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Sunday, August 21, 2016

EXCITING RESPITE FROM THE DOG DAYS: (& How to Lasso a Catamaran) August 21st Race Report



Photos courtesy of Kate Edelman and Jack and Sandi Miller (but not the one above!)

Steady winds, pleasant temperatures and low humidity made for an ideal day of racing.  Seventeen sailors in twelve sailboats, supported by eight Committee and Rescue Boat volunteers found the weather for participating in a sailing race to be irresistible, and cast off with vigor from their docks.  We welcomed guest crew Brian Edelman who crewed for Tom Schroeder, and welcomed back Erin Gall who crewed for John Gall. 
 
John Gall and Erin Gall in M-Scow

Visitor Brian, unfamiliar with the demonic Grandview wind,  inadvertently tempted it by "high fiving" Tom after crossing the finish line ("high five syndrome"), but fortunately for them, the wind was focusing it's punishment on others. 

Tom and Brian after start of 1st race

With winds of about 12-15 mph that never really let up, and with few if any “dead spots”  on the lake, we had very few “wind orphans” (stragglers) bemoaning their poor fortune or poor wind-reading skill.  That meant twelve sailboats were in relatively close proximity for much of the race.  So close in fact that a cacophony of shouts were cast from one boat to another about matters of right-of-way.  Some shouts were urgent (right-of-way RIGHT AWAY!), and some were not even uttered because… it was too late.   
Close quarters: Sherri and Kevin are in the foreground.  Kevin yields to Sherri since he is on a port tack and does not have right of way. Sherri (blue sails), keeping a close eye on Kevin, is downwind of the boat in the background (John Auld and Paul Hass) and therefore has right of way over them as well.

There was some fiberglass to fiberglass contact in several cases.  It’s a bit disconcerting to find someone’s bow creeping up on top of the back of your boat along your tiller, or find that one of the pointed protruding pontoons of the swift catamaran has hooked your main-sheet and is running away with you (more on that later).  And we had a couple of protests – could have had a lot more if everyone weren’t so accommodating.  One protest was dropped and one became moot when the alleged perpetrator decided to take their 360 degree penalty turn on the vertical plane by pointing the top of their mast down toward "Davy Jones’ locker" (a nautical term meaning bottom of the lake), but without enough follow-through to have it keep going the full 360 degrees and point back up toward the GPS satellites again (more on that later also).

 The start/finish line was kind of tricky.  Most sailors start with the wind coming over their starboard side since that gives them the right of way over any boat with wind coming over the port side.  But that meant you had to sail nearly parallel to the line in order not to aim so close to the wind that you lost the wind in your sails.  That also meant that you had to aim right at the Committee Boat (which forms the other end of the starting line) and hope you could clear it.  Same thing for the finish.  That’s why you’ll see lots of pictures of boats aimed straight at the photographer on the Committee Boat (that would be Kate Edelman, a guest who is an experienced crew, and therefore fearless enough not to flinch – thanks Kate for the excellent photos!).   If not for all the other boats, it was tempting to start the race on a faster port tack instead, with no right of way, but maybe a better chance of getting across the line and out ahead.  Once over the starting line one could, theoretically, quickly “come about” (turn quickly at least 45 degrees. such that the wind is coming across the other side of the boat) to be on a starboard tack.  A boat or two chose this strategy, heading the other way, on a port tack, without the right of way, and scaring the barnacles off the boats heading your way in the pictures.  
The boats coming toward you are running almost parallel to the starting line, aimed at the Committee Boat.  The bow on the far right is Catey & Elizabeth Hale on a faster port tack without the right of way, hoping to turn to a starboard tack at the last minute to be back in right of way position again, AND to be downwind of the others, and therefore with the right of way over all of them.  Lets watch their next move...
 
The Hales in the foreground are just starting to come about to a starboard tack.  They haven't caused anyone to change course yet, but you can bet the boats to the left of them are yelling "Starboard"! to inform Catey she must yield.  Catey will yell back "Stay your course!" to let them know she will turn to avoid them.  She does not want them to alter their course because then they would have grounds for a protest against her.


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Laura finds herself again trying to catch her Dad (in the background) after the start.

Likewise at the finish, many found themselves heading straight at the Committee Boat.   Some cleared it and some had to “come about” when they realized they just couldn’t make it without taking a final turn (slowing them down).

John Auld and Paul Hass are trying to finish, aimed right at the Committee Boat (one end of the finish line).  They hope to clear the Committee Boat so they don't have to "come about" which would cost them a few seconds. Can they make it?

