Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Late Summer Update

We have been racing most weekends for the past 3 months or so. I also have been racing on the same boat that I raced on last year on Thursday nights. Racing 3 days a week has been keeping me busy. We have races planned until Oct 23 plus there is one race in November, but we will see if mother nature allows that. Most races we are the last boat to finish in our fleet. Because we have been showing up and racing we are in 6th place of 22 boats that have raced on Sundays this year, with 4 or 5 races to go. Last weekend was the last race of the woman's series races. The winds were a little higher and we ended being the only boat to show up in our fleet so we took the gun (or 1st place) with Lori at the helm with a crew that included myself and another friend Laurie. I affectionately refer to them as "Team Lori."

We have a bunch of longer distance races coming up over the next few weeks. Normally races last about an hour, but these will probably last 2-3 hours with a time limit of 5 hours. One of the things I realized this year is when I initially set up the mast position, it was too far aft (or back) and it effected how the boat sails. I re-rigged the mast once and will probably do that again in the coming weeks, to see if that will help with the weather helm on the tiller, along with boat speed and heeling. For the most part the boat has been working well all Summer. When we pulled the boat out of Lake Minnetonka to go to the Apostle Islands in July, the rudder paint seemed to be coming off and some of the bottom paint had worn along leading edges of the boat. So there will need to be some touch up next Spring, and possibly re-doing the whole rudder...again.

During one of the women's races there were three short races crammed one after the other in a couple of hour period of time. The very first one we decided to put Jane at the helm. She has not been at the helm much at all, let alone during a race with really light wind. We ended up having the entire fleet waiting for us to finish, but we finished. Overall she did a great job, despite my tension on the board. One of the more social events that the club has is a "nightcrawler" race. We meet at the club in the early evening on the Saturday closest to a full moon, and the boat that returns last, wins. The 4th of July ended up being a nightcrawler event, and Excelsior has a large fireworks display out on the lake. It was a lot of fun sailing around in the light winds, watching the fireworks, under sail. There were hundreds of other boats on the lake. After sailing back to the docks, we spent the night on the boat.

We've had a number of race days with little to no wind, and so race officials will typically cancel those races. However, they did not cancel one weekend when they probably should have, and we, along with all the other boats in our fleet, ended up abandoning the race. There wasn't enough wind to push us anywhere, and ended up just bobbing in the water. This past Sunday we had quite the opposite wind, with gusts in the upper 30 knots and sustained winds in the 20s. That race was cancelled. Sometimes they will do a "heavy air" race, if there's enough boats willing to sail. On Sunday, there were about 100 people standing outside when they asked for a show of hands of people willing to race. There were only 2 or 3 hands raised, and mine was not one of them. The only other reason a race will be cancelled is because of the potential of thunderstorms and lightening. Rain is not a reason for cancellation, and luckily we haven't had to get wet this year.

We have not gotten out nearly as many times with friends this year as we'd like, but are hoping to in the next month or so before it gets too cold. We also haven't blogged much this season because we've been racing so much. Hope to do more writing as the season winds down.

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