Monday, August 30, 2010

Verve Win

We won the Verve with a 1 1 1 2 2 1

Great sailing weather, and lots of fun. The mixed fleets made for tough going, especially in the light air. Race 1 of sunday saw about 30 boats stack up at the single leeward mark!

Got lots of good start practice in, and feel very good re staring at Nationals.

Lots of new media stuff: we tracked 5 of the races, and Bam brought his GoPro HD video cam and stuck it to the back of the boat. THe videos are long, but kinda cool. Once I figure out how to edit them down to show highlights I'll post here.
A Start

A Tack
post set

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Verve Day 1

Day 1 of the Verve Inshore was the rare and perfect combination of steady strong breeze and pleasant sailing. The 54 one designs out sailing today experienced 8-15kts of breeze out of the southwest, with just a small chop. It was sunny and bright all day.

The race committee announced the intention to start 4 races, and they did a superb job of keeping the wait times low and the racing fast.

It was a boat speed day, as keeping speed up and powering through the short chop meant a win. Over the course of the day the breeze slowly turned left, which put a premium on being able to get to the favored left side.

The day ended with the fleet arriving en masse into Belmont harbor, and it was quite a sight as the local and visiting boats converged on the docks, as the race was on to make it to the party!


On Shields 88 we pulled 3 bullets in a row, which was due mostly to excellent crew work and spending a lot of time on tune. Race 4 we were OCS, but managed to claw back to a 2nd. The first 2 races we were at 800/200 upper/lower tension, but we added a turn on the lowers for 3 and 4. Our headstay was at 49.5, which we gradually shortened to about 48.75 Speed and height were great. We have a large upwind speed advantage, and a small edge downwind. I felt like we got really good starts (except that one...) and it was great practice for Nationals, as we won the boat in 3/4 starts.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Verve Pregame Wrapup

Around here you can tell the Verve Inshore is coming up when Chicago starts receiving some decent sailing conditions! Our one-design sailing season has consisted mostly of hot and light air, but once the tail end of August comes around the breeze usually picks up as the temps and humidity go down.

This year looks like no exception, as the last marine forecasts for both days are calling for a the pleasant upper 70's and 10-15kts out of the southwest. This is significantly nicer than the 3kts and 90degrees it seems like have showed up for all our other races. It would only be polite to have good breeze, as we have lots of guests from out of town in the J24 and Soling fleets. It's always fun sharing a course with unfamiliar boats, and every year we have some new or returning fleets.

The Rhodes 19 fleet is strong with 16boats who made the long and arduous journey from Montrose harbor. From more local waters we've got 11 Etchells, 6 Luders 16s and 6 Shields. Our aforementioned out of town friends are mostly in the J24s (6) and Solings (8).
Shields 88 will be enjoying its 3rd Verve cup, hopefully repeating previous years... This is a fun regatta for us, as my friend Bam Miller comes in from Oyster Bay NY for this. We'll also have regulars Jacob and Katie aboard. The boat will be going to Shields Nationals next month, so we're thrilled to be getting in as many starts and races as possible, although our cherry sails have been given a break for the rest of the Chicago season.

We will be tracking the races on GPS, hopefully along with 196, and will have some data to share later!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

beercan 8-25 video

Another 88 beercan, caught on video. No actual tune or sail trim info, mostly us drinking beer and scaring the birds at the pumping station.

It was about 18kts NE, nice big waves. 150 was out with Gabe K at the helm. The RC was asking if we wanted a mark set, but going to the crib sounded fast and fun, if a bit untactical (start on port, tack, return on stbd)

Nice night! As much as I love intense buoy racing, some of the best times on 88 are the easy sails.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hot week

Couple days of really difficult weather in Chicago. Glad the racing has been worth it, as it's been brutal to be outside with the high temps and humidity.

Wednesday was a rough day at work with the heat, and I was really looking forward to sailing. It seemed like the elusive Shields 150 was going to make an appearance, as they were at the dock cleaning and rigging. It's been a while since they've been out and the fleet is better off with them.
150 with the family big-boat in the background
On 88 we had me, Niki, Jacob, Katie, Mick (remember Mick? He helped 88 launch oh so many years ago) and Micks son Patrick. It was about 4-7kts out of the NNW.

Weierd downwind start saw us on starboard with a chute, behind 150 with no chute. We worked on them a bit downwind and rounded barely ahead, and exteneded on the next upwind. Apparently I was unpopular as a driver, as Patrick (age 13) relieved me at the helm, and continued to extend by quite a bit for a win. We had dinner plans so had to take off.

Today was 88's final series race of 2010 (sad!) but we did well.

First race was probably the most painful race ever, as it was sailed in around 3kts with air show traffic chop. I started badly, at the boat but about 15 seconds late. We got right of people, and looked to be ok until all of a sudden we caught up to the etchells fleet, who made life rather difficult, as we had to duck 3 etchells in a row, and went from looking good to being quite deep. It was an interesting downwind, where patience and control paid dividends. We caught up to the leaders, and rounded 150, 249, 130, 88, 39. Tried our best on the upwind, and were in 3rd. On the downwind we gybed early to attack 150, planted a couple on them and looked to be passing before splitting. They went left, we went right, which was pretty dead on the mark, feeling like it was going to pay with 150, but that we probably lost the right side boat, 249. We sailing into a surprise lane of pressure, while they got caught out in the light stuff left. We rode the pressue, trying to stay ahead of them, and distantly hoping to catch 249 who'd gone all the way right but seemed to have the same breeze as us. We gybed on their layline, a couple lengths ahead for the win. I can't recall a more intense (or slow) race in all our years of Peanuting. Probably the high point was the finish which was lots of hard work and some good luck. The low point was definitely sailing with the Etchells, as we got slam dunked hard by one for no reason, and while sailing upwind we had to go head to wind to avoid a couple of windward boats. Ouch guys! The Etchells fleet is notoriously rules/incident driving, but are apparently blind to colored boats... In all fairness the two KC boats we had to avoid were quite kind and embarrassed afterwards, but that could have turned out badly!

