Rick, I just thought I would
write some of my impressions and memories of a spectacular week of
racing. Feel free to pass them on.
Edit as needed, days at the beginning are a
blur...I might have mixed up day with wild spinnaker .
First and formost were
all the great people we met, starting with the crew and skipper of Aqualicious, Brinehog and Flying
Circus and all the Kincardine Yacht Club
Sailors. They became fast friends over the week,
and hopefully some long term friendships were started between the
Day One, Collingwood to Christian Island; Hmmmm
need to figure out reaching starts, committee end is a bad place to
be, but a quick circle took us out of harms way, and the adrenaline
was going. I thought this was supposed to be a
light wind, fun regatta, but these guy's are serious racers. Every
boat has plastic sails, Mylar and Kevlar as far as the eye can see. Up
goes the 3/4 oz chute, and away we go....we only
used the light spinnaker once all week, it blew over 20 knots every
day. Anchor in the lee of ChristianIsland, blow up the dingy, and head
in to the beach for a BBQ. Lamb chops over a wood fire are awesome.
Met more of the fleet, and a relatively
early evening .
to 12 Mile Bay. Another great day of
reaching, a little close at times, with a few "
round-up's" but no broaches. We learned how to dump the chute,
fast when needed, and Norma learned that a major spinnaker dump requires a lot of grinding afterwards. This was the day
we ended up with an over-ride in the spin-sheet and the self tailed guy at the same time....in 18+ knots of wind.
Adrenaline is a great strength enhancer, and I was able to pull out the guy
over-ride, and also get the spin sheet pulled back to help get that override
out. We sailed up to , and around Black
Rock, as the race committee could not get up to set the turning mark in
time. While Rick was trying to get the chart plotter to work, depth went
from 120' to 15....so tack, then wait till the
other boat goes round the rock and follow. Turns out they had no idea either,
but following seemed safer. Then head for
a very rocky shore. The finish line was tucked right against the shore, but I just kept steering for where the lead boats had
disappeared, and found it. On the way, we covered Aqualicious
to a pass, but the 28 seconds we beat them by were not enough. We
then all milled around waiting for someone to
lead us in to the anchorage at 12 Mile Bay. Through a very
narrow passage, well marked with navbouys, then up this long narrow inlet. The
boat in the lead, who knew the way, suddenly
turned hard to starboard, and headed in to the rocks. I followed, the 4th
in the train, going exactly where they went, through an un-marked 30 foot
wide gap between the rocks ( Rick came up from navigation chores, and I thought
his eyes were going to pop, then he steered ). The anchorage opened up to
the most spectacular spot, large enough all 27 racers, 2 committee boats and a
few boats who were already there. We had lost our top
two battens, so I swam over to Brinehog and borrowed
the batten from their sun shade, which we cut to fit our pockets. It was too
stiff, but better than no battens at all.
Swimming from boat to boat is how you socialize at anchor,
and the standard is to offer a beer and a towel to swimmers. We
didn't have so much beer, but we had lots of rum.....no one seemed to mind.
Day Three, 12 Mile to Midland.
Another great day's sailing, with a bit of a
rocky start for Norma ( who may never drink rum again). This was our
throw out, let just cruise day, as we sailed into a hole, then
stopped there for half an hour while everyone sailed around us.
Eventually we just tacked and sailed all of 100 meters out to the wind line, tacked again then finished the race. We had a
great spinnaker reach into the bay where Midland
is, and Tom was grinning from ear to ear flying the chute and we zoomed
along. We saw some boats have a really hard time with the tight
take-down ( read major broaching going on) but we kept control, and
more important, got it down fast when the wind shifted and picked up.
Gusty shifty north west
winds made things interesting. Sue met us in Midland, Pizza party in a storage hanger, and Birthday Cake
and Champagne at the boat after.
