Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Peanut goes to the races

Wow,  definitely the busiest spring I've ever had, but we still made it out for the first day of RYF/1D/Wee Boat racing at CYC.  Great time had by most.

First, we did do a few repair/upgrades to 88 this winter.  First (and coolest) we finally have the name on the back, so no more tickets from Westrec (for that anyway).  Also, I really like the way it looks, and it was made by my cousin Paul so it's more work in the family to make it special.  For a while we just had the shape on the transom while setting up the letters, and Andy started calling us the "good ship Catshape" Which would be a fine stupid name for a boat someday.  Also added a couple small tricks, like a piece of Soft Deck material up on the bow for where the pole attacks the deck.  It came as part of a sample from our friends at SD Boatworks out west, it's neat stuff, look it up!   We also added some small stifeners under the deck, as ol' 88 has some flex in the side decks. They were a big bang for the buck upgrade, as the decks feel a lot better when hiking.  A few other things will be highlighted with photos as soon as I have some free time.

First race of the year was great, winds about 8-14kts.  We had Andy on the main,  Craig C on the jib/pit and Niki up front.  Very much chamber of commerce conditions, and it was super satisfying to be out on the water again as this spring has been all-work-all-the-time.

First start was dramatically pooched by me, but we got onto port right away and hit the first shift and crossed everyone, held on for the win.  We had great speed all day with an 08 jib, 09 spin and our brand new main!  I am very much in love with the shape of the main; don't think a sail has ever flown so well out of the box.  Curiously, it has a country code on it, which I think I must have input when we ordered, so we've been rolling around as "USA 88", presumably for the NATO conference in Chicago last weekend.  It's starting to grow on me, so I think we'll keep it!

Second start we nailed the pin extra fast, crossed everyone, finished strong.

Third start was just us and 196, so we played around with some match racing moves in the prestart.  If it's ever the 2 of us again, we should probably discuss how to handle pens, as we had them lined up a few times and didn't really feel like pulling the trigger.  I think maybe little "shields-only" flags or something, which then get settled at the bar after?  Anyway, they led off the start, and we were doing ok living on their hip until I got "experimental" which quickly saw us spat out the back. They led to the ww mark, and we  finally got on their air towards the end of the run, and I was feeling pretty good about getting around them as we split gate marks, but then.... 

Guess we've been pretty lucky to never drop the kite in the water in 4 years, but I think we made up for it Saturday!  Took a few minutes to clean up, and by then it was follow the leader around the course.  They nailed a really nice win with minutes to spare, so go 196!

Great day out there,  can't wait to do it again.

Wed night was nice, as we went out for some practice, getting people used to their new roles on the boat. Andy and I got in a good rhythm downwind on gybes and transitions for the spin, and we did some boathandling practice and I think our light air tacks are as good as they've ever been. 

The best part for me was at the end we had Jacob run some timing drills for me.  He'd announce 2 minutes, and the goal was to upwind on starboard next to the pin. First time was ok, and I was .5 lengths to leeward and about 4 seconds late.  Second time really identified one of my issues at starting, as we were both late and slow. Jacob gave me some good notes on it, and then the next one was full upwind speed+a ltitle extra from the reach in, on time, and close enough for Niki to almost slap the red buoy.  Great drill, and really productive hour on the water!  After that it was back to work!  Really looking forward to Mac week...

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