Sunday, May 30, 2010

This week in Shields 88ing

After what seems like forever, we finally got out to sail 88 in last wednesday's beercan race. There were no other Shields, it was pretty light, but it was great! I've really missed sailing that boat, and we did have another SnS to race against, trying to catch the Teboreks SS50 Challenge. They were definitley in jib/main cruise mode, but they had about 20' on us!

On the 29th we took a Shields 88 "field trip" and sailing our friend Aaron's Etchells for the memorial day regatta. It was really fun, although we didn't do great, we did get a good feel for the boat and improved, with a 5-5-2 scoreline.

Thoughts on the boats: the etchells feels similar to drive upwind, although the sails are a lot more developed so the boat has a super narrow groove upwind, where you're trying to seek out that angle where the inside tells are straight up, but not too high or the luff of the jib starts to go soft. Was kind of 70% on this, but got it pretty well in the last race. Downwind is a little more fun than the Shields in the light, as the boat accelerates better. Niki likes the Shields bow better. Both cool boats, if I lived somewhere where there was no Shields fleet an Etchells would probably fit our style of sailing.

The races were sailing in 4-10kts, light chop. We had this great plan to commit to the right side early, which meant in the first 2 reasons we kept finding reasons to go left! Got in some trouble figuring out the boathandling early, but still felt decent on speed, with one exception. Rick sailed 2 up, at probably around 290lbs crew weight, and was pretty much uncatchable downwind. We were a bit illegal on weight, being somewhere around around 730lbs, which did make us a bit pokey downwind. Still had fun in the last race leading a bit, and the 2nd felt good in that fleet our first time out.

Racing wednesday (I hope) followed by our first series race next sat (as last sat was cancelled due to fog/no wind)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Peanut's in the water!

It's been a tough spring for poor Peanut, as everyones been too busy to take care of the boat. Finally got her in the water yesterday, and can't wait to get out sailing!

If you have a Shields, you probably understand the sheer terror of driving one around, they just don't look like they should be on the road!
This is probably my least favorite part of boat ownership, and I'm lucky to have friends with trucks who will do it for me! Above is Skip Schink towing his gorgeous Defiance yesterday morning. After we launched Defiance I helped his crew rig and tune while he picked up Peanut.

They got stuck in traffic, which makes the whole thing a little more nervewracking as one pictures the boat lodged in the side of a CTA bus, falling off a bridge and other disastrous circumstances.
Once it got there it was pretty smooth to set the boat in the water and get the mast up. Had help from Katie, as well as the Defiance team, and it was pretty painless once the road-time was over.

When we pulled the boat last year, I weighed it on a load cell. This isn't for one design rule reasons, and was more just out of curiousity. In fact, we don't have a weight rule, the only info specs the hull weight at 4600 and the ballast at 3-something k. Adding to that, no one I've talked to is really sure what a Shields, rigged and with hardware, should actually weigh!

Last fall, the boat came in around 5015, which seemed like a lot until I started mentally adding up all the gear, like rig, sails, beercans etc. This spring, after (mostly) draining the deadwood, we were at 4920 in the same trim. I say mostly, because even though I drilled a drain hole last fall, there was still water trickling out this spring. It would be really nice to open up the deadwood and scoop out all that waterlogged poly foam. Perhaps a winter project? We also weighed Skip's boat, and was surprised to see 39 weigh in at 4940. We were both making guesses on the boats, and all figured 39 would be light, as it is a wicked fast light air boat, while 88 tends to go with a little more wind. Guess boat weights off the table for explaining that!

So happy to see the boat in its summer home, and planning to get out soon and test the little changes this winter. Niki and I sat on the boat a bit last night and picked out all the modifications. For a winter in which I planned to not do anything to do the boat, I was surprised to find that I had actually done 16 or so things. Ah well, they're all small!

The rest of the Peanut team has been really busy this spring! Really excited to see members of the crew going out and kicking ass in other venues.

Jacob bought his own boat this spring, a V15, and has really been on fire racing it. I went out the other week to get photos and videos while he won the Vlad regatta.
Jacob and crew Jamie getting one of their many firsts at the Vlad

He may be even more OCD about blogging his sailing than me, and has a great website at Go the Vivondor!

If you've read this blog from the beginning you'll know that Niki started doing bow for 88 2 years ago, and I think she's gotten pretty good. Apparently others agree, as she's been doing bow for Jen Wilsons match racing team in practice this spring. The practice has payed off, as they sailed fantastically at this weekends Chicago Open Invitation match race!
Here's a great shot from Eric Schneider showing the team: Jen Wilson, Sally Barkow, Tod Reynolds, Krista Paxton and Niki up front. They sailed a bunch of great races to make it into the finals, where they faced Jens brother Don! Don prevailed in the end, but it was a great ride to follow via twitter and at the Chicago Match Race Center site. I've known the CMRC team from work, as Chicago Yacht Rigging does their line and hardware, but this summer we'll all be sailing there in addition to the Shields season. Can't wait to get better at starts and rules issues. Heres some more of Eric's pics from the weekend.It was apparently lumpy and kinda cold on the water
Heres the finals, with Don's team of Bill Hardesty (past 88 crew) Hans Pusch and Matt Cassidy. Great job guys!

More updates to come: we're tuning up wed night, and will hopefully get out sailing before Saturdays A series race. It's on!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Proof there is a Shields 88...

But why is it up on blocks???

Niki's out racing in the Chicago Open match race this weekend, which can be followed at CMRC's website. I'll be working all weekend, which is less fun.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Yes, there is a Shields 88...

Sorry! I've been busy at work, busy sailing, and just plain busy, and have let this page slide a bit.

First off, yes we will be sailing the Shields this year. The boats almost ready to go in, but the problem is finding time to launch. It looks like we'll miss the first race, but should be good after that. No huge changes to the boat this year, but will be trying some new tuning and crew setups.

What I (and much of the Peanut team) have been sailing on is the Tom28's at Chicago Match Race Center. I've probably been out 12 times, and all this before the regular sailing season starts! It's been a blast, and is sure to help with Shields sailing, as match racing builds on all the weakness we've got as a team. More later!