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Sunday, August 30, 2015

AUGUST 30th RACE: Musical Boats & Timed Traffic Lights

Photos and video courtesy of Lisa Duret.

Butterflies ruled; We had eleven boats and fourteen sailors participating, but our sailors seemed to forget which boat they belonged in.  The start of the second race was done in fine unison (and we have a video clip for you).  The wind saw to it that if you were way ahead of the rest of the fleet (or way behind), that would soon change.  This led to some very close finishes.
1st race: Eleven boats head for 1st mark on much different courses
Eight of the boats converge to port (left) on the 1st mark, the other three are off to starboard.

Thanks to our Committee Boat volunteers Beth Auld, Lisa Duret and Bob Orben for running the race for us, and to Kevin Preuss for organizing and also setting up and taking down the course with help from John Gall. And thanks to Wayne and Arlene Truex for hosting the protest meeting.
Seven of the boats round the 2nd mark, starting pole is in the foreground
Our sailors must have felt they were in a rut and needed to change things up.  Who sailed in which boat?   It must have been whatever boat the sailors were standing next to when the music stopped.  It seemed no one was in the boat they belonged in, especially the Voelz dynasty:  Jim sailed Peggy’s Butterfly.  Peggy sailed Laura’s Butterfly, and Laura sailed Jim’s Laser.   We are all wondering what happened at Voelz household during lunch to bring this on.  Did it start with “Your boat is just faster than mine”?  We’ll have to find out at a future protest meeting.   John Gall left his newly refurbished Laser on the lift and sailed the Truex’ s Hobie with Arlene as Crew.  And Tom Schroeder left his JY-15 on the lift and crewed for Catey Hale.   So it’s time for another welcoming pitch to those who are thinking about learning to race, but don’t know how to get started:  Prior to this past race we would have sent you a one-page orientation sheet to read, and you could have crewed for Catey, or for Tom, had a great time, and we would have been able to have one more of our sailboat fleet on the water.  There are two races left, it is not too late!

In the past two years the pattern has been that the first sailors to the first mark would stay ahead the entire race.  This race was much different because the devious Grandview wind decided to overplay its powerful role.   On several occasions, those who were far ahead suddenly found themselves at a “red light” wind-wise, while the rest of the fleet suddenly enjoyed a fast breeze that proved to be the great equalizer.   Kind of like a busy urban thoroughfare with traffic lights timed to sequentially turn green for those driving exactly the speed limit.  But for those accelerating hard from each stop light, it is “1-2-3 red light”, which is the introduction to our background music for this race.  Yes, the 1968 bubblegum-pop song by the “1910 Fruit Gum Company” Click here to start the music if you dare (not recommended – it’s a lame song, and you’ll not be able to get the tune out of your head).   This wind pattern also kept the boats relatively bunched up, which allowed for unusually great photos of the whole fleet, usually difficult to capture. Well done Lisa Duret!  Unfortunately,for many stretches the whole fleet was idling at a “red light” - plenty of time to have a “Chinese fire drill”, perhaps even to switch back into their proper boats – but none did.

We had eleven boats, which made for quite a start.  At Jim Voelz’s “tips and techniques” classes of a year or two ago, rookies among us were taught what the veterans already knew:  Win the race at the start by hitting the starting line with plenty of momentum,  a good course, and hopefully on a starboard tack to have right-of-way just as the starting horn is blown.  As a fleet we have generally been doing quite well at that lately.  And observers said that the start of the second race was quite a sight to see.  We maneuvered around chaotically after the “five-minutes-to-start” horn was blown. Then suddenly with about ten seconds to go, all sails pointed in the same direction and we started in unison.  
 
A tight formation crossing the starting line in relative unison

 You can watch a video of the starting line below.  When the starting horn is blown, suddenly the boats will begin crossing the line.  There wasn't much wind, so not much speed, but it was a good start nonetheless.

The Butterfly Class ruled again in this race.  In the first race, the Butterfly class finished first, second and third (Jim Voelz, Peggy Voelz, and Sherri Agnew) on an overall handicapped basis.  In the second race, again on an overall handicapped basis, Jim and Peggy in Butterflies took 1st and 2nd again, with Tom Jennings in a Laser finishing third (but first in the Laser class).
9 of the 11 boats heading for 2nd mark in the 2nd race - Sherri is out front

2nd race heading for the 3rd mark with Hale/Schroeder in the lead before hitting the "stop light"
2nd race, after rounding the mark and getting a green light, all head for the finish line.  Hale/Schroeder still in the lead - but wait - there is the handicap to apply - see handicapped results below
If participants have any additional perspectives on the race, they are welcome to share them, and your are welcome to view them using the "#comments" button at the bottom of the post. Complaints about the music selection will not be published.

