Craig on sailing

30 May 2006 | Lago Vista, Texas
24 May 2006 | Austin, Texas
15 May 2006 | Austin Texas
01 May 2006 | AYC, Lake Travis
24 April 2006 | Lake Travis, Austin Texas
09 February 2006 | somewhere in the atlantic

Turnback Canyon

30 May 2006 | Lago Vista, Texas
Craig Tapley
Turnback Canyon Regatta is a great annual event and this year didn't disappoint. I was up and at the lake early to spend an hour making sure my boat was in good shape before the start. Turns out the weekend was going to be a windy one. I found my way out to the starting line only to discover that I was badly overpowered. I considered going back to shore and finding a crew for the ride down but decided that everyone that was going down already had a ride. I decided to make a good showing then just get down the lake safely. I started a conservative 20-30 seconds late but in good position for the down wind start, made good time down wind and was in a group of 3 other cats at the first turning mark, then a quick drag race a mile or so across to the next mark and we started up wind for the first time. Maybe 15 minutes on the course and I was already exhausted. Going to be a long day I guess. But the scratch boat in the fleet was still in sight. an Inter 20. Without knowing the handicap numbers I guessed that I was doing fine so far and determined to keep that 'good showing going. 18 miles later the scratch boat was out of sight. still no telling whether he was ahead or behind on handicap, but not a factor in my race any longer. two nacra 5.2' and a nacra 5.5 in my group, me in the second place of the three. The third boat caught a solid puff from behind and began a charge onto my heals. Good fun I thought. This boat will not pitch pole with me at the back, and this looks like it is going to be a fun ride.
The puff hit and sure enough, you can pitch pole a 5.2. 5 minutes and a good amount of huffing and puffing and I was back upright and pointing in the right direction. I could still see two other boats down the lake, but my race with them was over. Worse still in the capsize I had lost a rudder pin for one of the two rudders. That rudder I kicked out of the water and resigned myself to sail the last mile to the finish slow and safe. Turns out that group I let get with my sloppy capsize turned out to be arguing for first and second place. Sigh.
I had a great visit and overnight with David and Natally, my new friends and the sailors of the other 5.2. Around 10:00 I grabbed my bedroll and crawled onto my boat to sleep the night. It was one of the most beautiful nights I remember with clear skies, a soft breeze, and the soft lap of fresh water at the stern of the boat. Nice. I drifted off to sleep. Drip. what was that? I thought. Drip. I sat up with a start. Time? 1:00. Dark now. where are the stars? Drip. Think it through Craig, what is going on? Drip. Flash.
Flash? Damn. Lightning. Time to leave. I grabbed my sleeping bag and ran up the slope to a open but covered shelter over a few park benches just in time to miss the drenching rain that came with the lightning storm. Great.
I spent the next 4 hours "sleeping" on a park bench with not so much as a pillow to work with. Morning was a bit sleepy, but I had miles to go. I was up around 5:30, as soon as the light was good enough to see what I was doing I was rigged and headed back up the lake home. It was sad to miss the second race, but I had placed to go and it was already going to be a close day. The sail home was something to remember. 10-15, not a wave on the lake except for the ones coming off my hulls, fishermen along the shoreline arguing with herons about who would catch the most fish today. I was home at 11:45, signing a real estate contract with a friend around 3:00, on the road to Lake Conrou to visit family at there new lakefront cabin by 6:00, sitting at the cabin by 9:30.

All in all a weekend that didn't disappoint. The photo is a view of the keelboats tied up at Turnback. No damage from the storms this year.

Getting ready for a sail

24 May 2006 | Austin, Texas
Craig Tapley
Time to do a bit of regatta sailing. One of the best sailing events in Austin is the annual Turnback canyon Regatta. Day one of the regatta (starting this Saturday morning) sails from Austin Yacht Club 22 miles down the lake to Lago Vista. The evening is filled with dance, drink and sailing stories, not one of which can every be proven, and almost none of which are ever questioned. After an overnight day two is a sail home to AYC. Tradition and prevailing winds have it that day one is all down wind sailing and day two is all upwind, but in central Texas there is no telling until race day what we will find. I went out on Wednesday to check over 'Deuce Coup' (someone out at the lake nicknamed my boat and it seems it has stuck) and take her for a quick check out spin. I sailed 2-3 miles up the lake past Arkansas bend state park and back. maybe 3 hours on the water. Most of the sail was exciting (winds puffy and gusting to around 20 knots). On the return trip I blew the control line for the mast rotator. It was an easy fix as I usually carry extra line onboard, but it was an exciting surprise to go from a totally flat (un-rotated) mast to fully rotated on basically no warning. I would have expected to have also broken the tips off all my batons, but it looks like everything is OK.
On arriving back at AYC I finally got to check on how water tight the hulls were. Pulling the plug on the starboard hull I got a nice sigh of air coming out of the hull. good news. air tight is good enough for me when it comes to leaks in a dingy hull. The Port hull didn't take on much water, but clearly was leaking some. I am not going to take time to find the leak and fix it between now and this weekend, but when I do find time I will snap photos of the 'soap, water, and shop vac' system of tracking down the leak.

Photos of Turnback Canyon after the regatta. Have a great week everyone!
Craig Tapley

Weekend off

15 May 2006 | Austin Texas
Craig Tapley
Kate and I had a weekend off this weekend. She finished up her second year of law school with a final on Thursday. We decided a nice relaxing weekend with NOTHING on the schedule was just what the doctor had ordered. We did manage to sneak out to the lake and go sailing for a few hours. The wind was warm and beautiful, 10-20 from the south. After a few loops together she decided the water was to cold so I took a lap or two around the lake by myself, then we packed up and headed home for a nice soak in the hot tub. Beautiful!

I hope everyone is having as relaxed and happy a Monday morning as I am.
Good sailing all,
Craig Tapley
Vessel Name: duce cupe
Vessel Make/Model: Nacra 5.2
Hailing Port: Austin Texas
Crew: Craig
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duce cupe's Photos -