Day Four,Midland to BeckwithIsland. I guess north winds
are shifty everywhere. We had to sail out from Midland
bay, and it became obvious that with 20 degree shifts going on, we needed to tack often. I
took over the helm, while Rick did the grinding on the many tacks we
did. We kept up well this way, and had one of our good results.
Local knowledge seemed to favour the shore, so that's where we went, and it
worked. Eventually we turned and had
a really long white sail reach over to Beckwith....hours of constant
trimming ( remember that 20 degree shift thing). Norma and Sue did a
great job, trimming the big genoa,
while I played the main. The anchorage at Beckwith had a strange
reflected bounce, at 90 degrees from the wind, making
for a rocky night, but we were nice and close to the next days
start ( who ever thought was a good time to start sequence should have been shot ).
Day Five, Around Beckwith, Around Hope Island,
down to Christian. An interesting day of close
island navigation and playing the shifts. We finally started to
get the hang of the fleet ( follow Sandpiper,
they know where to go) , and I finally figured out the chart plotter
and computer navigation. The race was short, so we were finished by ( as we were most
days ). Early finishes can lead to long parties. We finished the race, downed the sails, turned on the
Beach Boy's CD, loud and danced, much to the amusement of the fleet. We
anchored back in the lee of ChristianIsland, and
then had the afternoon ahead of us. Sue and Norma swam over to the beach
for a walk, while I swam down wind to go
visiting ( Rick was reading email). It was a long swim, but once I
got there, I visited with all of the boats from Kincardine, getting vodka coolers or water from each one ,
standing in the sun to warm up, then jumping in the water to cool off...repeat
as needed. Eventually Rick came visiting
too, but the wind had shifted, so he had a long swim up wind ( I guess I picked
the wind shift better that day). After more visiting, we had said our
good-byes and headed back, when here comes the dingy with Sue and Norma, in pirate gear to board Brinehog.
They captured some crew, and eventually headed back to Dragon for shrimp on the BBQ. People kept arriving all
evening, eventually there were 12 people on the
boat, dancing away, and singing along. Yet
another bottle of rum, and stars from horizon to horizon....one of my favorite
memories of the week.
to Meaford. Longest race of the week, but great winds. We nailed the reaching start, taking the lowest position, reach up the line then
turn down and start. Spinnakers up right after the start, Sandpiper's went up sideways. Tight reach,
getting tighter, so down comes the chute, and it's a
fetch over to Meaford, in big waves and great wind.
We stayed high, as the forecast was for the wind to go north
, and eventually it shifted enough to put the chute up. We were in
a great spot, a little higher than our
competitors, and really more able to carry close than they were, eventually
surfing down on the leaders. We tied with the Abbot 33 for 2nd that day, our
best finish all week. Meaford is a great harbour, with
excellent showers and laundry , Matt, the 15 year old punk who
raced on Brinehog had a funny story about having to
bath under the bath-tub type spout after he hung his back-pack over the
directions for turning it into a shower. It was typical Matt, and we
laughed so hard. The Local rotary club put on a fish fry that night in a
pavilion not far from the harbour, which was great,
plenty of food, lots of people from the town. The long week of racing is
starting to be felt in every muscle, and after the race I was totally exhausted. A nap helped to bring my energy
back, and all the great food helped too.
Day Seven, Meaford to Thornbury.
The only day of light wind all week, we stalled
in a hole during maneuvers before the start, ended up starting 14 minutes
late. The race was shortened outside Thornburyharbour,
needless to say our result was less than spectacular. In to the harbour, and I guess our party reputation had
proceeded us, they radioed us a change in our place as they put us in
isolation over with Brinehog, away from the
rest of the fleet. It was actually great for the change over, as we could
park the car right beside the boat. The only draw-back was the 3 ft climb
up to the dock. Final banquet and prize giving at a local restaurant,
and lots of hugs and exchanging email and phone numbers, and invites to
come back next year. It was by far the most fun I have had at a regatta, and if I can get back, I'll be there again next year.