Thursday, April 28, 2011

Apriluary in Anacortes

12 brave crews braved the wind and rain swept eel grass and whale pasture we know as Fidalgo Bay. Brad Blymyer with lovely assistant Colin Emsley rode the bucking "support vessel"(really is the best name we can come up with?) to the start line.

In a heavyweight grudge match Pangaea led the way across the line with Kinetic Ki driving hard not far behind. While his first wife was cooking up the finest chili this side of the Skagit river Jim Bottles blasted the Celebration across the line threading the needle on port tack through a rapidly closing space to add B fleet highlights. In C fleet John Gunn annihilated the fleet on the first beat only to be swallowed up by those cool cats on Syndicat. In the end Pangaea, our newest member Eric Beemer surfing to victory on the Surfin Bird and Syndicat took home the gold.

After people wrung out their long johns and enjoyed the talents of Jerry Reilly behind the bar Colin Orsini put on a terrific presentation of RC 44 action from Austria to Dubai to Miami to places I can't pronounce. Check it all out @ www.oracleracingmedia.com.

Also note we have "D" class which does not require a rating. Simply purchase a race packet, sign a waiver, and show us an insurance cert. and you can come out and play. A long form birth certificate is not required.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday Night Racing Starts Tonight...

In case you missed it, Wednesday Night Buoy Racing starts TONIGHT - yes TONIGHT at 6:30pm.  The Celebraton crew will be cooking and the Alert team will be managing the race course....

We just checked with the weatherman (yes, we know he can't be trusted but who else can you go to), and he says that we will have clear skies, 75 degrees with a 10-15 knot consistent westerly wind.

So there you have it...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

One for Four

Four AYC boats made the trek North to the West Vancouver Yacht Club for the Southern Straits Regatta. This annual race starts on Good Friday each year and features long 125nile, medium 95 miles and short 60 mile courses. They are different every year.This year Wild Rumpus was short, Passepartout was medium and Night Runner and Icon went long. The trip North featured the usual antics and hijinx with the customs service, Nexxus ain't always what it is purported to be.....A trip to the emergency room for the Wild Rumpus crew, gotta watch out for the outboard when the boat is on the trailer! In any case the WVYC put on a terrific meal, weather briefing, and a free keg (imagine that, free beer!)

The start includes a brass band, a visit by the Easter bunny, a whole bunch of current and very interestingly the RC reporting over early boats via VHF even before the start. Of course they were Canadian boats, but I digress. The Passepartout boys took one look at the flat water and bleak forecast, fired up the iron genoa and headed South for Anacortes. Icon, Night Runner were in the first start and beat out of Burrard Inlet under light Westerlies and sunny skies. Wild Rumpus with Andy driving for once cleared the line on port tack, had one starboard tack boat dip under us(did you just read that right?, yes that is what happened) then got buried by a wall of starboard tackers. To say we took a flyer maybe accurate but we were following Icon now barely visible on the horizon. We checked and rechecked the GPS and stayed on a lifting starboard tack providing overwhelmingly better VMG. (look it up) The first mark for us was Entrance Island and by 6pm we had only made 15 outa 25 miles. A small conference was held and soon we were underway, under power arriving back at WVYC just at sunset.

A great feature of this race is you can visit www.southernstraits.ca and follow each boat via a transponder. They had a bigscreen set up in the club and we watched as Icon and Night Runner battled into the night. Proving that it is never over until it is over Icon went from the penthouse to the outhouse and back several times but they were ahead by over nearly and hour when it mattered at the finish, that is the way to start the season. Night Runner hung it out into Saturday night but eventually gave it up, did I say it was light? It was...

Wednesday starts rain or shine @ 1830 call Andy 360 770 7035 with any questions!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It's all about current...

As the weather starts to get better more people are thinking about getting out on their boat -- one essential part of this is knowing what is going to happen with the tides and currents.  With respect to currents, one of the great resources for predicting currents is the Canadian Current Atlas for Juan de Fuca Strait & Georgia Strait.  This indispensable book is filled with pictures depicting the set and drift of the current as it flows around all the land masses in our area.

One of the problems with this book is that it is keyed off the tides at Point Atkinson (near Vancouver) and in order to use it correctly you have to figure this out, adjust for daylight savings time (if active) and then determine the correct page of the book - all time consuming and prone to errors.

