to that effect. In the shot below, the storm on the right is down between Leesburg and Dulles, 57 miles away, the storm that you can see on the horizon, left of frame, is 147 miles away over Charlottesville. (we checked the radar immediately after the photo was taken, for confirmation)
A couple of Wednesday nights in Juy have been amazingly gorgeous. We're just going with the pix in this case.
6.30.14....After All These Years
Embarassed to say, I did my first sailboat race circa 1985. In the intervening years, which runs to almost three decades, I had never done Northern Bay Race Week, which is now, more realistically, called "Northern Bay Regatta."
Didn't attend even though for a good twenty years or so, I was racing literally right around the corner (if you call North Point a corner, which it sort of is). In fact, if you motored from Young's Boatyard for the course about the same time someone left from Middle River, you'd probably beat them to the race area.
It's that close.
Day One, Saturday, saw the breeze drop as time for the first warning signal approached. So we went into AP mode, and took the opportunity to go swimming and scrub the bottom a little more. That was nice.
A weak Southerly came in for a little while and that allowed a race. It was an oddball race, where we made a tactical decision against all odds/intuition and it paid off well. We took a 2 for the only race of the day.
Day Two, same thing, only with seemingly LESS optimism with regard to getting a race in. Yet, against all odds, a little southerly wicked up the bay and got to us around noon. That was a good sign. To me, there's little that says, "everything's right with the world," then when a windline shows up in a flat calm and you watch it reach you, fill in and start pushing boats around.
God I love that.
Soon, all the holes filled in and we had a full scale 6 kn on. Then that built into 8-10. 10 became 12 and eventually that topped out at about 14-17.
Racing on the Bay in summer in 12-17 kns of breeze is a joyful thing. I know of no better thing to do on a glorious Sunday afternoon in late June. Well, I can think of one thing, but that's generally done inside.
So why were there just 23 boats out on the course?
We've all had this discussion and we've had no problem identifying a host of reasons why boats don't come out anymore. So let's not dredge that up. Just come out next year and race.
I mean, how can you not?
Glenn Harvey's "Kristany" off our starboard beam
Close racing with the J109 "Rosalita"
Thank god for the multis. They always show up. What does that say about multihulls?
The "10 Speed" team notched up a 2nd for the regatta in PHRF A
photo: William White
Man, it has been good to make 4 straight races (although one was cancelled for some reason I've not yet discerned).
We now have a solid crew of 4, one of whom had never even sailed, prior to the race on June 18. He now has 2 races in his pocket, with our team racking up a 4th and then, this week, a hard fought 3rd, as the J24 isn't exactly the right machine to go head to head against 30 and 40 footers, uphill, in a 2-3 foot chop.
NPSA has one of the whackier Spinn fleets, with boats ranging from the Morgan NM454 and a Tripp 38, down through the 30's and into the land of the puny, with two J24's. This makes for some interesting starts. So far, we've been able to find clear lanes once the mess at the line untangles...NPSA is famous for having people come in low, on the right side, so anyone thinking about hugging the pin (NPSA puts the RC boat down on the port end of the line) better be prepared to defend.
So far, this season, we've had two less-than-30 year olds on the boat for racing. I hope the trend continues and anyone who might want to race on a J24 who's under 30 years of age is welcome on any given Wednesday night.
Whenever I've had free time, I've had to devote it to CBYRA stuff and keeping that website current (results, NORs, etc). But there is actual sailboat racing going on from time to time, and I aim to participate in that. In fact:
6.5.14...Things Go Wrong
( <---- some blurry, awful video)
Sometimes we just do stupid things. We can't help it. We're just wired that way.
I cracked a rib during a spin douse last week. There was some pain. But a week later, it felt better. I no longer had the shooting pains in the 7 - 8 range (on the 1 to 10 scale, 10 being full-blown, screaming and passing out). So the plan was to get down to Young's Boatyard, check on the J24 and maybe take it over to the Schoolyard beach to scrub the bottom. Last year's barnacle growth was gawd-awful and we mean to keep a handle on it this season.
That's it. No racing.
It was really light. There were the two of us. Tom had come down from Harrisburg. The bottom was clean. We were out there early. So, what the hell? Let's race.
What went wrong was: my camera only shot crappy, out of focus video. Our compass and count-down timer went berserk, so we had no race data. An osprey or something damaged the windex, so we had no masthead information. There were just the two of us and I was too weak to trim a genoa in anything over 12 kn. So we only put up a jib. And we found a hole over on the left when everyone else was extending on the right (which is the polar inverse of most NPSA races into a SE breeze).
What went right: we got a great start, maybe 10 seconds late, but we won the favored pin end easily. We sailed fast with just a jib, even faster with a kite and passed two boats on the downwind run, including our match racing partners, the other J24 "Relentless" (who won the first series in the spin fleet). Our hoist and douse went as close to perfect as a double-handed spinnaker boat can expect. And we legged out on a couple of boats on the short beat to the finish.
All-in-all a great night in 5-8 kn of breeze and an absolute pleasure to sail with Tom once again. I guarantee my results with him off the boat in the coming weeks will not be as good. Tom's ability to focus, stay calm and find ways to make gains on the course never fails to amaze me.
And NPSA delivered a terrific product, the proper course and length for conditions, a healthy fleet of approx 25 boats out on a Wednesday night (with the help of RCRA) and some tasty burgers post-race. Plus, an on-site, but somewhat soggy (as the rains began in earnest at the cook-out) print-out of the results.
To top it off, the Orioles won the game on the drive home. God I love summer!
4.24.14....On a BOAT!