Race results are as follows:

FIRST RACE – TROPHY RACE
Laser Class:  Tom Jennings 1st Place, Andy Jennings 2nd, Riley Leonard 3rd, Kevin Preuss 4th, Laura Garrett, 5th.
Butterfly Class:  Jim Voelz 1st Place, Peggy Voelz 2nd, Sherri Agnew 3rd.
International Class: Catey Hale/Tom Schroeder 1st, John Auld/Paul Hass 2nd, John Gall/Arlene Truex 3rd

Overall on Handicapped Basis:
Jim Voelz 1st Place, Peggy Voelz 2nd, Sherri Agnew 3rd, Tom Jennings 4th, Andy Jennings 5th, Riley Leonard 6th, Kevin Preuss 7th, Laura Garrett 8th, Catey Hale/Tom Schroeder 9th, John Auld/Paul Hass 10th, John Gall/Arlene Truex 11th

SECOND RACE
Laser Class: Tom Jennings 1st Place, Riley Leonard  2nd, Laura Garrett 3rd, Kevin Preuss 4th, Andy Jennings 5th.
Butterfly Class:  Jim Voelz 1st Place, Peggy Voelz 2nd, Sherri Agnew 3rd.
International Class: Catey Hale/Tom Schroeder 1st, John Auld/Paul Hass 2nd, John Gall/Arlene Truex 3rd

Overall on Handicapped Basis:
Jim Voelz 1st Place, Peggy Voelz 2nd, Tom Jennings 3rd, Catey Hale/Tom Schroeder 4th, Sherri Agnew 5th, Riley Leonard 6th, Laura Garrett 7th, Kevin Preuss 8th, John Auld/Paul Hass 9th, John Gall/Arlene Truex   10th, Andy Jennings 11th

Sunday, August 16, 2015

AUGUST 16TH RACE: Forms of Propulsion

Photos courtesy of Lisa Duret
Que the background music by clicking HERE:

Diana Ross and the Supremes:  "No wind.. (no wind!)…, No rain… (no rain!) ....or winter’s cold… can STOP me baby… (oh baby)…."

Well, we had no wind… (no wind!) .  Our one hour rain delay meant we had no rain… (no rain!) , and we certainly had no winters cold (it was pretty hot actually).  And no wind really can stop me baby, (Oh baby)!  

Although we had thirteen sailors and ten boats lined up to race, only five of us in four boats were gung-ho enough (or whatever) to show up for the race immediately following the ¾ inch of rain we received in about an hour.  The rain stopped with just enough time to quickly rig a boat and get a tow to the starting line.  So we lost most of our sailors.  But we did not lose our wonderful Committee Boat volunteers who took the delay in stride.    

We welcomed back former GYC skipper Dave Brown who was here with wife Marlene for a visit, and sailed the Hobie catamaran with Arlene Truex as crew.   John Gall was also back and sailed a newly refurbished Laser.

The Brothers Gall Laser. It LOOKS fast, and probably is, but we'll have to find out another day.
Well, we showed up, so we all made the best of it.  Since our usual propelling force (wind) "was  not with us", the Race Chairman, seconded by the Commodore, decided to suspend the rules against using other forms of propulsion, but denied the use of the trolling motor on the JY15.    We “raced” almost the entire course by “sculling” rudders rapidly back and forth, or in the case of John Gall, paddling with hands while lying on the front of the boat (picture paddling a surf board out to the waves, but on a sailboat instead, with the stern of the boat sticking up in the air). 
John is leaning over the bow, paddling

The only thing moving here is the jet ski that just exited stage right, leaving a spray.
Yes, “ooching” was also allowed, but no one embarrassed themselves by doing so (see last year's June 1st race report for a definition).  Dave Brown was unhappy with the mechanical advantage of Tom Schroeder’s JY-15 when it came to sculling though.   It seems that boat (which Dave sold to Tom years ago) can extend its rudder out to nearly horizontal, giving it greater leverage.   And that is also the reason Schroeder won the race. 

Fortunately we did enjoy a slight hint of wind between the 1st and 2nd marks at just the right angle that we could refrain from sculling, etc. for that segment of the race.
The four boats in same order as the finish.  Sherri looks on from her pontoon boat.  This was the only segment of the course with a trace of wind.
The Committee Boat volunteers were the bobbing gourmet lunch group of the Millers, Fishers, Donna Mount, and Committee Boat chair, Beth Auld.  They had a delicious lunch dinner, albeit without much racing drama for entertainment.  Menu: Two varieties of chicken salad (Steve Fisher's mother's recipe and Gretchen's Fisher's recipe), croissants, cantaloupe and blueberries.  For desert they served peach-stuffed cupcakes and frozen heath bars.

