Sunday, 5 December 2010

Needed: One Fat lady, Must have good voice.

Waking up after a yacht club party always happens the same way. Someone is stomping around on the dock or clanging some gawdawful bell or cooking bacon. It is always too early, and often too loud for any reasonable person.

You roll out of your berth, hunt down a cup of coffee and a shower, and get ready for the day ahead. This day it was the last race of the season. We had already cemented our position in second place, and this showing was mostly for fun.

I sipped my coffee and watched the sun rise over a limp flag and a lifeless lake. No ripples, no breezes, not even a fish jumping. I ate a donut and waited for the skippers meeting. It was looking like a long day.

Judy had spent the night aboard and was here to stay, saying she would just leave as soon as the race was over to go and check on her Mom in hospital. I nodded and looked out at the lake, thinking of jobs at home that were waiting for me. I had a chicken coop to build, and a front entry to reno. I had a dozen reasons not to race a race that didn't count. Then the skippers meeting happened and just like that I found myself motoring out to the start line.

The wind at the start line was no better than the wind at the docks. Actually, to call it wind is to lie. We sat while our sails hung down like spaghetti fresh from the pot, and tried to figure out what we could do to get the boat to move.

The countdown went for the spinnaker boats, and they sat.

The countdown went for the whitesail boats and we sat.

Eventually one boat crossed the start and everyone cheered. Then another, then another. They would drift across the line, then head off in whatever direction they could. Any movement was better than sitting still.

We got across the start 20 minutes after the horn. There were still about 4 whitesail boats trying to reach the line, and one spinnaker boat sitting there. It was a disgrace.

Once iris got moving, we found that we could sail from puff to puff, never leaving wind to find wind, but hop-scotching on our momentum to move through the fleet. By doing this we managed to make up most of the time we had lost sitting at the start and catch up to the leaders in our fleet. Then the wind died. Again.

To say the wind died is to say that piece of fish that has been rotting in the fridge for a week and is starting to smell got worse. What I am saying is that we went from light and variable, to variable, to a vacuum. The wind just up and left.

I radioed the comittee boat asking for the course to be shortened, and was told that that wasn't in the cards. I looked at Judy. She looked at me. I thought about her mom and my chores. I decided there wasn't much sense in sitting this out. I radioed the comittee boat for a second time.

"Hey guys, I said, its pretty far to JP and moving at this speed I won't get done the race untill next week. Iris is retiring." It was my second DNF of the season, but I felt it was worth it. We motored to the slip, tied up, and headed home.

Less than a spectacular ending, but the rest of the season had been great. Our heavy weather races will not soon be forgotten, nor will the great parties and friends we met this year. Between that last LSIS race and haul out, there isn't much to talk about. Iris is now sitting in the backyard waiting for the spring to come, and I am absorbed in a dozen other tasks around the house.

I am hoping to post some upgrades and innovations that show how we get our boat working for us, mostly to give back to the guys at the C-25 forums, but beyond that there isn't a whole lot to report right now.

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