Now all I have to do is finish the mountain of paperwork on my desk before playing tomorrow!
Work: the thing I do to afford to keep sailing...
WOOT! We may actually make it! Replacement parts for busted gearbox cleared customs this morning, we installed them in to the gear box this afternoon, and preliminary sea trials indicate she may actually motor! On a completely unrelated topic I also registered my epirb today...
Now all I have to do is finish the mountain of paperwork on my desk before playing tomorrow!
Work: the thing I do to afford to keep sailing...
This was an exciting day! We had a sexy new bottom, had pulled hundreds of pounds of gear from out of the boat while the boat was out of the water, and somehow we had managed to snag Shareen and Leifka from the very competitive boat Jasmina to come along with us for the day. We were also inaugurating two new crew members Amy and Rory, both of whom have sailed in the past, but haven't raced aboard Thursday's Child.
We have a strict 'no sailor left behind' policy on Thursday's Child. We always want people to have a chance to get out on the water. This generally works out well as often crew are unable to make it at the last minute. Somehow on this day almost every crew member I had invited showed up. This was awesome, until I realized I was about to cast off with 14 people on my boat; twice the number of crew I would usually race with. As we were heading out I could really feel the extra weight on the boat. She bobbed more than usual, and didn't stand up quite so quickly when leaning over with waves and turns. I did some quick math (yeah right) and figured that the 2000lbs of led on the bottom of the boat was handily outweighed by the 14 people and gear on top of the boat. Fortunately TC crew member and fellow Hotfoot 31 owner 2014 Ironman Australia Champion Elliot Holtham was out on his boat to race and was looking for crew. I quickly selected my three... err... meatiest crew members and pawned them off on Xcentric (Sorry Dan, Orion, and Brent!). Down to 10 svelte crew members and myself we set the boat up to sail, ran through a few quick drills and got ready to race.
New bottom and new pace! We started on time, in the best place to be on the start-line, and with great speed! We were off like a herd of angry turtles on rollerskates. We were rocketing towards the mark (A navigation buoy off of Stanley Park) and were handily ahead of the boats we were competing against. As sailboats aren't capable of sailing directly in to the wind we have to tack up wind towards the mark. On one tack we were on a collision course with Talisman. Shane, the skipper of Talisman called out that he had right-of-way (which he did) and in the spirit of competition we pushed our tack to the last possible minute. The intention was to tack to put ourselves directly in-front of Talisman which would have meant we had right-of-way and force him to either head towards the wind to go around us (which is slow) or tack away which would give us the advantage of sailing a shorter distance and with fewer speed-costing maneuvers. We completed our tack, Talisman had to head up and towards the mark we went. MUA HA HA HA "I'm so good" thought I! America's Cup watch out here my crew and I come on my little boat! Unfortunately Shane saw this differently and felt that I was perhaps being less tactful and more kamikaze in my attempt to slow him down. Shane called protest and eventually flew a protest flag. Confident that we were in the right we sailed on and we had a very respectful second place finish, behind... you guessed it... Talisman... Grumble.
The second race was much less eventful, we managed a terrible start (my fault entirely), but with great crew work we recovered brilliantly. We sped around the course and finished first in our division! WOOT! I thoroughly enjoyed calling out to Trev the skipper the of much faster and bigger Mañana who has on occasion intimated that I follow him around the race course, "How in the hell am I supposed to follow you if I'm ahead of you!?". I couldn't quite here his response but it sounded like he was calling me "Duck-hough"? I don't know what that means though... I think it might have been German?
As is the tradition after racing the skippers and crew of each yacht gathered together to drink beer and recount the day's events in the pub at the Vancouver Rowing Club. Talisman's protest was definitely the topic du jour. Most skippers were venturing an opinion and everyone was arguing both sides. I think if we'd left it up to them we would have both been disqualified for some reason or another.
