Sunday, August 10, 2014

Detroit is Lovely!

Detroit is lovely! Really! I know we weren’t in downtown, exactly, but Belle Isle is part of Detroit and it’s really nice. As for DYC, I thought it might be a little hoity toity, given the fact that it’s in such a grand, and large, old building. But, in fact, not only is everyone really friendly, but the energy, not just at the club, but all around the waterfront, along the river and into Lake St. Claire was wonderful. It helped that it was a gorgeous day, but we saw a flock of paddleboarders, tons of barge traffic, plenty of cabin boats and too many cigarette boats (of course given the waves they make, one cigarette boat is too many!). On land there were hordes of people enjoying the weather, whether as part of a large family reunion, or simply in small groups biking or flying kites or picnicking.

Ben and I cooled off in the pool after Saturday's races. You can't tell, but the pool overlooks the Detroit River.

We got faked out by the ramp this morning. Everyone else was using the hoist, but I thought it’d be just as easy to use the ramp. I didn’t count on the trees. You’d think we’d be in the habit of looking up, but we didn’t realize until we’d parked our windex in some branches that the ramp wasn’t really made for masts as tall as ours. In fact, when we figured that out and headed back for the hoist, someone allowed as how “that ramp is really made for 420s.” Why no one mentioned that to us before, I don’t know! Meanwhile, getting to the hoist presented some tree challenges too, but we managed to navigate without damaging the mast, so it’s all good.

I knew we’d have a long tow out to the racecourse today, but it was really, really long! It was more than 90 minutes to the course. We were at the end of the line until we picked up four other boats at the Edison Boat Club, one of seven clubs we passed on our way up the river and on to the lake. Shortly after that, our towline, which we thought was plenty strong, snapped. I think our towline was an old spinnaker line and didn’t have much give to it. The waves and shock from pulling was too much for it. Luckily we replaced it with a stout anchor line, which we should have used first, I guess.  Anyway, we got underway again and trundled our way to Lake St. Claire.  By the time we got there, I was feeling knocked silly from all the waves and then had to rig the jib on a wet deck in the bouncing waves. Not happy…

But once the racing started it was good. There were 12 boats on the line and the fleet had clean starts in all three races. The race committee was very well organized and ran good races (Thank you Linda Minsterman!). There is current in Lake St. Claire, which was going against us on the upwind legs. We tried to stay in the shoals going upwind and in the middle of the course going downwind.

The first race was a four-leg windward-leeward. Although predictions called for winds of 10 with gusts of 18, we never saw that. In the first race we might have had winds of 8 mph, but not any white caps while we were racing. The winds were steady out of the north-northeast (55-70). Ben and I were first to the windward mark and were able to stay ahead of the fleet for the other three legs. The second race was a modified triangle, again with a downwind finish. The wind was coming down and the race committee started shortening the legs. The first race the windward mark was 8/10ths  of a mile away. The second race, the PRO had them shorten to 4/10ths.  Anyway, it’s been a while since we’ve done a triangle race, so that was fun. Once again, Ben had a good start (both times at the pin, with speed) and we were first to the windward mark, though a boat named Pain Management (Clayton Bader and Bob Lieb) was right behind us. Although the wind was coming down, we were still able to maintain our lead and maybe even stretch it out a bit. 

We liked the left side going upwind all day, but the third race that didn’t pay off as much.  By that   time the wind was almost non-existent, though thankfully the waves had diminished somewhat as well. The race committee shortened the first leg even more, to 3/10ths of a mile. Clayton and Bob were  with us on the left side for a while on the first leg and then tacked and went more in the middle/right of the course. At the windward leg they rounded just ahead of us. We dogged them going downwind, trying to steal their air, but there was so little of it, it made no difference. Thankfully, the PRO shortened the course to the leeward mark and, although we didn’t catch Pain Management, I was very thankful we didn’t have to sail anymore in such light wind!
The club has a tradition of doing a “fun race” back to the club from the race course when the wind allows them to use spinnakers. Ben and I didn’t participate, but just headed back to the club. We knew it was going to be a long sail no matter what and we wanted to just get started. It turned out to be a very pleasant sail. The current whisked us home (though it still took one hour) and Ben trimmed the chute and sang almost the whole way home. It was very pleasant! Plus we sailed right by a club where they were holding a wedding. It was so picturesque and I imagine the wedding guests enjoyed the view from their seats, as well.

Tomorrow we sail right in front of the club, where the current is said to be beastly. Pray for wind!!

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