No, they couldn't clear the Committee Boat,  so now they are "coming about" and will have to finish on a port tack. 

As you can tell from Paul's expression, they are happy to have finished well, winning first in the International Class in the first race and second overall behind Jim Voelz on a handicapped basis.  Grizzled Grandview veterans they are, and having won the "Booby Prize" once (long, long,  ago) for having succumbed to "high five syndrome" and capsizing,  they are keeping their cool and staying in control.
Here, Tom and Brian are also trying to clear the Committee Boat at the finish, but realize they cannot.  So Tom has just shouted to Brian his crew to "prepare to come about!".   They are going to turn sharply to starboard (right).  Do you notice the problem with that strategy?  They were oblivious.  When they turned, they could have collided with Laura who is coming up fast behind them on their right.  But Laura with lighting-fast reflexes avoided them by swerving.  However, Tom and Brian are downwind of Laura, and it appears have the right of way over her (whether they realize it or not).  Although there was no protest, with this photo we now have an interesting topic of discussion for a future Protest Meeting.

As you can see from the smile on Kevin's face, he is able to clear the Committee Boat without turning, saving himself a few seconds.


As you can tell by the pictures, the Committee Boat is the best spot to observe the race; it's practically like being in the sailboats.    


Two Y-Flyers speed across the starting line


Jackson Gall looks like he'll make it without hitting the Committee Boat


On this particular Sunday, the perfect weather created a perfect storm when the boats were crossing the finish line.   
 With so many boats and with everyone finishing so close together, it was difficult to find the right row on the pre-printed race sheet and record the time fast enough before the next boat crossed the line.  All while still trying to finish one’s lunch!   

Jack prepares to dine after the start of the race


On that score we received the following report from volunteer Gretchen Fisher:

 “It was a fun, fast, exciting time! We all thought we needed a "Delay for Dinner" Flag - thanks to the good wind and great sailors, we all had indigestion from inhaling our food! The menu consisted of BBQ Chicken and Cheese Sliders/ Caprese Salad (sliced tomatoes, sliced fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil)/Deviled eggs/Potato Chips/Lemon Bars with coconut.”

And this is the second time the idea of a “delay finishing until we have finished our lunch”-signal flag has been proposed.   We will discuss this at a future protest meeting with the same level of serious consideration we gave it the first time.  In the meantime, our thanks to our fine Committee Boat volunteer crew of Jack and Sandi Miller, Steve and Gretchen Fisher, and guests Ed Deeters and Kate Edelman. They executed their duties flawlessly and provided us with GREAT pictures.  Thanks also to rescue boat volunteers Jim and Mimi Riffle who were kept busy as you’ll see.   And thanks to Kevin Preuss for organizing the race and Beth Auld for making sure our Committee Boat was so well staffed.

It was an exciting day on the Committee Boat

Before we get to the mishaps, regarding the races themselves:  In the first race Jim Voelz in the Laser Class, and John Auld and crew Paul Hass in the International class, had impressive wins in their respective classes.  On a handicapped basis it was Jim Voelz way ahead, with Kevin Preuss edging out John Auld and Paul Hass for second.

Jim Voelz wins first overall and in the Laser class.

In the second race Jim Voelz in the Laser Class and Matt Bartlett and crew Dianne Fisher in the International class had impressive wins in their classes.   

Matt and Dianne had a great 2nd race.


In addition to being the only one in the Butterfly class, and therefore its winner, Sherri Agnew came in third overall on a handicapped basis.  Jim Voelz came in first about 26 handicapped seconds ahead of Matt Bartlett and Dianne Fisher who came in second on a handicapped basis.
Sherri also had a great 2nd race.


Most of the mishaps occurred in the second race.  At the start, Jim Voelz caught himself a catamaran with his main-sheet.   A “main-sheet” is the line that controls the main sail. When your boom is extended way out beyond your hull like Jim’s probably was, the line will also be out there sort of like a lasso. Just as the race was about to start, Matt Bartlett and crew Dianne Fisher accidentally hooked the main-sheet of Jim Voelz’ s Laser with the tip of their pontoon, which was pretty inconvenient for both of them and for those sailors who were counting on them moving forward, rather than staying stationary.   It all got cleared up seconds after the start.  It would have been a fun protest to judge, but none was registered.

