Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Great Success.

Okay, a quick rundown of our victory in the Oakland Yacht Club Sunday Brunch Series.

The OYC Sunday Brunch series is a five race series run on the first and third Sundays of January and February, and the first Sunday of March. Sadly Gonzo was still not ready for the first race as the mast was still down from when I dropped it on my foot in November. This, as discussed previously, had left me with a ruptured Achilles Tendon and so out of action for a while.

So, after doing what I should have done to start with, which was pay Glen Hansen of Hansen Rigging to fix the rig, we did make it out for the last four races. We did have Glen make one major change and that was to put the roller furler back on the boat. The OYC gives us a three second credit for using the furler, which I figure we get back in the ease of use that the furler gives us. That and the old J-24 headsail that we were using was such a piece of junk that I don't think we gained anything from it. We had also gotten an additional 3 second credit from the local PHRF committee over the winter, which meant that we had gone from rating 186 to 192.

The new and improved Gonzo.

I drove the first race, sailing with Jeff, Sid, and RT and it was obvious right out the start that whatever Glen had done to the rig had made a huge difference. The boat felt great and we actually sailed away from most of our fleet upwind. When the wind came up I could actually use the backstay to de-power things, something that had never really happened before. Anyway we kept in touch with the leading 30 footer for most of the race, eventually passing him when he had a bad drop at the final rounding and ended up hitting the day marker. So we won the first race boat for boat as the slowest rated boat.

The second race I drove again as my foot/ankle was still really not up for me doing anything else. This race was on Super Bowl Sunday and I don't remember a lot of the details about this one. It may have just been Jeff, Sid and I and I know that once again we were the first boat to finish and easily won our division.

and this is the good ankle...

The third race Jeff drove, Sid showed up late and very hungover, and RT sailed with a separated shoulder. I did bow and the ankle felt fine and once again we sailed to victory and a four point lead going into the last race of the series. I seem to remember diving the boat before the race and it being very, very cold.

So, going into the last race we had to finish less than four places behind Zeehund and we would win no matter what. Jennifer joined Jeff, RT, Sid, and I and it was Sid's turn to drive. The wind was from the south for the first time in the series but they sent us on the same course direction as usual. This meant a downwind start and a spinnaker run out of the Estuary. Sid, with Jeff on the bow, and with us using a real watch for the first time ever, got us a good start with the kite up and pulling right before the gun went off, sadly what this did was put us directly in front of a fleet of 6 or 7 masthead 30 footers that created a wind shadow across the Estuary behind us. We soon where overhauled by the fleet and where actually in last place with Zeehund sailing away from us at the front of the fleet.

After a few harsh words, and an ill considered gybe that took us even further off the course we made it to the top mark around the corner at Jack London Square. Apparently there was some confusion in our fleet as to whether the course was to be sailed in reverse or not? The course, as I said was pretty much the same course that we usually sail, only the wind direction was backwards. This led to some of the boats approaching the mark the wrong way. This was the break we had been looking for. We managed to get around the mark cleanly, our boat handling always allows us much faster rounding's than our competitors, and sailed off up the course in second place.

Second in the last race gave us three firsts and a second for the series, easily enough for the series win. We were also the lowest scoring boat in any of the divisions giving us the overall trophy (if one existed). Needless to say, there was much rejoicing.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Broken, but getting better...

Sorry about the long time of no posts, couple of reasons for this, but truth be told I just haven't been doing enough to write about. The main reason for this is that I ruptured my Achilles Tendon in November. The how and the why are really not that important. Something about middle age and miscommunication, let's just leave it at that. I was thinking that I could write about the trials and tribulations of recovering from this, but it has already been done by someone else here. The only difference is that I elected not to have surgery and thus spent seven or so weeks in a series of casts before going to the boot and then into Physical Therapy. At this point I am still using a cane to get around, but I am back at the Doyle Loft and starting next week I am down to once a week Therapy sessions.

Still life did go on during my down time, Although I missed about two and half months away from work I did get up to some things. Dina and I did a holiday road trip down the coast with stops in Pismo Beach, Santa Barbara, and San Diego which included a pretty good new years with our friends Todd and Virginia on their boat down in San Diego. We have also made it to a few concerts along the way, including my new favorite band Gogol Bordello, as well as Social Distortion, and just this last Monday Prince at the Oakland Coliseum.

I have even managed to get a little sailing in here and there, although for the most part it has me playing the part of passenger rather than active participant. Having said that the day before I buggered my ankle I did the Regatta PRO mid-winters out on the bay with Jeff Thorpe and a couple of others on the J-105 Roxanne, this was the first J-105 racing I have done since the boats where brand new and I have to say it was a lot of fun. Going out and winning both races didn't hurt, but it was very enjoyable day of light air mid-winter one-design racing.

I also managed to do two of the Golden Gate mid-winters, one on the Ocelot, and one with Steve on the Cal 40 Shaman. On Shaman I was planning on just sitting on the back and shooting some video, but they decided to make me the tactician instead, something I have never really done before. Let's just say that as a tactician I got a few things right, and few things wrong and leave it at that.

The big sailing news is that we have Gonzo back on the water as a racing sailboat again. I had originally ruptured my Achilles when we were dropping the mast to replace the standing rigging. As a result the mast was down for a couple of months before we finally got the boat over to Glen Hansen at Hansen Rigging. Glen got the standing rigging replaced, the rig back up and more importantly got the rig set up in such a way as that Gonzo has never been faster. We have been doing the Oakland Yacht Club Sunday Brunch series and with one race to go we lead our division by four or five points, not bad especially considering that we missed the first race.

I have an appointment with my Physical Therapist so I will add a few pictures later, also I hope to do some changes to the blog layout soon, as well as a full write up of the Sunday Brunch Series...