Slingshot Skipper and good friend Kevin was convinced that, in order to prove his position in relation to my boat, Shane aboard Talisman should have hit Thursday's Child, protested us, had us thrown out. Thursday's Child should have in turn protested Talisman for unsportsmanlike behavior for hitting us and had them thrown out. Somehow this idea seemed a special combination of beer-fueled and unappealing to both Shane and I. The most frustrating part of this entire situation is that however certain that I was in the right, Shane is equally emphatic that I was in the wrong. To add to this is that I completely trust Shane he is a good friend and a good sportsman. How is it possible two perspectives could result in two vastly different accounts of the same situation. The fortunate thing is that either way the results were not affected... Talisman did beat us after all so this is all somewhat academic and rooted in morality. Having said that, in the interest of sportsmanship I will retire from the race if it becomes evident that I was in the wrong. I'm polling my crew to get their take and will keep y'all posted! (All three of the people who read this blog... Grandma, Mom and I suspect Shane this time...)
Judge for yourself!
To view both races including the protested crossing head on over to the RaceQ's Tracker by clicking here. In the interest of fairness, I should mention that the tracking system used isn't exactly accurate and should not be considered to be sacrosanct by any means. Often it is off by a few boat lengths.
The above pics by the wonderful Amy C. Thanks!
In early December Thursday's Child was hauled for some much needed paint work to the bottom, as well as a replacement of the sealed gland through which the propeller shaft passes which had started to fail. Our original plan was to haul at Shelter Island Marina, but the weather and sea conditions meant that the 6 or so hour trip would be fraught with risks and the time of year combined with a busy work schedule meant that we would have to do most of the trip in the dark. I opted to divert to Granville Island Boatyard and upon the recommendation of some trusted friends I commissioned the ever incomparable Robbie of RRYachtServices. Robbie agreed to:
While the boat was out we also did a bunch of other work including:
Launching on time meant I didn't have to miss the VRC Poar Bear race on the December 21st and launching on budget meant I didn't have to live on the boat over the winter whilst waiting for my ever-loving wife to forgive me for spending her tropical vacation fund on the boat.
WOOT - Off to the races we go!
VRC 2014 Remembrance day pursuit race
Recipe for a great day:
The VRC Remembrance Day race was truly an event to remember. We had fantastic wind, a great course lots of boats similar boats to chase, and a great group of people aboard. Whilst heading out to the race course the crew and I took a moment to reflect on how fortunate we are to live in a place and time so amazing as to allow us the lives we live. We realize that without the dedication and service of so many before us we may be leading a vastly different life. VRC has a long history of service, and was down to 14 members at one point, as almost all of the members were deployed overseas. Many of whom came back injured, or didn't come back at all. We choose to celebrate remembrance day by doing what it is those before us fought to enable. We celebrated by playing in their club, doing what they loved, and remembering their selfless actions. Our race started with two minuntes of silence (which was a bit tough considering the wind conditions) and then a bang to begin our races. One by one we crossed the line and sailed off in to the building breeze, we were having a blast; happy and thankful to be out on the water.
While there was much to be excited about, the highlights for me have to be
We weren't without indecent ourselves as we managed to blow-up one of the lines that holds our Jib up, but that was easily fixed and on we sailed. We narrowly lost to WindyFeat and Talisman at the end and managed to score 3rd in division and 6th overall. Not bad at all!
I was planning a big writeup about this race, but VRC writer laureate Evan Seys did such a great job I'll just link to his! Click here to head to the VRC site to read all about this really cool race! If you want to take a look at a replay of the race, and to watch Talisman and us duke it out Click here!
