04/20/2014, San Francisco Bay/Pacific Ocean
2014 Fully Crewed Lightship Regatta.
I met Truls for the race early at Berkeley Marina on the F27 Raven. The rig was up already so we just had to put her in the water. Even though this was a full crew race we were double handing as no other crew were available due to the holiday weekend. We got in the water and unfolded the amas and got the jib on and furled.
We started the motor and began the long ride out to the start area. While we motored we got the screecher and spin rigged with the auto pilot on. With the downwind sails all on, we then raised the main and sailed into the race area. Truls chose to keep a reef in the main as the wind in the bay was in the upper teens and lower 20's. Truls checked in with race committee and we were ready to go. We reached back and forth while the first few classes went off then we were ready for our start.
There were only 2 multihulls racing and we lined up with the Corsair 37 and we both hit the line and took off on port tack to the Golden Gate Bridge. We were a few boat lengths behind and tacked back to Starboard. We took the last of the ebb tide along the north shore, and tacked as we hit the tide line. The wind had backed off a little and we shook out the reef. The extra power gave us an extra couple knots and we gained some ground on the 37.
We kept picking up monohulls as we went up and were trying to find the best tidal relief as the tide went from an ebb to slack to a flood. Out in the open Pacific the short chop of the Bay was replaced by large rollers. We were sailing well and the boat was making good time to the Lightship mark. We chose to go out to the left and come into the mark on port. We gave up some time on this strategy but were still in the running about 10 minutes behind the 37. We were coming in to the mark and I began to undo the straps on the spin. We rounded the mark and as Truls eased the jib I hoisted the spin and we were going back to the Golden Gate Bridge.
With the kite all the way up I started to lift the sock on the snuffer. We soon found out the snuffer line and sheets were fouled. With Truls driving deep I was able to get the sheet free and re rig it to the stern block. We were driving hard down to make up some ground and we drove the bows down. We got the sheets eased and turned down and saved it. However we did lose the lazy sheet and it got pulled around the bow and was trailing behind the boat. I had to go back out on the net and pull the sheet back up. Then a quick trip around the bow and we were ready for the gibe. We gibed with no real problems and kept a more conservative angle after the stuff on the previous run. After another gibe and with the wind down a little we began to sail a higher angle with more speed. Truls and I were starting to gel with the team work on the spin and helm and we were sitting in the high teens on boat speed.
With the flood tide we were making good progress back to the gate. We were on Starboard run and chose to go close to mile rock to make sure we were clear of the tanker leaving the bay. We gibed again and as we went under the Golden Gate Bridge the clipper round the world fleet was tacking out of the bay. We went inside the first 2 then gibed to head to St Francis Y.C.. We had to cross the front of 2 more of the clipper. Then we had a clean lane to finish the race. We crossed the line and got the finish gun.
The race over we were looking for a nice casual ride home then all heck broke loose. The Spin separated from the top of the mast and we ran it over. This caused it to go back around the rudder and spin us in the direction of the break wall. I was working to get the spin back on the net and Truls was working to get the boat back into the wind. I got half the kite up and had to go forward to release the tack line since the sail was completely under the ama. With the tack line free I got the sail completely back on board and we managed to save the sock and snuffer and the sail only got a small rip on the shroud pin. We now had to get the boat sailing again as we were drifting dangerously close to the break wall. We managed to get the boat in the right direction after a couple of tries and got the boat into safe water. We turned down and then noticed the pole was in the water with the screecher attached. I went to the bow and Truls got us head to wind again and we secured what was left of the pole.
With just main and jib we made our way back to Berkeley Marina. Somehow in the commotion we had broken the cleat that holds the center board in place off. The main cleat was damaged and had pulled out on one side. The connector pin had sheared off the bow sprit. The lines that hold the pole were completely sheared. We also had the small hole in the spin. We were both ok and considering everything that happened all at once it could have been even worse. We sailed back and then dropped the sails and motored into the harbor. We got the sails all put away and then folded the amas and put Raven back on the trailer. Truls was working to finish the boat but even though I offered to help he said he would handle it. I thanked him for the ride and the day was done.