At the end of the second race after rounding the last mark, and in a fast dash for the finish, Kevin Preuss felt that Catey Hale’s boat had not yielded the right of way, causing him to alter course.  So Kevin yelled to Catey that he was protesting.  Once such a declaration is made, the other boat, if they are guilty, or don’t want to roll the dice on the outcome (and potential disqualification), does a 360 degree penalty turn when clear of all other boats.   Although Kevin expected Catey to execute such a turn, he was amazed when it appeared she attempted to roll her boat 360 degrees under water instead of on the water. Catey’s crew, daughter Elizabeth, was equally amazed.  Kevin reported that her eyes were as big as saucers as the boat capsized and “turtled” (a nautical term for the bottom of the boat pointing toward the sky, looking like a turtle’s shell).   This happens in racing all the time, especially to Lasers which flip over as easily as dominoes, but are equally easy to turn back upright.  Y-flyers are a little more difficult to right though.  Standing on the centerboard you must have plenty of weight and leverage to pull it back over.  Well, Catey and Elizabeth together were far short of the needed weight. So a number of folks came to their aid which is best described by Catey who sent the following contribution to the blog:

Catey and Elizabeth Hale would like to express, with enormous gratitude, our thanks to the many GYC members who aided and helped us during our unfortunate capsizing calamity!  Throughout the entire ordeal, we never felt in danger or at risk... well, except for daughter Elizabeth, who was certain, for at least one second, that her end was near, because people arrived immediately to offer guidance, assurance and much needed physical help.  We would like to specifically thank Bob Orben for immediately coming to our aid and providing words of encouragement; Lance Snider and Paul Hass for jumping in and using their knowledge, experience, and strength to right our boat; and to Bianca Snider and John Auld for bravely donating their crew, forcing them, meanwhile, to sail singlehandedly in heavy winds; and finally Jim and Mimi Riffle for towing us, wet and a bit discouraged, back to our lot.  Thanks also to our Grandview neighbor, with whom we are unfamiliar, for coming over in his pontoon boat to lend assistance and retrieve various of our articles that floated away from the boat.   Chained to his desk in Indy on Sunday, Doug was so sorry to have missed this event (for a variety of reasons), but has asked me to extend his thanks also.  How nice to be a part of such a caring and generous community of people!  Thank you!
Catey and Elizabeth making a wake in the Y-Flyer


And, speaking of our community, we had a fine time at the Protest Meeting at the Truex’s after the race with lots to re-live from the various vantage points represented.   We were concerned about Lance and Bianca Snider’s well-being after they spent a bit of time locked by the wind near the dam after their contribution to the Hale recovery effort.  They were under the watchful eye of the Safety Patrol boat ready to help if asked (Thanks!).  We have since heard all was well with them and there was no cause for concern.  Thanks Wayne and Arlene for hosting us again.

Lance and Bianca in their Y-Flyer

Race Results 1st Race:
Laser Class: 1st Jim Voelz, 2nd Kevin Preuss, 3rd Laura Garrett, 4th Steve Willment.
Butterfly Class:  1st Sherri Agnew
International Class (on handicapped basis) 1st John Auld/Paul Hass, 2nd Tom Schroeder/Brian Edelman, 3rd Catey & Elizabeth Hale, 4th Matt Bartlett, Dianne Fisher, 5th Lance & Bianca Snider, 6th John Gall/Erin Gall.
Overall on a handicapped basis (not for scoring): 1st Jim Voelz, 2nd Kevin Preuss, 3rd John Auld/Paul Hass, 4th, Tom Schroeder/Brian Edelman, 5th Laura Garrett, 6th Catey & Elizabeth Hale, 7th Matt Bartlett, Dianne Fisher, 8th Lance & Bianca Snider, 9th Sherri Agnew, 10th Steve Willment, 11th John Gall/Erin Gall

Race Results 2nd
Laser Class: 1st Jim Voelz, 2nd Kevin Preuss, 3rd Laura Garrett, 4th Jackson Gall, 5th Steve Willment.
Butterfly Class:  1st Sherri Agnew
International Class (on handicapped basis) 1st Matt Bartlett, Dianne Fisher, 2nd Tom Schroeder/Brian Edelman, 4th John Auld/Paul Hass, 5th John Gall/Erin Gall
Overall on a handicapped basis (not for scoring): 1st Jim Voelz, 2nd Matt Bartlett/Dianne Fisher, 3rd Sherri Agnew, 4th Kevin Preuss, 5th Tom Schroeder/Brian Edelman, 6th Laura Garrett, 7th Lance & Bianca Snider, 8th Jackson Gall, 9th John Auld/Paul Hass, 10th John Gall/Erin Gall, 11th Steve Willment.  

