Thursday, June 26, 2008

Final spring race, and... A new boat.

An interesting couple of days here on the Estuary. Monday was a kind of quite evening, we all went up to Pete's apartment overlooking the marina here. Pete cooked up dinner and we all enjoyed the view, and the sunset, from his place. A good day after the long weekend.
The fires here in Northern California have made the skies here very hazy. The sun seems to have an almost golden color, which makes for a really interesting light, especially on the water. You can always smell smoke in the air, and the air quality people are telling us to take precautions.
Wednesday night was the last race of the Oakland Yacht Club spring series. Steve, Jeff, and I had already clinched the eight race series, but of course we where going to go out and race anyway. I figured I could take some time off during the racing and maybe get some video shot. it was a good plan and I did in fact get some ok shots, which I will try to post next week. However we got a very good start and once in the lead I figured I should concentrate on helping Jeff and Steve sail the boat.
It was a pretty fun race in the end, we rounded first and decided not to set as the wind was to far forward. Adam and Liem both set and both had problems carrying, and dropped back from us. We rounded the next mark with a nice lead, but since we had hooked up the small kite in case we did decide to set on the reach and then had not bothered to change up for the run, Adam came storming down on us and got close enough to get back into the race. We rounded a couple of boat lengths ahead and went into cover mode pretty quickly. We never did get more than a couple of boat lengths ahead of Adam the rest of the way, and he pushed us pretty hard all around for the second lap. In the end we got him by about a length and a half, but it wasn't as easy as it looked.
This gave us a line of five firsts, two seconds, and a third for the eight race series. With two throw outs we beat Liem by eight points. All in all not a bad spring for team Seabiscuit. A win in the Estuary Cup, a second overall in the Delta Ditch Run, and a first in the OYC series.
After the race we finalized the deal with Liem to buy his Santana 525. Money has changed hands, and the paper work should be finalized today. It is going to be a few days before we actually will go sailing on the new boat, which is presently called Wind Capsule, but will probably be re-named Gonzo in honor of the late Hunter Thompson. I will get some pictures of the new boat up probably early next week.
After the post race drinks and boat buying we retired back to the Lobster T where Dina had cooked up an excellent Pork Curry. Somehow this degenerated into an evening of Karaoke, thats Jeff on the microphone, and Grand Theft Auto, but hey the Curry was really good.
Tonight we are off to dinner with some friends, and tomorrow morning I am off to Long Beach to do some sailing on the schools 1D48. Should be an interesting weekend.
Pictures and stories to follow.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A hot weekend

It has been very hot over the last few days here in Northern California. This made for a pretty good weekend for outside activities here on the Estuary. Thursday night we ate on the back deck of the Lobster Telephone while watching one of the most glorious sunsets I have ever seen. Just an incredibly deep red that sadly the picture does not do real justice to.
Friday nights race was abandoned due to lack of breeze, but a whole bunch of us went out for dinner at the New Zealander here in Alameda. It was a good group, Tom, Sylvia, and Synthia from the docks joined us. As did Emily, an old friend of mine, who I have not seen in a while. It was good to catch up with Emily and to meet her husband AD, who is a nice guy despite the handicap of being a Kiwi. My brother Joe, and Pete completed our little group. After dinner we retired to Tom, Sylvia, and Rich's boat where we took full advantage of the warm weather to sit outside in the cockpit till after one AM.
Saturday was supposed to be another work day here on the boat, but due to the previous evenings goings on that kind of got put off. I did manage to get the shower sumps cleaned out, but that was about it.
Dina and I did however manage to rally late to take out a friends Santana 525 that we are thinking of buying. While we are very much enjoying the Nightingale, we have begun to start thinking about something a little bigger and easier to sail. The Santana seems to be very neat little boat. It has been very well maintained by its' current owner and the price is very reasonable. It has a nice cozy interior, and the deck layout and space is a lot more user friendly than the Nightingale. We need to work out some details, but I think that we are going to make an offer and see what happens. Watch this space, as my dad always says...
Saturday night was another evening on Sylvia, Rich, and Tom's boat. I had a few to many rum drinks, but it was another good night.
Sunday was kind of a wasted day, I felt sluggish all day as a result of the previous evenings festivities and other than going out for brunch, and taking Pete over to see the Santana I didn't get much done.
We did however do a bar-b-q on the boat last night. Dina made up a slab of ribs in that way that she does. I think that my two favorite foods are Dina's ribs, and my mother's mashed potato's. So we had ribs, corn on the cob, and grilled asparagus, well ok, I didn't eat any of the asparagus, but they said it was good. A perfect end to a hot weekend on the Estuary.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wednesday night race