04/14/2014, San Francisco Bay
2014 Resin Regatta
Daisy and I met up with Ron, Oliver, and Matt to race on Express 27 Abigail Morgan #18394. We were filling in for a couple missing crew and taking the weekend for some new racing experience.
We sailed out of the Corinthian Yacht Club and began the run to the Berkeley circle area. We got out to the channel and hoisted the kite for some crew training on the way out. We sailed in the end of the flood tide and building wind. After several gibes we were in the race area and decided to put the # 1 up to test the upwind settings. We were a bit over powered and decided to turn back down and we dropped the #1 for the #3.
We got ready to start and got caught in a bad spot and came off the line mid pack. We drove the boat to wind and we were doing good and worked up to third going up. The downwind we leg we held the position and turned the gate. The second upwind leg we again held third but the fleet was tight. The downwind we were in a tight battle for the spot but lost the spot. We ended up fourth by less than a boat length.
The second race the wind was full and we set off on the upwind. We had a better start and were driving upwind in fourth. The crew work on the boat was much better and we were sailing more like a team. We managed to get to the upwind mark in good position. Downwind we stayed right and it payed in picking up a spot. The second lap saw us maintain position and coming to the finish in third.
The third race was late getting off due to a general recall. One of the boats didn't come back so they missed the heavy wind race. The wind was in the 20's and gusting into the mid to upper 20's on a regular basis. Upwind we were in a solid third and looking to take second. We missed our call at the lay line and had to put in 2 quick tacks near the mark. We rounded in third and set the kite. Running down was a quick run with the kite full and boat speed up. As we neared the gate we were forced up by another boat and rounded up. Daisy was knocked off the boat but managed to grab the life line. We fought to get her back on board then had to finish the gibe and hit the gate. We lost a spot in all the commotion but were still in the race.
The upwind leg we were closing on the other boats but had an incident when Daisy lost her footing in a tack went over the leeward rail. We got her back on board and got the boat back on the upwind drive. We had dropped to 3rd or 4th and the rest of the race was sailed in higher winds but no more problems. We finished in 4th and began the ride home. With a full day of racing in we headed back to CYC and put the boat away for the night. Tomorrow we set out again for another day of racing.
Sunday morning the wind was lighter and we sailed part way to the ace then had to motor through a dead area to get there. We got the motor put away and set the #1. We waited for the start and saw the race committee set a short race with a single upwind leg and a run to the finish. We set up and got a nice start which put us in a good spot. Our second tack we got an override on the winch it cost a couple boat lengths but we still had a shot at the leader. We were working up to the mark when there was an issue in front of us. There was a port / starboard crossing situation with contact made in front of us. One boat spun and was going to hit us so we had to tack off. This cost us 2 positions at the mark but we recovered one of them back. We set the kite and got downwind in the third spot.
The second race the wind was starting to build but we kept the #1 on the foil. We got a good start and were battling for the lead upwind. We hit the windward mark third and close to the lead. Downwind we were still in third and the wind was filling. We chose to make a headsail change and put the #1 down and the #3 on the foil. We drove upwind the second time and we made a gain on the front boats. Getting a good lift we were right on the second place boat at the mark. Downwind we sailed very well and picked up second position. We rounded in second and were making our way to the upwind finish. We got into a tacking duel with the third place boat and just at the last tack they were edging in front of us. At the line we were a couple feet behind them.
The regatta was done and we made our way back to the CYC. We put the boat at the dock and got ready to hoist out. Once the boat was ready we hoisted onto the trailer and rolled it back into the spot. We then went to the SFYC for the awards ceremony and drinks. We were third for the weekend and took home a nice trophy. Congratulations to all who sailed and thanks to the San Francisco Yacht Club for a great event. Thanks also to the Crew of Abigail Morgan for having us and putting up with our mistakes learning a new boat.