Second race we had Jacob drive, and it was mostly a match race with 130 from the start. They were just to windward of us from the beginning, and it was a battle with a couple lead changes. We thought we had them after they leebowed us with not quite enough lead, but the patience of the father-son team ground us out and we followed until the very end of the last leg. We were outside on starboard, they were inside; even with about 5 lengths of lateral seperation. We were working hard on keeping speed on, but eventually had to gybe for the finish, and had a loose plan to duck them and try and roll. Instead the gybed with us, and we were able to shoot ahead for the win. Again we had problems with a non-shields, in this case it was a TTen who sailed over and sat on us. Argh.

One of the many many boats not racing us that nevertheless liked being as close to us as possible.

Boat setup was in our light air range. The forecast for more breeze, and we originally had 5 ppl scheduled, so I'd set the boat up for lots of power. This worked ok, as we had less breeze, but only 4 crew, totalling around 610. We started with lowers around 200, but for the second race eased to slack. Headstay started around 49, but eased further again. The first race felt good, we were reasonably quick but tended towards a low and fast mode. Second race I didn't drive, but since the breeze came up to around 10, I felt like we were stuck in a high mode and couldn't accelerate quite as well. When I'd try and straighten the headstay with backstay, it would over flatten the main a bit.

We've got a lock on the season, which is good since we can't sail the last 2 series races due to Nationals. We currently have 12pts, where second (tie with 249 and 196) have 30. Really getting excited for Nationals, as we feel like we've got a new light air set of gears which was lacking last year. Wish we had more racing in Chicago, as this years felt abbreviated from weather. We had a nice little dinner at CYC after racing to close it all out. Already looking forward to 2011!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Racing 8-7

Another good day for the Peanut, with a 1-1

Best sailing weather so far, with about 6-15kts out of the WSW. Had Andy H on main, Jacob on jib, Katie on pit and Niki up front.

We had decent starts, and focused on different modes of speed. One thing we played around with today was building speed or height before working on boats next to us. At one point we a bit behind and to windward of a boat, and worked high for a bit, with soft backstay and tight sheets, before bearing off to first prevent their tack at us, then roll over the top with a good fast forward mode. We did the opposite at a start, where we were the sandwiched between 2 boats at a start. First we did some speed building in a fast/normal mode, and once we had a bit of speed to burn sagged the headstay and climbed through the boat to windward. I think modes like that are going to be really important at crowded start lines at Nats, and it's nice to be able to deal with nearby traffic.

First race we got off the line near the pin, and were able to pick up enough speed on the first beat to control and round first. We had great communication today on pressure and other boats, so I could focus on speed and strategy. The team did a great job finding breeze, and we were able to execute the plan of always being in breeze, with competition outside it. I found angles were less important than pressure today, and good chat made it possible to be in the good stuff.

Second start we had 130 (normally a footing boat) to leeward and 249 (normally a pointy boat) to windward. This gave us time to try modes. I pulled the trigger a bit late so we had to go quickly to do well in the first third of the beat, so first we put the bow down with 130, and were able to climb over the top of them. This was great until we looked to windward and realized that 249 had gone from even and 1 length to windard to 1 length back and 5 lengths to windward! With plenty of speed though, we could burn that into height, again with softer backstay, and climb up and through that line until we were free to tack.

This was the most breeze we've had in a while (depressing!) and there were lots of boathandling errors in the fleet. We tried to keep roundings and manouvers simple, which always makes it easy on the crew. Everyone did a really nice job, and I feel we're sailing at the highest level of speed and communication ever. Working on carrying this into Nationals, and really looking forward to it.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The non-beercan 8-4

I was really excited for sailing yesterday, as the 130 guys were coming back out to play, but I may have been the only one... There was a bit of a conference call between Niki and Steve S where it was decided that despite the rain, lightning and lack of wind we were going to go to CYC anyway.

When we got there there was good and bad news: the good in that Gabe K was going to sail 150 for a whopping 3 boat total, the bad in that there was zero breeze. The RC called it off, so we went to the fantail to consider the prospect of sailing anyway. There was a great 2kt puff for a while, but that faded and we decided drinking beer was the best use of our time. Eventually Skip Schink motored by in his 36.7, and the group hopped aboard for a motor down to Navy Pier and back. This was quite fun, and crowded with Shields sailors from 88. 130, ex90, 39, 249 and 126. A good way to roll with the forecast.

Saturday racing again this week, which is quite sadly the second to last day of Chicago Shields series racing for us. The good news is that while we'll be missing a race day, it's because we'll be sailing 88 at Nationals in Mystic. Yeehaw! Looks like 3 Chicago boats are going, with 30 entries rumored.

The pregame wrapup. Note Challenge SS50 in background, the Teborek family boat that got 1st in section and 5th overall in the Chi-Mac.
The view did not suck
Jacob, Katie, Matt, Steve and Niki
Skip, Tim, Rob
our helmsman was not able to see over the crowd, and was steering by compass. He did a fine job , especially considering the multiple "you see that boat/jetski/city, right?" calls he was receiving