On sixteen Wednesday nights during the summer I do the Oakland Yacht Club Sweet Sixteen series. These I do with Steve and Jeff on Steve's Columbia 5.5 Seabiscuit. The usual routine is to leave work a little early and head down to the marina. This summer I have been diving on both the Nightingale and Steve's boat to wipe the bottoms off before the race. Usually we had a diver do it for us, but it costs something like $40 a dive, and even if you only do it every other week it still adds up. So for the cost of cheap wetsuit I can help Steve, and ourselves, save some money on bottom cleanings. Free diving the boats may not be the most fun, but it is not that hard, and it gives me a little bit of satisfaction of helping out get the boats ready.
The race itself was pretty interesting. It was lighter and more of a reach than usual. This meant getting a good start was important. ours was good, but Adam and Drew got a better one at the pin end of the line. A couple of tacks up by Jack London Square saw Liem get around the mark first and then just sail away from the fleet. We rounded in third and followed Adam down to the bottom mark. We tacked right away at the bottom mark hoping to get some separation from Adam, but hadn't realized that Jackson had caught up to us and we had to tack right back to avoid fouling him. In doing this we lost both Adam and Jackson.
On the second run we managed to go over the top of Jackson, or Helicopter Bob as we call him, to round the last mark back in third. From the bottom mark it is only a short beat to the finish, but we managed to get some separation from Adam and even managed to get in front of him at one point. After a really slow tack on our part, Seabiscuit is not a very good light air boat, Adam came up and started to roll over us. I thought that Adam had cut it a little close going over us so I told Steve that we should try to take him up, hoping to stall him and maybe slow him down a little. After calling for Adam to come up a couple of times, Steve finally comes up and taps Adam. A few comments where exchanged, and then much to our surprise Adam peels off and does a penalty circle. Since we had never protested Adam we actually felt kind of bad for him doing it. In doing his circles Adam dropped from second to fourth. Bad for him good for us as we got a second.
Adam later said he wanted to do the penalty circles to show Jackson what the right thing to do in that situation was. Jackson has a habit of committing the occasional foul and then not acknowledging it. So Props to Adam for leading by example on that particular issue.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Trivia at the Hobnob

One of the things that I have gotten from my dad is a love of trivia. Specifically pub trivia contests. Last night A group of us went to the Hobnob on Park street here in Alameda. This is the first time we had gone to this particular venue for trivia, so it was all new and exciting for us. First though we all met at Dragon Rouge, our new favorite Vietnamese place. Besides the good eats you can get there, we are trying to find Pete a date for our trip to the B.V.I. next month, and since he has been eying one of the waitresses there we figured we would invite her over for some trivia in an attempt to see if we could get those two hooked up. Sadly no joy, but we did have an excellent meal.
Anyway, on to the Hobnob for trivia. Despite the late-ish, for us anyway, 930pm start we had a really good time. Not a huge turnout, but enough to provide some decent competition. Our team name was Sexual Chocolate, which for those of you who don't know is the name of Dennis Rodman's power boat down in Southern California. We won the first round with a score of 13 out of 15, and although we didn't win every round we went on to win overall by about 7 or 8 points. One thing the Hobnob does is give a free round of drinks to the winners of each round. This sounds good in practice, but if you, like us, win three of the four rounds it adds up Quickly. Luckily we had Dina to be our designated driver, and they gave us a $25 bar credit for the next time we are in there.
The Hobnob does a good job, things move briskly along, and the questions are pretty good. A little heavy on Beatles trivia, but thats ok. 
Trivia at the Hobnob in Alameda... Every other Tuesday. Check it out

Monday, June 16, 2008

Basking in the afterglow

It is Monday morning and I am filling the water tanks while sitting here waiting for the coffee to finish brewing . The weekend of boat maintenance went surprisingly well. I got the steering cylinder out and cleaned off with a minimum of swearing, now I just need to replace the seals in it and re-install it back in the boat. looking at the instructions it doesn't look like there should be any real problems with that.
Saturday night we went out for a boat ride with Steve and Karen on Steve's boat. Nothing to fancy, just a ride around treasure Island to watch the sunset and then back to Jack London Square for dinner. A couple of drinks after we got back to Marina Village and that was Saturday. I got a couple of pictures,including one of FDR's old Presidential yacht the Potomac, but had some camera issues not sure if they will come out .
Sunday was the big one. Steve and I pretty much spent all day replacing the aft head hose. This is the hose that runs form the head to the holding tank. As you can imagine this was not a pleasant task. Most boats like ours are built from the inside out, so as a result the hose we where trying to replace was built into the boat and pretty much impossible to get at in a couple of places. After trying a lot of different options for replacing the hose as it was we ended up eventually just re-routing the damn thing around the outside of the engine room. This required some pretty interesting contortions by me to get over the engine and under the fuel tank, but in the end it all got done.
I have to give big props to Steve for all the help on this one. Parts of this job really sucked. We would break the old head hose at a coupler and the smell and stuff coming out of it where just plain gross. Steve never flinched and we just got on with it. Not fun, but at the end of day it was job done.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Friday night race, working on the boat