Our next race is after Labor Day weekend on September 11th, The “Labor Day Trophy Race" (we haven't been holding races on holiday weekend lately). 

Monday, August 8, 2016

MID-SEASON RACING STATISTICS

Our season is only slightly more than half over. 
After the last (August 7th race-see earlier post), We have completed five race dates and we have four race dates left.
Three of the four race dates are in September which usually provides very good sailing conditions (vs. those “dog days” of July & August).

We have had a lively season thus far with 38 participants including 27 sailors and 11 Committee Boat volunteers.
We have averaged 9 boats and 12 sailors per race.
We have 7 new resident-rookie sailors so far this year, and 3 boats that are new or “reactivated” in the fleet vs. last year.
We have 4 new skippers (including those who used to crew only)
For those of you who are competition-oriented (sailors, competitive? really?), with nearly half the season remaining, anything can happen so don’t be discouraged or overconfident!
See you at the next race!  New sailors are welcome - see "contact us" at the top of the "Port" column.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

WHAT DID YOU EXPECT CHARLIE BROWN? August 7th Race Report

We were delighted to have first-time sailor Alexandra Hale join us.  She crewed for Catey Hale on the Y-Flyer.  Welcome Alexandra! And we were happy to have back for the first time this year Jackson Gall and  Dave Brown (and Marlene Brown on the Committee Boat).  We were also glad to have Lance & Bianca Snider join us again. We wish we could have arranged better wind for all of them. 

Many thanks to our Committee Boat volunteers John Auld, Marlene Brown, Bob Orben and Jim Riffle  for hanging in there for a long race day indeed.  And to Catey Hale for setting up the race with an assist from Tom Jennings.  Thanks also to Beth Auld and Kevin Preuss for organizing.

The wind was on again, off again which made for some very long periods of sitting motionless.   When racing, its not like you can relax like a dog laying in the shade during those periods. 
 
It’s a test. You have to notice where in your vicinity the wind “corridors” tend to be found.  A few feet to the wrong side of the wind corridor means you are motionless while others are moving forward.  And you’ve got to be watching the water for signs of the next breeze and be prepared to take immediate advantage of it.  And while you drift a bit, you can inch along in a direction that might prove favorable.   During one such period it was amusing to watch Jim Voelz sneak inch by inch around the back of the Hale boat and slowly position himself upwind of them while they were not looking.  When the wind did pick up, he was blocking their wind for a moment or two.  Sometimes that is all that matters.

After an extremely long 45 minute first race the wind picked up just enough to entice us to start another race,  only to die again after we rounded the first mark.  Like Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown.  Another 45 minute race.  Good Grief!   


And no protest meeting  that day to commiserate with our fellow sailors.  So those of us who attended the Garden Club picnic that evening (which was great)  may have seemed a tad bit salty upon arrival.  Nevertheless, it was better to have sailed than not since it wasn’t terribly hot or humid, and we actually did have enough wind to finish two races.  And we ARE in the “dog days” of summer, after all, so we’ll take any wind we can get.


Of note was the tight grouping of the sailboats, particularly early in both races, especially the second race.  It made for some exciting moments as we rounded the marks together.  In those situations inches of positioning relative to the other boats matter.  Later in both races the forces of skill and/or luck did their work and spread us out quite a bit.

Race Results 1st Race:
Laser Class: 1st Tom Jennings, 2nd Jim Voelz, 3rd Laura Garrett, 4th Jackson Gall.
Butterfly Class: 1st Peggy Voelz
International Class (on handicapped basis) 1st Catey & Alexandra Hale, 2nd Tom Schroeder

Overall on a handicapped basis (not for scoring): 1st Tom Jennings, 2nd Jim Voelz, 3rd Catey & Elizabeth Hale, 4th, Peggy Voelz, 5th Laura Garrett, 6th Tom Schroeder, 7th Jackson Gall.

Race Results 2nd Race:
Laser Class: 1st Jim Voelz, 2nd Tom Jennings, 3rd Laura Garrett, 4th Jackson Gall
International Class: 1st Tom Schroeder, 2nd Catey & Elizabeth Hale, 3rd Lance & Bianca Snider

Overall on a handicapped basis (not for scoring): 1st Jim Voelz, 2nd Tom Jennings, 3rd Tom Schroeder 4th Laura Garrett, 5th Catey & Elizabeth Hale, 6th Jack Gall, 7th Lance & Bianca Snider

Our next race is August 21st.  Lucy Van Pelt is not invited!