03/11/2014, St. Francis Yacht Club
Spring Dinghy Regatta 2014
The San Francisco Formula 18 fleet season opener was held at the St. Francis Yacht Club Spring Dinghy Regatta. Some boats arrived Friday and some rolled in Saturday morning. We were welcomed by the harbor master and told where to set up and store our boats. There was a coffee service held in the bar area if you needed a start up. We got the boats rigged and out on the designated dock to wait for the wind.
We sat dressed out and waiting for the wind to fill from the West. People lounged on the boats or on the dock. We shared tuning tricks and just relaxed. At one point we were called seals as we congregated at the end of the pier. Just after 2 PM the wind shifted and began to fill. Gear went on and boats launched on our way to use the light west wind.
Seven F18's lined up for the first start. The wind was maybe 10 knots with a light chop on the water and we took off toward the city front. Cherie tacked off first and found some relief and a nice lift up the first leg. The next two boats went a little while later followed by the final boats to tack. There was 3 separate packs going upwind and at the top mark we were all close. Phil and Charles were the first two boats around and took the lead positions. Cherie was third to the mark and Ben was fourth then me followed by Alan and finally Frank.
The downwind run saw the positions stay the same with a nice 12 knot breeze pushing the boats downwind. We made our way down to the gate and turned upwind to the next mark. We took the right side of the course and dropped a position. We were pushing the Capricorn down as hard as we could, to real back Evil Octopus back in. Half way down the run we had the position and with a little battle we rolled over them and had the spot. We held on to the finish and took 5th. Phil won, Charles took 2nd, Cherie in 3rd , Ben in 4th , Me in 5th, Alan in 6th, and Frank in 7th.
The second race started and the wind had lightened some but we took off in a nice single trap. Ben tried a Port start on the fleet but didn't clear and caused some quick maneuvers to avoid serious glass work. We had to pick through holes and shifts to get up to the top mark. Again the fleet ended up in 3 groups. Charles then Phil at the top followed by Ben and Cherie, Then Alan Me and Frank at the back. The wind was dropping and first 4 boats made the mark, the last 3 had problems. We were sailing against a strong flood in lightening wind. My fourth try at the mark I hit it and had to go back around. This cost me a huge chunk of ground and I lost touch with the front of the fleet, and got passed by Alan on Evil Octopus.
We got around the mark and began to claw back some ground. We were right behind Evil Octopus as we made our way back down. With the wind going light it was really important to get the most out of the wind when it was there. We rounded the gate and followed Alan to the top mark. We didn't see Frank and figured we were match racing for 5th place. After a couple tacks we made the top mark easier this time thanks to a slight lift and good wind at about 10 knots. Turning the mark we got the kite up and set out on a long Starboard downwind run. I called the gybe perfectly and we were able to hold the hull up and not be overpowered too much. We passed Evil Octopus just before the finish as they had to luff the kite. It was a close race and we put the kite down and began to go back to the St. Francis Yacht Club.
We put the boats in the slip for the night and dropped sails. We all got cleaned up and made our way to the main bar area for the dinner. There was complimentary beer and water served. Chicken and Beef Fajitas were the main course served with beans rice and all the trimmings. We said our good nights and went home.
Sunday we got to the club and there was another coffee and tea serving available. We got our boat turned around and ready to go. Everyone was a little more reluctant to dress out as the forecast did not look promising. After hours of waiting and talking and socializing race committee made the call to cancel. We put the boats away and went in for the meal and trophy presentation. Lasagna both meat and vegetable were served with garlic bread, and beer and wine were also available if you choose.
The awards were nice Zippo lighters with Spring Dinghy Regatta 2014 on them. With 10 classes and over 100 boats it was a well attended regatta and ran very well. Charles and Jim won the regatta with a 2 and a 1. Phillip and Erwan finished 2nd with a 1 and a 2. Ben and Ben finished 3rd with a 4 and a 3. Cherie and Greg Finished Fourth with a 3 and a 4. Daisy and I finished 5th with 2 5's. Alan and Nick finished 6th with 2 6's. Frank and Brian finished 7th with a 7 and a DNF. Dan and Alex didn't make it and tied for 8th and 9th.
