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My Sailing Experiences
Adventurous Thursday Race
05/22/2009

The weather has been crappy for the last two weeks with showers everyday and for the last week, the showers have been all day. I still needed to sail considering last weeks dockside NO sail, so I went to Davis Island for the Thursday Night races hoping the weather would permit. The weather had been rainy all day and especially around race time. The race was delayed for 30 minutes and when the weather improved the race was set.

We sailed on Pirate Girl because the repairs on Rocket have still not been completed and as usual, I worked as Jib trimmer. The course was short but fast due to the good breeze. Winds were probably in the 10-15 Knots range. Our first leg was a beat with a very intense start and extremely healed over. We gained control and made good time and position on the competition.

Our second leg was a run and we set the Spinnaker, making real good time. The clouds had been building all along and we decided to take the Spinnaker down just in case things got crazy. We had some trouble getting the Spinnaker down but we worked together to get it down and it all worked out just in time. The rain started coming down but once we rounded the mark things got really intense. The rain fall was a downpour. We could barely see infront of the boat and this would be the tone for the rest of the race. After we rounded the next mark, things settled back down and we made up some ground and time on the remaining competition.

Jib trimming in these conditions was intense and defintely an experience. When it was all said and done, we placed second in our class. That was pretty good for a crew of 6 that had little or no experience racing Pirate Girl. I came to realization again that I need to work on dropping some pounds and getting in some better shape for exactly these types of occasions. It is one thing when cruising but racing can be intense and a lot of work. I really need to work on that for my health, racing and for some long range thoughts that I'll share in a later post.

Hopefully I can do some sailing this week with Jessie on her boat in St Pete. Lets see what the weather does and if there is a window of opportunity.

On the Hard
05/18/2009

I just thought I would make an update. I didn't get the chance to sail either Thursday Night or Saturday. That is a bit discouraging but what can you do. Hopefully everything is worked out and this week will be different.

This past Thursday I was going to sail with the crew from the J35, Rocket. As we all arrived at the Yacht Club, the weather turned crappy with strong wind gusts and heavy rain. Add to that the problems on the boat. The engine died when the owner took it out for a daysail and now the boat has starter issues. On top of that, one of the chain plates for the shrouds is damaged and there was fear that strong gusts and sail load would rip plate and maybe mast right off the boat. All of those items were supposed to be addressed this past weekend and hopefully we can sail this coming Thursday.

On Saturday I met Jessie at her boat and when we went to leave, the engine would not start. There was water in the engine compartment. It appears that the vibrations of the engine causes the fiberglass to leak and water comes in. This has appeared to be a recurring problem and there comes a point when you are throwing more good money after bad. After dealing with that all day, Jessie has determined to get an existing outboard serviced and mounted, use it instead of the engine and eventually remove the inboard to do something else with the space. A very wise move I think because the outboard is probably easier to service and definitely cheaper to replace if you had too.

So, with Thursday and Saturday spent on the dock, I am definitely looking forward to racing on Thursday and hopefully some casual weekend sailing.

Update from Last Week
05/11/2009

It has been a few days since I updated this Blog but my most recent sail was this past Thursday May 7th. I sailed on Cats Meow again, which is the boat I have raced on since I started doing the Thursday Night Races at DIYC. I mention that because the boat I have been doing some racing on during the weekends, Rocket, is going to start doing the Thursday Races.

Although I have been torn between loyalty and frustration, I have made a decision regarding Thursday Nights. I have become a little frustrated with either riding the rail or just doing strings because more experienced or senior crew shows up. On Rocket I will be sail trimming. I spoke to Dave about my concerns and he assured me that there would be no problem and that it would be better for me because of the experience I would further gain and the connections I would make. It seems that J Boat racers are competitive and once you become known, others try to pick you up for major races.

Lets see if my feelings as far as racing are concerned changes, but at the least I will be doing what I come to do every Thursday. Although I love sailing, I find no great pleasure in just riding the rail or strings. I love sailing but also really enjoy the personal reward of sail trimming. Enough said on all of that and what will be, will be.