The second day of VRC Polar Bear Racing was AMAZING! It was sunny, windy and FUN! The crew were all in a great mood despite having the engine die and having to get a tow out to the course and back. We had a full boat, with a crew compliment of 10, but fortunately we also had the wind to match. It's amazing how well the boat moved in a heavier breeze with 8 people firmly seated on the side trying to keep it from heeling. We went like a freight train upwind, but were somewhat slow on the downwind legs; a direct result of the extra weight aboard. We managed a first place in the first race, loosing line honors by 44 seconds to the very quick Rhumbline. In the second race Rhumbline were fast fast fast and beat us handily. I'm still happy with the 2nd place finish though :)
Why did I have to get a tow in and out you ask?
It would appear I have picked up some contaminated fuel. We were motoring out, and made it just past the fuel dock when the engine turned off. Upon further inspection it was clear that there was a good deal of water in the system. We quickly flagged down a tow, and whilst being towed Jason and I headed below to try to get the engine running. We took lots of water out of the system but then ran out of containment vessels (empty coffee cups). The real kicker is that I filled my car up at the same station and now an obscure indicator light has turned on indicating that there is water in my fuel... carp!
Feeling adventurous and being somewhat mechanically inclined I decided to see if I could figure out how to drain the water out of the system in my car this morning.. I popped open the hood on to reveal a large plastic cover over the engine, the writing on which reads "no user serviceable parts inside do not remove this cover."
The car is now at the mechanic. I'm confident I'll have better luck with the boat this evening!
To see the race schedule and results click here to head over to the VRC Race site!
All by myself...
This past Sunday was the VRC Single Handed Anything Goes Race, or S.H.A.G. as it's affectionately referred to by most of the sailors. I joined 20 other boats out on English Bay for a race that would take us all around the bay. We had great winds, great competition and a perfect course. We had loads of boats out, and the boats who were out on the longer course had the added traffic of all of the dinghies sailing out of the Jericho Sailing Centre. Despite being really late for the start, I managed to catch some of my competitors by the time I got the the first mark. After a successful spinnaker hoist, my first ever single handed gybe, and a pretty successful take down I managed 'round the leeward mark and cross the finish line. I was happy to have finished the race and pleased with my mid-pack finish position!
In May a bunch of friends and I loaded up Thursday’s Child and headed over to Victoria for the Swiftsure International Yacht Race. We had entered in the Juan De Fuca course and would be competing against a number of similar boats. This was my first entry in Swiftsure as a skipper, and the first time doing a Swiftsure for many of my crew. Whilst we were all pretty trepidatious, we were also all incredibly excited! We cast the lines off and joined the parade of boats heading out to the start line.
And We’re off -
We had canons blowing, horns honking, flags flying, spectator boats surrounding us - it was quite the event. We put the sails up, started trimming for speed, took a final look at the current and wind predictions, and before we knew it we were off. Irritatingly, despite the massive start-line I somehow managed to be late… Kicking myself that my timing was off, we focused on getting the boat moving and to catching up with the competitors that had a better start. We did just that - we battled tack for tack with many boats, trying to figure out where the currents and the winds were the strongest. As we sailed on the wind became stronger and stronger, but then so did the current. At times we could see boats, completely powered up, with all crew hiking that appeared to be standing still. Our goal was to not be that boat!
As we approached the passage Stephen called out “You need to head a little bit to port, if you go to starboard at all we’ll hit”, Benoit immediately countered with “NO NO you need to go a little bit to starboard, if you go to port at all we’ll hit”... awesome… Just what every skipper wants to hear. After much scrutiny and critiquing it was clear that each GPS had us in a slightly different location. It was too late to turn around so we sailed a course the two of them were least displeased with. We shot through the passage in no time, breathed a huge sigh of relief, set our sights on the finish line and returned to our jovial selves.
The last few hours of the race were the longest - as soon as we turned the corner to head to the finish line at Ogden Point the wind turned off completely. Being from Vancouver, and being used to sailing in no wind we were truly in our element. We moved people around and trimmed and trimmed and trimmed and got the boat going. With great elation we crossed the finish line, fired the engine up prepared for the mandatory safety inspection, and then the inevitable party on the dock!