Thanks to the St. Francis Yacht Club for an awesome event. Thanks to Dafna Brown for the great photos. Thanks to all the competitors for a wonderful time on the water.
01/10/2014, Redwood City, Ca.
First Wednesday 2014
I got to Redwood City early and got some little things changed on the boat. The Capricorn got some new trap lines and a halyard upgrade. I caught the old halyard and cut the cover so I needed to get the new one up the mast. With all the little things done I got the boat ready and waited for the people I was sailing with to show up.
There were four boats scheduled to sail and take advantage of the nice conditions. One of the F18s couldn't make it but the I14 made the fourth. Aurora the new Infusion, High Wire the Wildcat, and Capricorn took to the water for some practice and fun. Ben and Evelyn were sailing with me. Ben has experience sailing the F18 as crew but Evelyn is a rookie on the boat.
We got the boat down the dock and put the sail up. Got the main too high and hooked up and had to flip it to get it down. After that little fiasco we took to the water. A short course was set in the basin and we did practice starts with an upwind and a spin run down to the start finish. These were short couple minute legs that put an emphasis on boat handling and making proper choices. We were slower than the other 2 boats but with 3 people on the boat we were sailing at close to 600 lbs on the boat.
We managed to teach Evelyn to hoist and sheet the spin. We were switching spots on the boat and Ben took over the helm. I shared the spot on the front with Evelyn and we finished out the day. The wind was about 9 with a gust to about 12 sometimes. We hit speeds in the upper 16s downwind and were getting 12 and 13 upwind.
After a quick wash down we put the boat back on the trailer and all the covers on. The first sail of 2014 done and the boat was awesome. Made some new friends and got some new exposure for the class.
The year of 2013 started for me in El Nido, Philippines. I was finishing a training program at a resort there and spending the week sailing with my wife in paradise.
After returning home I was finishing the search for a new boat to compete with for the season. After much research and trial I chose the new PSA Capricorn F18 as my new boat. With some help from the people in Australia we got the boat ordered and went about selling my old boat.
We finally got the Tiger sold to Lester and with that the garage was empty for the first time since 2000. We ordered a trailer from Surf City Catamarans, and storage boxes from Velocity Sailing. We set it up for multi stacking and distance traveling. We got the trailer and boxes set and waited for the boat.
The boat arrived and Phillip Meredith helped me pick it up and start assembly. There was some shipping damage that had to be repaired but with Craig at Elkhorn Composites it was taken care of. A new mast soon followed and we started the setup and tuning again.
We were deep in the season and had lost a couple major regattas we wanted to do but such is the price when you start something new. Daisy and I got to sail her at Redwood City, but a failed tie job on the jib caused it to fall. I sailed with James Orkin at the Americas' Cup Open F18 event. To just be on the water with those boats was a treat.
Another short day on Redwood City sailing then I had to take time for the move and family matters so the boat had to stay dry for a while. With the move to the new house and Amy's wedding done it was time to sail again. We got the boat ready and I got a nice light wind day in with Phillip preparing for the Americas Championship.
Then it was time to do some miles. I loaded the Capricorn F18 on the trailer and added a C2 for Eric to go to the 2013 Americas Championship. Dad flew out to drive the drive with me cross country. With 3 days on the road we made Ohio and I had to drop the truck off for some repairs. We got the truck back in time and made it to Sarasota Florida and got everything together to race. Phillip and I measured in and weighed in and after a practice day we felt good with the boat and were ready to start racing.
Day one of racing we were toward the back but had good speed. The extra 100 pounds we were carrying was hurting in the light but it was still a good day. Day 2 saw us in big wind but unfortunately we cracked a rudder head and had a problem with the steering the rest of the week but could never find the problem. We finished the regatta at the back of the pack but not a bad week for the first true race we raced on the boat.