Sherri Agnew set up the race, with help from Kevin Preuss.  Thankfully they set up a short course.  Sherri followed our progress, or lack thereof from her pontoon boat.  Sailors John Auld and Paul Hass were also concerned for our safety as they also shadowed us from their pontoon boat.  There was little risk of capsize, but maybe heat stroke or dislocating a shoulder or elbow joint.

Thanks to our Committee Boat volunteers Jack and Sandi Miller, Steve and Gretchen Fisher, Donna Mount, and Beth Auld, and to Sherri and Kevin for making the race possible.  Thanks also to the Truexs for hosting the protest meeting.

The next race is a "trophy race" and will be August 30th.  May the propelling force be with us for that race.

First and only Race Results: 
Laser Class:  Kevin Preuss 1st, John Gall 2nd
International Class (on handicapped basis): Tom Schroeder 1st, Dave Brown/Arlene Truex 2nd

Overall on Handicapped Basis (not for scoring): Tom Schroeder 1st, Kevin Preuss 2nd, Dave Brown/Arlene Truex 3rd, John Gall 4th.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

AUGUST 2ND RACE - WELCOME TO THE HOTEL CALIFORNIA !

We benefitted from yet another day of decent wind and a good turnout of fourteen sailors and four Committee Boat volunteers, and some very close finishing times – quite exciting.  Sailors were anxious to get back on the race course after the July 19 race was cancelled due to rain/heat/lack of wind.  We are grateful to those who were lined up to volunteer that day including to Beth Auld, Donna Mount, Bob Orben, Mimi Riffle, Riley Leonard and Lance Snider.    And we are grateful to John Gall who interrupted rigging of his boat to answer the call of another sailor, whereupon he put that sailor on a northeasterly heading on land without delay, an important maneuver.  You have to attend protest meetings to learn about such things.  Thanks to Wayne and Arlene Truex for hosting that protest meeting after the non-race.

But wait, you are here to read about the August 2nd race:  Well, we were pleased to welcome back Steve Willment in his first race this year, crewing for Steve Tadd in the wooden Thistle.  Tom Jennings and Catey and Graham Hale returned after hiatuses of several races, and are no longer candidates for the ghost sailor trophy (if you are a candidate for the ghost sailor trophy, there are several races left to join us and avoid the "void" of this trophy).

Tom Jennings parked his Laser at the Mullinix’ s dock (thanks!) after he talked Tom Schroeder into letting him race the JY-15, with Schroeder as crew (it’s not too late to sign up for the quantity discount).  During his couple of month sabbatical, Jennings took it upon himself to re-engineer our heavy starting line pole buoy with a much lighter version that made its debut, and worked out quite well, making it easier to set up and take down the race course from now on – Thanks Tom!  

We had a well-staffed Committee Boat with volunteers who did a fine job, especially considering the amount of bouncing around from the heavy traffic.  Thanks Tricia and Bob Zachidny, Mimi Riffle, and Donna Mount!   Catey Hale set up the course with help from race organizer Kevin Preuss, and Catey and Doug Hale took the course down, and a fine course it was – Thanks everyone!
 
We had plenty of wind most of the time, except in certain black holes on the course where magically there was no wind, and once inside, you felt you were in the “Hotel California”, once you check in, you cannot check out (if you prefer a multimedia experience you can start the "Hotel California" music in a new window by clicking here, but don't forget to come back to this window while you listen).   Just ask Catey and Graham Hale and the “Toms” - Jennings and Schroeder.   Approaching the finish line in the first race, both captains made the mistake of getting too far east of the Committee Boat and found themselves stuck.  Particularly the “Toms” who,  only a few feet from the finish line, found it took painful, agonizing ages to finally cross it (more revenge from the Grandview wind for gleeful, disparaging personifications made of it during its Tasmanian vacation early in the season).  

While that may have been the worst black hole on the lake,  there were other areas which had similar effects on our sailors.  Those who avoided the bad spots did well.  Tom Jennings learned all the bad spots in the first race and avoided them all in the second race, winning his class despite the presence of his wind-targeted crew.   Interestingly some weren’t paying attention to the misfortune of the other sailors in the first race and repeated those sailor’s mistakes in the second race.  For instance, the “Toms” started the first race close to the Committee Boat side of the starting line and stayed on the north side of the rhumb line (imaginary direct line from middle of starting line to the first mark) and they were punished by lack of wind.  The rest of the fleet, sailing the south side of the rhumb line must not have noticed their misfortune because many of them switched to the north side in the second race and were similarly punished.  Same thing with the course from the 2nd mark to the 3rd mark, and 3rd mark to the finish line;  If you stayed to the west side of that rhumb line you’re fine, if not “You’re mine” says the devilish Grandview wind, and “Welcome to the Hotel California!”.

