Wednesday, July 23, 2014

First Day of Finals Has Hefty Winds

Ben and I have been staying in a house we rented with three other teams of sailors, including fellow Midwesterner Ryan Malmgren. So this morning we all went out to breakfast to a fun 50s-style diner, called Fast Break. (breakfast/fast break...get it? I didn't at first!!)

We had more wind today than during the two days of qualifying races. The Seaside course, which the race committee used during the qualifying races, was more exposed to the south winds and, with the shallow water, created extra large waves, so the race committee set up on the Wannamaker course, which is a little further up the river and protected. In addition, we really gave the drivers on the Rt 37 bridge a show today because part of the course went roughly parallel to the bridge. I noticed at one point that the traffic was stopped for the drawbridge, so they really got a good view.

The first race was a four-leg course, finishing downwind. During that race, winds started at 10-12 out of the south and gradually built. The top 10 finishers were very close together, and Ryan Malmgren
was right there. Ben and Deb, struggling a bit more than the other days, were 14th of 16.

By the beginning of the second race, winds were about 18-20, with plenty of whitecaps, though the chop wasn’t unmanageable. Ben realized we had been way overpowered the first race and we cranked on the vang and the cunningham. The race committee ran a five-leg, windward-leeward course. We got a good clean start in the middle of the line, but then were called back for a general recall.  The second start, with the race committee flying the “I” flag, had no boats over early.

Ben and Deb won the pin end of the start and the boat was feeling really good. However, during a tack, Ben missed his footing and fell out of the boat in the midst of a puff. (a video exists, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever release it!) Deb uncleated the main (see! I can learn!), but Ben still had it in his hand, and so it re-cleated and over we went. Luckily, Ben got on the centerboard and Deb was at the top of the mast and the boat did not turtle. Deb was able to get into the boat and uncleat the main (again) and the jib and, together with Ben, hung on the center board and righted the boat. Unfortunately, it was really hard to get back in the boat!! Eventually Deb managed to haul herself in and then gave Ben a hand. Since no more races were scheduled for the day, Ben and Deb sailed in.

Deb climbing into the boat, before she pulled Ben in

Our windex looked like a pretzel, though you can't tell here...
Frank and Marianne struggled with the wind and finished midfleet in the challenger division, but we all enjoyed a lovely dip in the pool afterwards, complete with beer and tall tales. Plus, at dinner Marianne was served both gluten-free hamburger buns AND cookies, so all is good!

In the pool, we all applauded John Kreidler’s and Joe Brake’s  great day, as they are now in second, behind the superhuman team of Jeff and Amy Linton, who appear to be unbeatable. Likewise, Rob Whittemore and John Wake also had an awesome day, finishing in third place. As I mentioned earlier, a group of us are sharing a house, so it’s always fun to see one’s housemates do well.Ryan's crew, Adam Keen, was wearing a go pro camera and he showed us video of us capsizing....I'm not sure how I feel about seeing that over and over.

Tomorrow two more races are scheduled but meanwhile the wind is supposed to clock 180 degrees, come in from the north and bring some rain with it. Never dull out here in Toms River!!

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