29 September 2008

formal wind-down

As the sailing season draws to an end, I want to reflect on a couple of things, first of all of course so I don't forget them until next season, but also to clear up my mind and see that everything I know is more or less consistent.
First of all, I'd like to mention some of my most remarkable racing results in temporal order:
  1. Last place in the J-Town Laser Regatta. I think that Laser racing is quite a bit harder than the Albacore and even though I have improved a bit during the last weeks, I would probably still be last in any given Laser race. (Also of course, because most Laser racers sail their own boats and have lots more training.)
  2. Seventh place in the New Helm's Albacore Regatta, helming/crewing with Tim Smith. This result is really good, given that many participants had lots of crewing experience in races and also more helming experience than we did. Even more remarkable is Jaclyn and Patrick's fifth place, since they also started racing only this year. Excellent!
  3. Second place in the Amazing Race for Albacore White Sailors, helming/crewing with Marius from Westwood. This was not too hard, since only few people in the race had racing experience and we had an advantage from knowing all the marks and rigging our boat quickly, being the first boat on the water. (Starting gun was on land, with unrigged boat.) Even more interesting was that my friend Tim Smith and his partner Thomas (also from Westwood, I think), won the first place. That's a good omen for teaming up next year! And even more interesting is that our friend Jaclyn was crewing at the Canadian Championships at the time of our little White Sail race. That's also a good omen for having excellent competition in next year's season!
  4. Second-to-last place in Klinger's Around the Island Race helming/crewing for Norm Woo. This was certainly one of the most fun events of the year, not only because it took us to waters we never sailed before! Since the race course goes all around the airplane landing water on the west side of Toronto Island, we are actually pretty close to Ontario place. Also we had wonderful wind and the right clothing for the little drizzle and rain that happened half-way through the race. I admit being a little disappoint with our bad placement (given that many other boats without or with only little racing experience were sailing), but we had so much fun and adventure that it completely made up for that. With one capsize and turtle and another almost capsize that took us ten minutes of bailing, we certainly learnt a lot on that day! It is a pity that my friend Anna could not make it that day and sail with me. :-(
  5. Fifth crew overall in the Albacore Fall Series, crewing for Ken Yamasaki twice and Mary Neumann once (two races on each day, so it was four overall with Ken). This is a wonderful result and certainly most of this success is just from showing up, since only few people made it to all four races and had the chance to drop two of them. (Another one who always showed up was Lynn Pashley and she won the first place for crew overall. Congrats!) In my race with Mary I learned what happens when I forget to put the centerboard back down at the downwind mark. We drifted gently into another boat and did a very fast 720 which set us back from place 2 to 7. Thanks, Mary! Seven is still an excellent result and I hope that I have learned that lesson forever. :-)
  6. Finally, one result that I am most proud of is Yesterday's placement with Ken Yamasaki in the two last Fall Series' races. In the first race, our main halyard came loose, the pole-line fell of and my hiking strap came uncleeted, with me almost falling out of the boat. We had to retie the halyard during the race and tie it around the horn cleat. Our pole came off, because Ken didn't tie it with a bowline to the jib; another lesson learnt, even for an Old Salt! We had lots of fun, flying our jib on runs and reaches by hand and in spite of all this came in 10th in the first race (where the halyard slipped) and third in the second race (still flying the jib by hand). This result is so wonderful for me, because it was for the first time that I ran most of the sail controls by myself, playing the vang in puffs without needing orders and retrimming the rig tension for every leg. My ability to do this is to large part due to Mary who explains all the trimming every time we race together. Also, sailing around the island the day before helped a lot, since I ran all the controls for Norm. I used to be a bit shy doing this in races, because I didn't want to distract the skipper, but now I have the confidence of doing the job without being asked. :-)
Expecially this last result is a wonderful ending for this season and an optimistic look-out to crewing next season's Friday Nights and crewing/helming a couple of races (and maybe regattas) with my friend Tim!

I actually started this because I wanted to write about next year's plans and about things that I learned about sail trim. So please look forward to my next two posts!


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