Yes, we are adding Hotel California to the “Club Videos and Songs” list of links toward the bottom of the Port column.  And if you haven’t visited that section yet, make sure to click on the link with the video reminding us of Jim Riffle and Joe Prosser on the Hobie catamaran years ago. The size of waves we had to weather on Sunday make it appropriate.  Oh heck, that video is such a classic we will put the link right here. (again, it will open up in a new window - after you watch it, close that window to come back here).

In the first race Jim Voelz, who has an uncanny ability to read the wind, of particular importance this race day, finished far head of all but Catey and Graham Hale in terms of actual elapsed time.  On a handicapped basis,  Jim was farther ahead of everyone.  On a handicapped basis, wow!  The Butterfly sailors, Laura, Sherri, and Peggy (in that order) came in right behind Catey/Graham.  And those four boats finished within 36 handicapped seconds of one and other.  The next closest finisher on a handicapped basis was the Thistle – Steve Tadd/Steve Willment one handicapped minute behind.  The Butterflies are roiling the waters!

The second race had a similar result.  Jim Voelz prevailed.  But Riley Leonard, also in a Laser, seemed tied with a bowline to Jim, and the final leg looked really close between the two of them.  But Jim pulled ahead and beat Riley by about thirty seconds.  Again though, the next boats on a handicapped basis were two of the three Butterflies, Sherri and Peggy in that order and only about half a minute apart.   And although the “Toms” finished fifth on a handicapped basis, Laura Garrett in her Butterfly was only 9 seconds behind them.  So the Butterflies had another strong showing, and the three of them again finished very close to one and other, a very competitive class!

We did have some potential protests that were not filed and are fodder for our fun discussions at protest meetings:  How much room is enough room when allowing “room at the mark”?   "The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind…. ". Another club song?  Also, note that after you touch a mark you need to do your penalty turn at the earliest opportunity after you can get clear of other boats.  And, just by observation, if you have the right of way, and have to alter your course to avoid another boat, go ahead and declare a protest!  We need more protests.

We had a great time at the Protest Meeting and got to visit with the Truex’s son Mike and his family including our much anticipated annual visit with their daughter Mayra.  Donna Mount prepared one of her specialties from a "Gourmet Committee Boat" feast of several races ago.  Oh yeah, I think that same team is volunteering for the next race.  Hmmm…wonder what the menu will be.  Thanks Wayne and Arlene for hosting the meeting!

Sailors, volunteers, and other race observers are encouraged to add their version of these events and to, correct, comment or otherwise add some salt to this report by using the comment feature below.  After all this report came from only one very biased vantage point in the race, and yours might have been better!

First Race Results: 
Laser Class:  Jim Voelz 1st Place, Kevin Preuss 2nd, Riley Leonard 3rd.
Butterfly Class: Laura Garrett 1st Place, Sherri Agnew 2nd, Peggy Voelz 3rd.
International Class (on handicapped basis): Catey/Graham Hale 1st Place, Steve Tadd/Steve Willment 2nd,  Tom Jennings/Tom Schroeder 3rd,  Jim Riffle/Arlene Truex 4th

Overall on Handicapped Basis (not for scoring): Jim Voelz 1st, Catey/Graham Hale 2nd, Laura Garrett 3rd, Sherri Agnew 4th, Peggy Voelz 5th, Steve Tadd/Steve Willment 6th, Kevin Preuss 7th, Riley Leonard 8th, Tom Jennings/Tom Schroeder 9th, Jim Riffle/Arlene Truex 10th.


Second Race Results: 
Laser Class:  Jim Voelz 1st, Riley Leonard 2nd, Kevin Preuss 3rd
Butterfly Class: Sherri Agnew 1st Place, Peggy Voelz 2nd, Laura Garrett 3rd
International Class (on handicapped basis):  Tom Jennings/Tom Schroeder 1st, Steve Tadd/Steve Willment 2nd, Jim Riffle/Arlene Truex 3rd

Overall on Handicapped Basis (not for scoring): Jim Voelz 1st , Riley Leonard 2nd , Sherri Agnew 3rd, Peggy Voelz 4th, Tom Schroeder/Tom Jennings 5th, Laura Garrett 6th, Kevin Preuss 7th,  Steve Tadd/Steve Willment 8th,  Jim Riffle/Arlene Truex 9th.