Well, miracles do happen, boats get splashed in time, race committees don't cancel and one can actually sail in the The Land of Perpetual Winter. Incommunicado gave me a ride (always a pleasure) and we crushed the MRSA "B" fleet by over seven minutes corrected time and even corrected over the invincible Antrim 27 "Ultra Violet," which is pretty amazing as we saw them motor by a couple of times with the big Asymm up at what had to be 12-15 knots in the big breeze.
But: why is the first race always in 20-25 puffs to 30?
3.22.14.....One month later
What's there to report? This winter keeps serving up the misery. If you are stupid enough (OK, "brave" and "tough" could work just as well here, as the appropriate adjectives) to want to race, things like snowstorms and police might intervene to keep you from casting off. That's what happened last weekend, in DC, when traffic-control for a marathon (a foot race) kept a friend of mine and his eager crew from getting to the marina.
So hang tough, hombres and muchachas. This too will pass.
Not sure how active this website will remain. I've taken on the role of Exec. V.P. of CBYRA and am maintaining its new website:
Check it out. We are still adding content, but it's a big improvement from that awful site we've had for the past 12 years.
Hey! Join CBYRA. We need the money. It's 55 dollars. BFD. You're spending $200 on a gallon of paint so don't gripe about coughing up a lousy fifty-five bucks so that Summer Oxford, Gov Cup, and the Corsica River Race aren't all scheduled for the same weekend in August.
Plus, it's the right thing to do.
Last year, people who don't usually do bay races came out for the Race to Rock Hall and had a blast. This year, in our area, PSA is redoing the "Overnight" race under a new name and concept. It's a fun race in early June. There will be a cruising class! It's 22 miles and ends with a huge breakfast offering at the PSA clubhouse. Finish, eat, drink, pass out on your boat and go home Saturday morning.
It's going to be a fun 2014 season. Leave the comfort and safety of your Wednesday night racing and come out and do a bay race. You'll be glad you did.
2.22.14.... Talk the Hulk
We went down to the boatyard a week or two ago to check on the boat. This was Tom and I, ostensibly checking on his J24 but in all honesty, it felt more like killing a case of severe cabin-fever. It was good to be at Young's.
We rolled on down to Brian's yard and I was looking for a couple of boats I wanted to see. That was unsuccessful, but during our peregrinations, we stumbled on this project:
So, we walked around this a few times, taking some photos and scratching our heads. It looks a LOT better in photos than in person. There's so much bad wood in this hull that you sort of have to wonder why the stancions hold it upright.
OK, it's not our problem and best of luck to whomever is embarking on this collosal refit. I think it is a smack barge, common enough in the tributaries of Great Britain. Actually, I wasn't sure what it was at all, but about a week later, Tom sent me this video about a British guy who buys a cheap saiboat in the U.S. with the sole purpose of taking the ditch south in the fall of 2012:
It's a nice little video. But WHOA. What is that at about 2:03? IT'S A FEAKING DERELICT SMACK BARGE THAT THIS GUY ACTUALLY RESTORED! AND NICELY, TOO!!!
So, the moral is: sometimes you think you know, when in reality, you never know.
You just never know.
With no sailing going on, for me at least (sorry Wess, I do not want to race Lasers in 36 degree water), I figure it's a good enough time to look at some more incredible surfing videos over at MagicSeaweed. I love this website!
A couple of frame-grabs (below) from Fred Berho's film on a session off a man-made groin in Morocco, definitely check out the film and also the one on Russel Ord, that follows!
This is probably one of my top three favorite websites: MagicSeaweed
I use it often to get extended forecasts from the ECMWF model. You can click on the Swell Height ot Swell Period maps on the front page and then switch to "Pressure" and pick any place on the planet to see low pressure systems advancing across the faces of our world. Outstanding.
It also hosts some of the most ungodly beautiful and gnarly surfing videos anywhere, and the stuff coming out of the European surfing sites is simply amazing.
The massive Winter North Atlantic low "Hercules" approaching the coast of Europe and North Africa resulted in some truly spectacular swells. For those brave enough to venture out on a board, or with a camera, the results are.....well, see for yourself!
The wipe out from this video (Belharra Meets Hercules), and the footage of the surfer reviewing the video later, is terrific. Take four minutes and eleven seconds to watch.
The whole "Hercules" series is worth a look. And MAN that looks cold!
1.6.14 ...Go the Russ
Anyone who has raced on the F27 "LOLA the Wild Child" knows the skipper can be a bit of wild man. We like that.
Example: he goes out on Saturday and single-hands the F27 on screaming reaches across the Magothy. No pictures of the actual sailing, so we can only say "it never happened!" But then again, knowing Russ?
It probably did....
If you are one of the twelve people on the planet still reading this site, thanks.
For 2014, I've taken on a position with CBYRA with the goal of helping reorganize the
association to fit a YRA model more closely atuned to the needs of the year 2014, instead
of those in practice the year it was founded, 1914.
This will not be easy and by all means, feel free to volunteer to help, either by contacting me
or CBYRA. We need people who have access to others in their club or fleet or OD class so that we
can get feedback and advice on what racers would like a YRA to do for them. So please, chime in.
There is a CBYRA Forum that is still being adminstered at: http://www.cbyraforum.org/forums/
Feel free to sign up (please use your real name or boat's name) and contribute there, if that
is more suitable to your needs.
Stay tuned as we will hopefully have a new website for CBYRA launched in the early part of 2014.
(the site will probably look something like this)
We pretty much know what was wrong with the old CBYRA, what we need to know is what you want in 2014.