In order to overcome this several enterprising people have pre-computed a set of tables such that all you have to do is lookup the date & time in question and it will give you the page number to look up in the Current Atlas -- how easy is that!  The two most popular tables are Washburn's Tables and Murray's Tables.  Washburn's Tables can be purchased at most marine supply stores in Anacortes, while Murray's tables is a little harder to find being published in Canada.

Of the two, Murray's tables is the preferred one as it handles the exchanges better with the semi-diurnal tides that we experience.

There is however an ALTERNATIVE -- and best yet, it if FREE and available on-line.  You can find them HERE.  Note that there are both HTML and PDF versions, so if needed you can print them up and keep it on the boat for reference.

PS - don't forget the buoy racing season kickoff meeting and barbeque on Wednesday night, April 20 at 6:30pm at the AYC clubhouse.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Let's go Sailing!

Wednesday, April 20th AYC is hosting a night of sailing, food, and fun. Kevin Welch and Stephanie Schwenk have created an agenda that looks like this:
6:30 Take your boat out and take a friend or neighbor. The idea is to introduce the wonders of Wednesday night sailing to some folks that might be interested. If it's still pouring rain or you don't have a boat you can goto the club where Andy Schwenk will be hosting a presentation on what you need to do to become a successful PHRF racer. With wins @ Swiftsure, Whidbey race week, and PITCH to his credit Andy will answer questions and offer "go fast" tips for the rookie or sailors that haven't raced in a while.
7:30 Strap on the food bag while we fire up the BBQ, burgers with all the fixins....
While you're munching away Steph will do a quick presentation on how to handle cooking duties when it is your turn and Andy will do the same for RC duties.
Come on out one and all join the fun!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tulip Regatta Wrap-Up...

In case you hadn't seen it, here is a recent article about last weekend's Tulip Regatta in Pressure-Drop...

You can check it out here...

PRESSURE DROP ARTICLE

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tulip Update

Who are those Handyman boys? Three races three bullets! , Kymodoce 8 and Syndicat 9..... Three races were sailed, one and two lap W/L for monos, triangles for the cats. Speaking of cats Laser Tag leading the way with Shrek and Barely 18 tied with 8. The SJ-24's are chasing last years winner Ekono Juan with 5, Majic Juan and Merlin have 8. There is a Celebration in B fleet with 6, Surfin Bird 7, and Blackfoot with 8. Vitesse and T-Bear are tied with 7 in A followed by the very brave men aboard Crazy Ivan(you should see their starts!). The Sc-27's are led by the Buggy with 4 Rumpus with 6 and Cookie and Slayer tied with 10. Supposed to be windy today, stand by for more action on the water! Big thanks to Thomas Childs, Dave Thomson, Pam Edwards, Sundholms, Clay Wilcox, Nancy Elliott, Walt Meagher for keeping everyone fed and watered. Even bigger thanks to Jennifer Bowman for donating the painting auctioned for 415.00 to Dr. Chris White $$$ going to junior sailing. The ever smooth Keith White and the Jeff Charles band kept people on the dance floor. Come by this afternoon and cheer for the winners and munch a free chili dog!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Tulip Regatta -- There is time to register...

In case you missed it, the Tulip Regatta is running this weekend with what looks to be a RECORD number of boats -- the weather is going to be sunny & warm with a moderate westerly both days, what more could you ask for, especially when you consider the gorgeous views you will have of Cascades from Fidalgo Bay!

Tempted -- all you have to do is have a PHRF certificate and follow this linky, and then you will be registered for the fun as well...

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Team Emoyeni - Hein Bank ReCap

The day began gray w/ light westerly breeze, perhaps 5-7kn, and another strong ebb push in Guemes channel that boats struggled against. Knowing it would be blowing harder in the straits, (Pangaea starting with a reef & a blade?), we switched out to the #2 headsail prior to the start (thoughts of upshifting to the #2 off the Davidson rock washing machine didn't excite anyone). The uncharacteristically small C fleet was us, Syndicat powered up w/ a full main and genoa, and Hasenpfeffer with her crispy new Ballard Sails storm jib. Variety is the spice of life I guess... Nightrunner was called OCS about 50 times over the VHF, but no hail, phone call, e-mail, smoke signal, or singing telegram could get their attention. Long race to sail for an OCS finish...