I did not get to sail this weekend but went out Saturday afternoon on my friend Frank's Sea Ray for a booze cruise and cigars. It was a beautiful afternoon and it is always a great time on the water. I spoke to Jessie and I will be sailing with her again next Saturday. I look forward to those sailing experiences because it is more laid back and relaxing while rewarding at the same time. Lets see how the week develops and how the Thursday sail goes.

Thursday and Saturday Race
05/04/2009

This is a combination post because there really was not information worth writing a new blog entry for based on Thursday's sail. I went to the DIYC for the Thursday night race and because a lot of the older crew were there, I spent all of the trip as weight over the high side. The sail was nice but for me it was very uneventful.

Saturday's race was much better. I raced on Rocket which is the J35 that I raced on a few Sundays ago. They asked me back to race with them this Sunday for a Regatta at DIYC. The course was simple with beats and runs. The day was nice and the winds were consistent in the morning. The actual race started around 11am but by 1pm the winds had died down to nothing. The race was postponed and we took the time to eat some lunch aboard while we waited for the committee to decide between calling the race or continuing the races.

The race was called due to the lack of wind and we motored in to the dock. It was a good time and fun to race with this crew. I worked as Jib trimmer and worked the guy for the Spinnaker runs. My Jib trimming was good and fast on the tacks. I really enjoy that part of sailing. At least with this group, if I'm on the boat and I am working or trimming something. Its is better then just being weight over the highside.

I noticed that the winds filled in as the afternoon passed. I guess we are heading for the time of year here when the winds are good in the mornings, die down around mid day and then tend to build as the afternoon passes from the breeze coming in from the gulf.

Lets see how the week develops with the race on Thursday and whether there is crew work for me. Like I said, it depends on who else is there. Saturday will hopefully be back on Jessie's or Reggie's boat for a day sail or something. I really enjoy that as well. I'm still in the mindset that racing is alright but cruising around is a lot of fun as well.

Saturday Sail
04/25/2009

Went on Jessi's boat and she brought a long her grand daughter and her boyfriend. The winds were consistent and blowing in from the east to northeast most of the day. we sailed close reach and some close hauled most of the way south. We were not to far from the Skyway Bridge and the entrance into Boca Ciega Bay.

We talked about doing a longer day sail in the near future. I suggested leaving one morning and sailing past the Skyway Bridge and into the gulf. Maybe sail around Egmont Key, anchor for some lunch and then sail back. Jessi also had a great idea of an early sail to Tampa, having lunch at Jackson's and then sailing back. Both are good ideas and Reggie, Jessi's friend is on board for such a day.

After sailing south we tacked heading north and sailed a good distance as well. We sailed more so on a beam reach and passed the St. Pete Pier. It was a nice daysail and I spent the day trimming the jib and mainsail. We came back in around 5pm and headed for some good seafood and beer.

On the books for this week is the Thursday Night race at Davis Island and racing with the new crew on S/V Rocket on Saturday for a race at DIYC as well. Jessi sent me some pics of me sailing from the first race with Reggie. I can't post them here but Have posted them on my other sailing blog. The url for anyone that reads my blog is http://mysailingexperiences.blogspot.com/

Thursday Night Sail
04/23/2009

Raced again last night in the Davis Island Races. We had a very light crew of only 7, but all experienced. The winds were light at times and topping off around 10 knots at others. There was a lot of reaching and close hauled sailing, so we took advantage of the course to put time in the bank on our competition.

I worked as Jib trimmer, starting out on starboard side and then to port side after the spinnaker run. We came in first place and made it in just as the sun was setting. It was a really nice race. The crew works well together and adapts to what needs to be done.

I made plans with Jessie to go sailing on her boat this Saturday. According the websites, the winds are forecast to be real nice. Jessie told me that she had another picture of me that was taken on our Saturday race with Reggie. I'm kind of glad there are no plans to sail on Sunday. although that is always subject to change for the right opportunity, there are some things I need to do around the house.

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Who: Ramon
Port: Tampa, Florida
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