Monday, August 16, 2010

Stepharoo battles AC talent!

On Friday the 13th team Rumpus headed down that lonely grey ribbon for some racing action in the Columbia river gorge. The only thing hotter than the weather were the trailer brakes but when you're pulled to the side of the road with a bright yellow 27 ft boat it's not long before a friend from Steilacoom will notice and after a slight delay we were back into a surprising amount of traffic headed south. AYC member (or at least his Pa is) Kyle Roethle kept us up to date on the traffic conditions and the nearest Les Schwab via his iphone. (or something like it)

We launched via a ramp @ Cascade Locks and stayed with my old college room-mate in Hood River. The Double Damned Regatta is supposed to be a 42 mile hair raising run to The Dalles. This year was 25 kt Easterlies not Westerlies so instead it was 15 miles to Mitchell point and a run back to Cascade Locks. Two divisions, Moore 24's and everything else.

We got a decent start a little overpowered with full main and a #3, we picked up two locals to round out the crew when we found out we were going to be going upwind not down; Chris and Darren were lifesavers! A 30 footer snapped her lifeline soon after the start and dumped the crew in the drink but those left on board had things under control and soon gathered them up. (Check those lifelines people!!!) The J-35 skippered by Mark Newbrook from the Americas Cup Alinghi program powered up wind and relished the flat water and steady winds.

We battled past the Moore 24 skippered by Morgan Larson with at least one other member with AC experience on board until he switched headsails and ground us down again. We rounded and set the kite and were really doing well until we surfed away on a wild puff aimed for the beach and had to jibe. It wasn't pretty and we lost our floating winch handle. I was able to pull myself back on board using the mainsheet then then over the lifeline. Kyle was able to realease the spinnaker halyard cleated on the mast with one hand while holding on to the shrouds that were well underwater with the other. The spin pole was toast, Windex missing, and we opted for a smaller chute. back underway with the stereo now switched off and now we were at the other shore and another ugly jibe now we were down to our third spinnaker pole our last one... Nice to have friends that let you borrow their poles for these regattas but maybe we should just buy iron ones...It actually started to lighten and we finished with the big kite back up.

We sailed in dropped the rig in the parking lot, bashed Steph in the head (long story, no major damage), 2nd in division, 3rd overall!!! Cool boat, great crew, anyone can take the helm when the river is calm, Only Steph can create that kind of damage in only 15 miles!!!!

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