Leading C fleet across the start we kept pace to weather of Syndicat, and had Hasenpfeffer sniffing our transom (though grossly underpowered and falling back)... In Rosario Strait you could see the white capped rollers on the horizon; felt pretty good about our decision to go early w/ the #2. Syndicat eventually gained to leeward of us but the waves built from 1-3' chop to 6'-8’ swells... Emoyeni was in the groove while Syndicat appeared overpowered. The Catalina slowed, we assumed they were changing sails but they ended up turning back for A-town; maybe a bottle of rum was mishandled and deposited to Neptune. Hasenpfeffer stuck it out till nearly Smith Isl before bailing due to motion sickness and leaving us the lone C boat still racing.

While the waves were big, the breeze wasn't and the boat was tremendously manageable. Sun broke through on Iceberg Pt as we were beating on port towards Lopez. The sea state had died down to 4' chop, west breeze around 12-15, and the boat was just gliding. Staying north in the strait Deano game-planned to round the Salmon Bank buoy cause it'd make a great layline to G1 and there’s cooler stuff to look at. He was pretty dead on, though we ended up knocked a bit below as a squall came through and the current strengthened.  We were only 25min behind a Hobie 33 at the mark rounding. I’m gonna repeat that, we were only 25min behind a Hobie 33 at the mark rounding!
 
The pressure really came on, literally at the G1 rounding, and swells were back to 6’. We were the only C boat left; Tom and Ryan both battling motion sickness, so we opted to delay our hoist and sail conservatively under whites till the lumps and breeze eased off a bit. Surfing big waves saw us pushing near 10kn at times, averaging a steady 7.5. By Rosario the seas had calmed a bit, the wind had gone SW; felt reasonably comfortable putting up the kite nearby Telegraph Bay. It was a wild hoist as we were greeted w/ nearly 20kn due west out of Lopez pass, putting 10.5kn on the fun meter but blowing us to Allen Isl. After few minutes of trying to tame the kite and we decided to douse and actually sail towards the finish. Went wing-on-wing at Shannon Pt in a dying breeze, crossed the line just after 5pm.

It was a fantastic day of sailing for the crew of Kyle, Becker, Rich, Dean-o, and Tom. Not an epically splashy wet kinda day but we did pull a bucket of green water from the bilge. On the beat out the only time our attention broke from the sea state was when Tom gracefully plummeted through companion way while descending a swell and the boat kind of eased down to catch him gently on the sole, or as gentle as teak can be. He didn't complain. Everyone got helm time, Tom and Rich doing their best Kelly Slater impersonations; their surfing might be described as a bit undisciplined... Officially a 36.94nm race, we likely put over 50nm’s under our keel from start to finish. Nothing broke, and we didn’t do anything terribly boneheaded… might be losing our touch?

Here’s the link to our beat out of Rosario taken by Becker:

Sunday, April 03, 2011

It's a Wrap -- 2011 Hein Bank Race...

The 2011 Ed Knowles Memorial Hein Bank race was run this Saturday with nine (9) boats competing and six (6) finishing due to the lumpy conditions. The race results have been posted and here are the perspectives from three different boats:

C Fleet - Emoyeni
Fun day, weather was better than advertised I thought. Nightrunner was hailed by the RC as being OCS a number of times. Too bad they didn't hear it. Emoyeni's crew of 5 had a great ride, stayed towards lopez, rounded the salmon bank buoy just because it made a great layline for hein, maybe 20-25 min behind the hobie. With two on the boat a bit motion sick and the other C fleet yachts retired we sailed a bit conservatively, soaked up the sun, and put some newbies on the helm for some hot surfing action... very brief kite hoist in rosario, saw 10.5 on the fun meter before the westerly kicked up hard and made for a bit of a lively douse. Finished just after 5pm.

B Fleet - Celebration
Celebration had a great day too. Only 4 on board. Jimmy, Arty, Gord and me. With the exception of me, no one over 165 lbs. Perfect day. Wind dies off Washington park and the Hobie 33 that we saw appear on the horizon from behind ended up passing us. Icon finished about 4 hours so 1"30pm. Night Runner, Pangaea, Hobie 33 and Celebration all crossed a little after 4pm. Perfect day.