Returning home after almost a month on the road it was good to be home and after a good night sleep we dropped off the Nacra we hauled back for Mikey at Surf City Catamarans. The boat was returned back to Redwood City and we began the debrief with the builder and designer of the boat about our problems at the race. All my little problems were taken care of and we retuned the boat.
I sailed the boat with Michael Butler and he really enjoyed it. We have now had a few weeks of high pressure preventing and good wind for sailing. The boat is upgraded and sailing really well. I am very happy with it.
Now I'm getting ready to demo the boat again this week and it looks like promising conditions. Here is to another year of adventures and good time with good friends and family.
11/01/2013, Sarasota Florida
2013 F18 Americas' Championship
We picked up the trailer with 2 boats on it at Redwood City. I was doing the cross country drive with my dad from Redwood City California to Sarasota Florida. We took the 2 boats to Fairfield for the night and after a good dinner we went to sleep. The next morning after some breakfast we were off. Leaving we noticed some hesitation on the truck but it cleared up and we kept driving.
We got about 300 miles into the trip heading East on I-80 and needed to stop for fuel and food. A nice little truck stop in Nevada and the tank was full and we had a sandwich to go. We swapped drivers and went to run another tank of fuel down. Another stop later in the day and we swapped again. Then after the 3rd leg we stopped for the night and got a hotel to crash at in Utah.
After breakfast we did the same thing again. Doing about 300 miles a run and 3 runs a day we were getting east. The third day of travel the truck was really beginning to show signs of problems and I knew it needed some attention. We got to Cincinnati to pick up mom and I took the truck in to get looked at. The dealership tore the truck down and replaced the head gaskets and fuel injectors with the ECU and control module. They got this done in 3 days and worked all night the last night to get it done.
Now with a fresh fuel system we were off to Florida and making time down I-75. After a couple stops for fuel and food we crossed into Florida and made our way to Sarasota to settle in for the Regatta. We dropped the boat at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron. Deb and Craig helped find a nice parking place for the trailer. We then went to our hotel for the week. After check in we got settled in the room and then went to the restaurant for a nice dinner. Being a bit road weary we turned in early and decided to work on the boat the next day.
Early the next day we got to the Regatta site and began setting up the boats. With Eric's boat off the trailer we began work on the Capricorn. Got it unloaded and all the gear out of the boxes since we didn't have the measurement done yet I had to wait to rig it up. We did a little work and put on the pieces that had to be there to measure then called it a day and went back to the hotel.
The next morning the regatta was officially open and we went to get the boat measured in. We wheeled the boat to the measurement area. Boat measured in perfectly and then we went to get the sails measured in. After Rick Bliss got the sails done we were off to start the rigging process. We got everything done except standing the mast and decided to wait till tomorrow when Phillip arrived. Mom and Dad were going to Clearwater for the evening to visit friends and that meant a nice quiet evening at the hotel.
Sunday morning I walked to the site and after about a 2.5 mile walk was ready to get the boat together. Greg helped me get the mast stood and we were ready to sail. Phillip showed up and we took the boat for a short run in the bay. We had good speed in the upwind but were suffering in the downwind. We made a few adjustments after getting off the water and were ready for the first day of practice racing.
Monday morning we finished getting checked in and tried the new settings in the practice racing. We did better but were still a little slower than the other boats off the wind. We were sailing heavy and it was going to cost us on the runs. After a few nice up and down laps we went in. The boat was handling well we just needed a little more speed.
Tuesday we made another adjustment and got ready for racing. The wind was light and shifty but we managed to get 4 races in and were still looking for speed. We had moved the mast rake too far and suffered all day for it. We were sitting in the mid 40's but confident we could make progress as the week went along. A nice meeting was set up at a local bar and we all had a free drink ticket in our packets.
Wednesday the wind was on and we dropped the mast back a little. We took off and got some practice in Boat was feeling good and we had some nice speed. We unfortunately flipped the boat when we stalled the rudders and the mast seal didn't hold. Guess I didn't put the seals in right. With one of the trap line bungees broke in the flip and getting a little help we got the boat back up and went to the start line. With one trap we decided to start with Phillip sitting on and me trapping in the fresh wind. Just after the start the trap line let go and I was swimming. Phillip saved the boat and I got brought back to the boat and we sat and waited for the race to finish.
