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My Sailing Experiences
Sunday Race at DIYC

Sunday April 19, 2009

I met up with Bill from S/V Rocket on Sunday for the Sunday Race series that happens at DIYC. He contacted me based on a conversation with Dave and Sandy. He asked me to come crew on his boat for a practice run this Sunday, in preparation for a regatta that is happening on May 2. Like most sailors one meets, everyone on his crew was real nice. I worked as port side jib trimmer and controlled the guy for the spinnaker run.

It was a great sail with mild but consistent winds. We performed several tacks to adjust out point of sail to the course. All in all it was a good experience and they welcomed me back for the upcoming race on May 2. I think I am really going to like racing with this group, especially if there is always work for me to do such as jib trimming.

Awesome Saturday Sail

Saturday April 18, 2009

I went sailing with Jesse and her husband on her boat in St Pete. The winds were consistent, probably around 10 knots. Getting out was no easy challenge. The tide was coming in and the winds were from the east so getting past the break wall got real choppy and a lot of effort for the motor. We decided against using the head sail for the time being and sailed only with the main. The winds were forecast to be stronger in the morning and slowing to between 5-6 knots in the afternoon.

The afternoon was a great sail. We hoisted the jib and quick began cruising along. Jesse had the helm as I control the jib and mainsail. The jib was setting well but we need to fix some telltales to the end of the battens on the mainsail so it is easier to determine if we have the right shape.

we came across of a patch of no wind and drifted for a bit. I took the helm and still controlled some of the jib work because of its proximity to the wheel. This boat is set up so that it can single handed if one should want. The winds picked up and we began sailing on a close hauled point of sale with a little bit of heel. It was cool to have the helm on this point of sail and to sail in the groove. We met up with Reggie at one of the markers and cruised around together for a while.

The sail back was mostly broad reach and then pointed down for some wing on wing. It was a great day sail and topped it off with some wings and cerveza. Reggie let me know that someone took a picture of his boat during the race we were in, my first time on his boat. He is going to send me the pick so I will post it soon. He mentioned that in the picture you can see that the jib is trimmed perfectly with all the telltales streaming back. It is going to be real cool to have that pic.

Awesome Thursday Night Race

We had our usual Thursday Night Race at Davis Island last night. It went extremely well. The winds were consistent probably 7-10 knots and calm seas. I was port side jib trimmer at first and then later on ended up being starboard jib trimmer.

We had the right amount of crew, flew the spinnaker and gybed the spinnaker as well. All in all, the entire crew jelled really well last night.

We did not come in first because of some choice that could have better planned. We should have gybed the spinnaker sail a little sooner and we should have tacked much later then we did on the last leg. By tacking early we were very high of the last mark. In typical Monday morning quarterback form, by tacking later we would have been closer to the mark and shaved off some time.

None the less, we caught up and passed a lot of boats that had much earlier starts then we did and kept pressure on our competition the whole race.

It was a great sail. The weather was excellent, the crew jelled and worked extremely well together and I got to do some work that felt rewarding to the process. I'm planning a day sail on Saturday.

One of My Favorite Day Sails

After yesterday's sailing experience, I feel redeemed and pleased with this latest experience. I would go as far as to say that it has re-inspired me about sailing. It all happened as a result of a call I got from Jessie, the crew member from Thursday night who mentioned some weekend sailing from the St. Pete area. She informed me that there was a race the following morning and if I could crew on this boat.

I met her Saturday morning and found out that I would be sailing with her and some friends on a boat owned by one of her friends named Reggie. We sailed his 2006 Catalina that is somewhere between 30-35ft. I haven't been on other Catalina Sailboats but I would have to say that this one was built for comfort. The mainsail was furled in the mast and the winches were operable self tailing winches. This is truly a beautiful boat. The owner is a real nice gentleman who welcomed me aboard and asked if I would jib trim.

The day was beautiful with great winds for racing or just cruising around. We practice for about an hour, getting the other crew familiar with the boat. I held my own and trimmed the jib on the port side and assisted with mainsail adjustments. It felt really rewarding to be a direct result to the boat's performance.

We were set to race in a small race related to USF. It was a bit unorganized but it was nice to race with a crew that didn't take it so seriously and really enjoyed what we were doing. It was truly a beautiful day of sailing. We got out about 10:30am and the race didn't start until just after 12:00pm. It was a long course with several legs, but fun all the way around.

We returned around 4:30pm and after stowing everything, headed to a small place for some burgers and beer. We got to know each other a little more and exchanged numbers. Hopefully I can sail with these guys and this great boat again. This experience renewed my interest the art of sailing, again I am hooked.

I have the Thursday night race this coming week and the woman who got involved with this great experience, wants to take me out on her boat this coming weekend. It should be great. Sailing out of St. Pete is really a nice part of the bay because of the open area and proximity to the skyway and markers to practice around.

Sailing Update

It has been a little bit since my last post but I have been on the water. Last Thursday I raced with the crew from Davis Island. It was extremely rough with winds around 25 to 30 knots and the course set for a lot of upwind activity. we set the main sail with two reefs and even still had to struggle with excessive heeling and rolling seas. I worked as a grinder. Not the most rewarding of jobs but when there is a lot of experienced crew on board, lesser experienced crew fill in the gaps.

Last night was a lot more enjoyable. The breeze was consistent and managable. The crew again was the experienced group that have been sailed with this boat for years. I worked strings for the Spinnaker. We did two spinnaker sets and one of them with two Jibes, causing pole changes while the spinnaker was set. That was the highlight of my work.

I guess that lately I have been in kind of a funk with the racing and the lack of rewarding work on the boat. I was talking with Dave and Sandy, who got me on this boat initially, about my feelings about the racing lately. They insisted that I would really like racing and introduced me to another boat owner who races on the weekends. They feel that I would really like racing on a more structured boat, especially if I can do some challenging and rewarding work. It was nice to hear how these two very experienced sailors and racers think that I have talent and natural ability. I don't know if I would agree with that but it is nice to hear.

I also spoke to one of the crew members that had not been back since last season. She purchased a boat last year and keeps in the same boat basin as the Sailing Center in St. Pete. she said she would call me so I can crew on her boat for some weekend casual cruising. I am really looking forward to some general cruising Lets see how the summer sailing unfolds.

Thursday Night Race

It has been a few days since the race but I wanted to make a post was noted for the record. The winds were running real nice on Thursday evening. It was definitely going to be a fast ride. We adjusted the leads back in preparation of strong winds and puffs. I worked as a grinder for port side jib trimmer and Spinnaker trimmer. The Spinnaker set was awful. Between changing wind directions and the helmsman trying to adjust to the conditions, we lost our sail shape a few times and struggled to regain shape during the remainder of the leg. We maintained ahead of our competition but gave up a lot of ground with the Spinnaker troubles. After rounding the next mark we took down the shoot and close reached our way to the final mark.

When we turned the last mark, we decided to not re-set the Spinnaker given our previous performance. Our competition did reset and within the last few feet of the race, they were able to over take us. Either way, with the time we needed to give them, they obviously won. For another week we were in second place.

I didn't get to do any sailing this weekend. Saturday winds were really strong and my perception was that the sails definitely would been reefed and maybe a second reef would have been needed. Hopefully I can get some more experience trimming the jib or mainsail, grinding just isn't all that challenging. I still need to get to the Sailing Center and get practice time on the Rhodes or Ideals.

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Who: Ramon
Port: Tampa, Florida
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