A Fleet - Icon
A little lumpy on the way out to the bank near Davidson -- steep seas with a short period making for a bumpy ride. The wind diminished a little at the bank and the ebb turned to a flood knocking things down a little -- managed to do some surfing on the way home hitting 16-17 knots at times. Only saw 4 boats on the way home - don't know what happened to the others, perhaps they bailed given the conditions? We managed to ride the A2 all the way from the bank to the finish with an elapsed time of approximately 4 hours -- not too bad given the bumps on the way out... A fun day but could have been a little warmer!

For those of you that wished you could have been there -- here is a great video taken by Emoyeni that gives you a little idea what the seas were like...

APRIL GENERAL MEETING REMINDER !!!

The AYC April General meeting will be the THIRD Friday of the month (April 15th!!) rather than the usual 2nd Friday due to our Tulip Regatta event next weekend. So plan on spending the evening of 'Tax Day' at the Club.

Chuck Rust has arranged the program....Travis Smith explaining and discussing 'Predicted Log Racing'. Wendy and I, with helpers, are planning a "Ham Extravaganza" meal. Please make reservations...the usual $12/

Tri-Straits II Smith Island Recap - Team Emoyeni

Here is the log from team Emoyeni about Tri-Straits II - Smith Island...

Single digit breeze from the SE with a significant ebb push extended the starting box to nearly the Guemes island ferry landing, racers knowing once they turned down the acceleration would be tremendous and an OCS start would be an easy way to ruin a chance at placing. Wild Rumpus provided the start for 12 sun seeking boats, remarking after the prep flag went down that you’d usually see boats a little closer than a mile away from the line at this time, think there might be some current out here?

All late, but clear, Emoyeni was hanging at the rear of the fleet looking to put a kite up and make up lost ground. We must have forgotten to say our pledge of allegiance that morning given we hoisted a flagging spinnaker; the shackle on the spin sheet still hanging on the upper lifeline. Felt like our best impression of a Cougar football running play, “NO GAIN.”

I’d venture a guess that most boats were taken a bit by surprise when the winds came on above 15kn to a pretty steady 20. Washing machine chaos, flogging mains, bareheaded boats, salty beer, and a retirement by Kinetic Ki ensued. Boats who didn’t hitch south early (Emoyeni & Kymodoce) got a big time west flush, compliments of Deception Pass, another reason it pays to not sleep through geography class. 2 of our crew on the rail had fun punching through the confused seas for about 30 minutes and then realized why cotton is a poor choice for sea fairing attire. Walt Meagher, channeling his inner Dos Equis’ guy from the commercials, conned Jerry into cheerfully driving Syndicat upwind as the lumps got bigger.

Approaching Smith Island we managed to pass Kymodoce, couldn’t find the rest of our fleet or figure out who was doing what… At the rounding we realized were quite a distance behind the Beneteau’s, Syndicat was running down B fleeters, and Kymodoce just off our stern. We cracked off, shook out the reefs, and took a moment or two to collect ourselves. Our strategy, sort-of, was reel in bene’s, sail faster than Kymodoce, and hope that Syndicat had forgotten her chute in the back of someone’s car. Pressure was still pretty strong, flood was kicking in, and with no other C fleet boats under kites it was time for a bold move. Clean hoist, holding steady, grins all around, screaming along at 9kn, yeah baby! The Beneteau’s turned up to avoid being weather rolled while Syndicat and Kymodoce scrambled to hoist their own downwind laundry. By Lawson Reef we were passing Lil’ Annie & Hasenpfeffer and it was clear we had boat speed on the Catalina. At R2 off Green Pt, Syndicat caught a wild shift and had to turn towards Cypress. We decided to douse early and stay closer to fidalgo, sailing a close reach to the finish. Syndicat appeared to be struggling mightily to get to weather of G3 while we were easily on course to the middle of the line. It got really close but we couldn’t catch them, giving us a second 2nd for the series.

What a gorgeous and surprisingly physical day on the water where lots of boats seemed short handed. Fisch, Rich, and Chris managed the headsail trim and reef work, Fisch also moonlighting as the pointy end guru, Kyle kept dry trimming main and kite, while Deano spun the wheel a bunch and pointed us mostly in the right directions. Lots learned, like Fisch and Rich both need better foul weather gear, and Fisch in particular needs a sippy cup.