Race one was racing and I got the trap lines re-done and we were ready for the start of race 2. We made the start and managed to finish in the 30's the next couple races. We felt good with the boat and with 4 races on the day knew we could throw out the DNF in the first race of the day. We went back in and put the boat in its place for the night. We then went for the food being served and the beer was flowing all night. I bought a couple raffle tickets and ended up winning a nice Zhik hat and fleece. After that it was off to the hotel for some rest.
Thursday there was still a nice breeze blowing and we set out to the racing area. We settled in to do another four races and made some progress. Our team work was doing better and we got all four races completed. We were still at the back of the pack but we had boat speed we just needed to get the boat in tune with us. We had another disappointing day racing but we still had fun. After racing there was a class meeting and pizza and beer were served.
Friday was an early start as we had to make the drawbridge opening to get to the Gulf of Mexico. Several boats gathered and waited for the bridge. Tacking and jibing in a small channel till we got the opening. Once the bridge went up we made our way through the channel and then downwind out into the open Gulf. Kites were set and we were off on a nice leisurely sail to the race area. We again raced 4 races in a nice sea chop and some shifty conditions. We had a good day with the same results as before. We then had to sail in through the channel and a lot of short tacking to make it back. After sailing there was food and drinks while we waited for the Halloween Costume party. Music was provided by the RedBull truck and a great time was had by all.
Saturday we got to the boat early and were ready to hit the water. I was sore and hurting from 6 days of sailing but we took to the water and while waiting to start racing we got some beautiful sailing in as we had the whole bay to ourselves. After a couple reaches we set the kite and sailed down to the committee boat. The day started off nice but as we started racing the wind began to fall off. As we started the windward leg it was perfect condition. We were in a good spot but as the wind degan to slow we fell off the pace. Sailing heavy is not a great way to sail ing the F18 fleet. As we rounded the mark the wind had fallen to under 10. We made it to the down wind mark and saw the shorten course flag. One more short lap in light shifty conditions and we were at the back of the fleet with a 44.
We then began the sail home and ended up being towed the last little way. Then we began setting the boat up for the ride home. Now the awards are handed out and Easton and Bird took first with the Ronstan rocket. We took 49 on the new boat. A great week of sailing at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron. Thanks to all involved in a great Regatta. We then finished loading the boats on the trailer and secured the double stack for the long ride home.
Sunday we took Phillip to the Airport and then went back and packed up the Hotel. After a nice breakfast we went and picked up the trailer and hit the road. I-75 north was the next few hours of the trip. We stopped in Georgia for lunch and Tennessee for dinner. We made it back to Cincinnati at about 4 in the morning and put the boats and truck in the side yard. Monday we took a day off and I made a nice lasagna for the whole family and we got to bed early.
Tuesday we set off early and had a nice drive through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Again we did the set of three 300 mile legs and had a little rain in Iowa as our night came to an end. We ended up in Council Bluffs and called it a night. Wednesday we started with a nice Breakfast and got on the road early. We were battling a storm and had rain, snow, and wind all against us. We still managed to get our miles in and stopped in Wendover, Utah for the night.
Thursday morning we had a nice breakfast at the Peppermill Casino in Nevada and enjoyed a beautiful morning of driving. The sunrise in the mirror was beautiful as we came through the mountains. There was almost no wind and perfect driving conditions all the way into Reno. We then made our way over the mountains and rolled through Sacramento just before traffic got bad. We made it home to Fairfield and parked the trailer at the house. Saturday we will drive down to Redwood City to unload the trailer.
Summary of the trip, 6833 miles driven, 525 gallons of diesel ($2100), 13 states, $10,000 in repairs, 9 days of driving, 3 days waiting for repairs, 2 days of set up, 2 days of practice sailing, 5 days of racing, and countless memories that will live with me forever.