Last night Pete, Steve, and I did the Island yacht club Friday night race on the Nightingale. We have a bit of a rivalry going with a Capri 25 in that series which is pretty fun. They beat us the first two races, but we have won the last two. We haven't been going to the Island yacht club after the races, and since the boat is entered under the name of Fred Gumbywhacker, we are a bit of a mystery to our rivals on the Capri. They kept yelling over to us to come join them at the club for a beer last night, they even offered to buy the first pitcher. Still, we didn't go as I prefer to maintain the aura of mystery we have created for ourselves. Is that wrong?
After the race we came back to the Lobster T where Dina had gotten some snacks and beverages laid out (bless her). Kirsten and R.T. came by, and we got our friend Rich over from his boat here on the docks to join us. It was a pleasant evening of story telling and u-tube video watching. The night ended early and with everyone in good spirits. Just they way it should be.
Rich is off to sail Sorcery today so I told him to keep his head down and to stay away from the moving parts. Hopefully he will have a good time on the old girl.
This weekend is all about boat maintenance on the Lobster T. Hopefully I can get the steering sorted out and maybe even get the aft head working again. Neither job should be that hard, but replacing the hoses on the aft head will not be fun at all.
Well it's getting on 10am and I am still in bed. so if any of this boat work is going to get done I better get to it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The last couple of days... and a very impressive bruise.

Tuesday I left work a bit early to help Steve put the 5.5 back together after the Ditch Run. Chris had driven it down and it was in the water at the Encinal Yacht Club just down the way from here. As with most projects this one took a little while longer than expected, and required a six pack of beer. However we got the boat back together and fixed a couple of things that had needed to tbe done. Fixing the tack line for instance.
My brother showed up just as we where finishing up and a bunch of us then went out to dinner at the Dragon Rouge before wandering over to the Hobnob for another drink and to play some game that a friend of Dina's had invented.
Wednesday I did the Oakland Yacht Club race on the 5.5 with Steve and Jeff. It was a pretty fun race actually, a little lighter than the last few races, with a few holes on the water. This made it somewhat tactically interesting as we had to decide which side of the Estuary to go to, while at the same time be worried about which boats to cover. We guessed right on the first run passing a couple of boats and then held on to the lead for the win. It was funny sailing the boat so soon after the ditch run as it was pretty obvious that Jeff, Steve, and I have done a lot of sailing together on that boat. I thought our boathandling enabled us to get ourselves into the position that we needed to be in order to get passed the lead boats.
While we raced the 5.5 Dina was out racing the Nightingale as well. They did well, taking the gun and the first place in their division also. Nice work by Pete, Steph, Josh, and Dina on that one. Although I must say the bruise Dina got from slipping on the boat is pretty impressive.
In other news I am probably done with the Encinal Yacht Club for while. We had Dina's party there a month or so ago and the problems we had dealing with the manager, Kimmi, made the whole experience after the fact so bad that we are done with that place for a while.
Ok, it is off to fold the laundry. Life sure is never dull here on the Estuary.

Monday, June 9, 2008

First post

Welcome to my blog. I am trying something new here with this whole blogging thing. Hopefully I will manage to keep this both interesting and up to date. Two things I have not historically been very good at. As I say on the top, this blog will probably end up mostly being sailing stories. But, I hope to also add other stuff as it comes up.

Should I do a brief bio of myself as I don't seem to be able to find the settings on how to do that yet?

My name is Dominic Marchal. I am a 41 year old college student, currently on summer break from my school. The California Maritime Academy in Vallejo California, where I am a business major. I am currently working as a sail maker for a sail loft here in Alameda. I have been a sail maker basically since I graduated high school. So, I would like to think I am pretty good at it.
I live on a 41ft power boat here on the Oakland/Alameda Estuary with my girlfriend Dina, and a cat named Frida.