It was 1:45 in the morning and the ever-classy Royal Victoria Yacht Club volunteers greeted us on the dock with hot soup and cheers. We flew through our safety inspection. I headed off to the race office to request our finish time be altered for the man overboard we responded to, and the crew took the boat back to the slip in front of the Empress.
Once the redress was finished I waddled over to the dock, ready for a party and tales of the race course, but there was nobody there… With the exception of Ultraman II and a few other unfamiliar boats the docks were still empty. I started to realize that we may have actually had a pretty good race. How Exciting!
We swapped stories with Jason and his crew from Ultraman II until the alcohol ran out, and it was time to go to bed. As we all shuffled in to the boat it became evident that we had a problem. We were a victim of our own success. We had thought we would likely finish mid afternoon on Saturday, some of the crew had planned hotel rooms, whilst others had made arrangements to go to family houses. It was 2 in the morning, there were 8 of us, and we all had to figure out how we were going to sleep on a 30’ boat… after many straws were drawn, and coins flipped the sleeping arrangements were worked out and we all crashed for a well deserved sleep. The next day we awoke to find out that the wind had died after we finished and that many of the boats in the longer courses were still out drifting around. As we were delivering the boat home I checked the race results only to discover that we had won FIRST PLACE in Division Two - Light Class!
September 11, 2014
I had just arrived home from work and noticed a package on my front step. In it was a battle flag, a trophy, and a congratulatory letter for our 1st place. The letter advised us that we had won the Canadian Coast Guard Perpetual Trophy. How exciting, and what a class act Royal Victoria yacht club is!
Will we do it again?
After winning the 2012 Southern Straits medium course, An old-salt friend of mine offered me the advice that I should never re-enter a race I’d already won. I didn’t listen to his advice then, and I very much doubt I’ll do it this time.
After a great day of race committee for the Georgia Strait Alliance Charity regatta, and celebrating the FIL birthday late into the evening, nothing was quiet so comfortable as my comforters and bed Sunday morning. The last thing I wanted to do was get out of bed or move let alone go out on Thursdays Child and race not only my first race on the boat, but it would just be me and Ben. After surviving the first year of marriage, the thought of tempting fate and racing together…. But my Ken needed a Barbie, so I threw on my best Barbie Dress, found my Tiara and off we went.
After a quick stop to pick up some much needed coffee and snacks, as well as our friend and race committee member Melissa’s special coffee (she likes to keep the Starbucks staff on their toes) we made it to the club.
With cruising cast iron frying pan along with an ice box full of water and ice left over from the day before, we left were off. While I drove us out under the lions gate bridge Ken was running around the boat setting up what I can only assume are the flappy things. Feeling quiet pleased with myself getting us safely out into English Bay (not getting too distracted by all the salmon that were jumping), I not only kept the boat into the wind as the main was hoisted, I also avoided all the crab traps while keeping Ken on board.
Really my main goals for the day:
1) Stay on board
2) Don’t hit my head
3) Don’t lose Ken overboard
What a blast! After an absolutely amazing delivery and a clear win of the Friday night party, which concluded with a ride home from some random Irish guys, and a stealthy return to the boat, we awoke to incredible wind and sunny, warm weather. We were expecting the race to last 20 hours or so, imagine our surprise when we finished in around 10!! We had a great battle with most of the Ross 930s and the other Hotfoot 31s, we were almost cut in half by the Hobie 33 Por Favour at one point, though fortunately we were able to evade a collision. We battled with the custom Hotfoot 31 Bigfoot x for much of the race, often trading positions. In the last few minutes of the race, when we had assumed all was lost and Bigfoot X had beaten us, we were hit by a surprise wind shift and managed to sneak past them and finish with 4 seconds between the boats! WOOT!
Quote of the Race:
Eimear (whilst waking up): "Ummmm guys... where... where are my pants?"
On to Victoria for the 2014 Swiftsure International Yacht Race!