12/05/06 ersatz review dept.

C&C 115...impressions from a light air frostbite race.


As previously stated, this webpage got really stale for a month or so.......but, we did have a chance to do some actual racing. Just when I thought the season was over, with Dire Wolf on the hard and all, I get an invite to frostbite. And, best of all, it was to be on a BendyToy 36.7!



(Prestart on sunday. Noon in late November looks a bit like 6 pm, high summer. Ugh.)








I was itchin' to race on one of these beasts, in all honesty. I have no complaints with the cruiser/racer concept and was anxious to get on a boat where I could actually put on my bibs while standing up (Scot's J35 notwithstanding). Plus, the OD fleet seems to be holding it's own with these boats and that's neat.

Unfortunately, some wires got crossed, though, and the boat that was my ride already had 9 (that's NINE) crew. So, I figured what the heck, I can suck it up and ride home (1 hour) and watch the Ravens-Steelers game, no biggie. Except: I really really wanted to go racing.

To the rescue comes Rich Griner. He and his son were double-handing, so my partner in crime, Carl, and I jumped aboard. I had also wanted to check out a C&C 115 so it was a bonus to be invited (or self-invited) on to Rich'es yatchett for an afternoon.

First impression: sumptuous and great build quality. Yeah! Beautiful below. Nice, well lit combo of bright wood and white plastic. We stashed our gear and headed out.

In the meantime a weak southerly had spread cat's paws on Herring Bay, temps had climbed to near 60 and things were looking great. One thing about frostbiting: if it's a nice day, you really get STOKED. It's so farkin' great to get out of the house and not have that damned tube in front of you pushing bad beer and crappy food every 4 minutes between punts and kickoffs.

Race wise, we did okay, probably not quite where Rich wanted to be, but not too shabby. He was a mensch to pick us up and it was terrific being on a gorgeous boat in benign but perfectly fine condits considering it was Almost December.


(the good news: we're on the water in late fall. the bad news: there's a 36.7 in front of us....with just the class jib, the 115 was a bit sticky in the light stuff. A 155 would be a welcome addtion to the PHRF inventory)










(I could live here...easily)










So, it's really light and it's time for dogs in the house. Lay in the V-berth and occassionally yell out, "JIB IS STALLED UP TOP!" or "THINK YOU"RE TWISTED OFF ENOUGH?" or "CAN SOMEONE GET ME A BEER, PLEASE?"


Great boat and heaps of thanks to Rich for picking us up!











Baltimore's Harbor Cup 2006




Grand Soleil 37 "Kalevala II," owned by Tapio Saavalainen, tacks toward the bridge in mild conditions, seemingly a rarity for the annual Harbor Cup. "Kalevala II" finished third in PHRF A2.


IF the start of the Harbor Cup had been a day earlier, here's what the fleet would have had to contend with:









Much like the race in 2000 which served up a few puffs in the low forties. We were in that one and were doing fairly well, actually, with a double reef and a 3 up, until the headsail blew up off Bodkin and we had to retire. Later we discovered our starboard rub rail had all but torn off the boat.

Fun in a weird sort of way if you like that kind of thing.

This year it looked more like finding breeze was an issue. On our photo boat, we saw it go 11-2-16 over a five minute interval. I remember saying "looks like the right side of the river is where the breeze is," and then a few minutes later seeing those boats stood up, while on the left boats were powered up. Thank god I wasn't calling tactics saturday!

I'll post a few of the better shots.


Scott Kauffman's Schock 35 "Schock Therapy" finds a bit of air as they close in on the Key Bridge.












J109 "Mojo" fights it out over on the left with Mumm 30 "Mulligan" and non-spin X-Yacht, "X-Citation"

J/27 "Thin Float" looks for a bit of breeze on the right side of Baltimore Harbor's scenic approaches.






MORE PIX AT: http://www.nbayracing.com/harborcup2006/

RESULTS AT: http://www.cbyra.org/postedResults.aspx








Look, I’m all for wymyn’s rights. I’ve read Simone de Beauvoir and Germaine Greer. I think Title IX is the best thing that ever happened to college sports and I stand in awe of Ellen Macarthur. Heck, I even married a girl who considers herself a feminist.

But lately, I'm starting to get a just a litttt-tillll pissed off about the way things are starting to stack up, here on the home front, in terms of the local racing scene and my participation in it.

I got these 2 messages, last week, from skippers for whom I crew, occassionally, and I gotta say, either the timing is a BIG COINCIDENCE, OR, something deeply sinister is going on!

This was my ride for the East Coast Championship next weekend:


“Tim, I have a young lady that weighs 105lbs and can do all three days. [Girl’s name deleted] has made it very easy on me and I won't need anyone else after all.”


Okay, fair enough...I can relate to that…no biggy. Then I get this, about 4 hours later, from the skipper of my J35 ride,complete with photos...he says:





Oh well…I guess I can take a hint.

Hey, judging from that shot with me in the board shorts, I'd look pretty good in a skirt. Maybe some estrogen supplements and panty hose are in order?




J24 North American Champs

Nbayracing.com takes no delight in purloining photos taken by another photographer and posting them here, unattributed. But, seeing as how the 24 class site doesn't give anyone cedit except for the pithy phrase "amateur photos," I thought these were too good to pass up. A bit of breeze came thru on Sunday, the last racing day. Apparently it upset some folks.











sorry we were not there and big apologies to whomever took these shots.





J35North American Championship


J35 "Pagan" up from Charleston, SC. Great folks and rumored to have definitely won the party!













No, by that I dont mean climb on the Moral Majority platform. More like advice we should have taken this past weekend at the J35NA's, in Annapolis, at least in regard to our starting tactics. It's hard to place in the top 5th of the fleet when 3 of your first 5 starts go like this:

- protested, exonerate-spin 720

- protested, exonerate-spin 720

- OCS, find out a couple hundred yards up course, restart.

throw in a skyed halyard and a few vicious overrides at critical points on the race course, and you have a recipe for an 11th place finish out of 17 boats.



(Scot-free crew. Nothing but smiles despite a finish somewhere near the middle)












With 17 ramped up J35's on a fairly short start line in medium to heavy air, even money would've said there'll be some carnage sooner or later. Well, the carnage came sooner, right after the general recall that began the regatta. That should've been a "tell" that the big boats were eager to get it on. On Scot-free we heard what sounded like a tunderstorm rolling in, and turned to see Charlie Scott's "Smiles" embracing the out-of-town boat "Seraphim." "Seraphim" had to retire immediately to the glass shoppe, as an arm's length of starboard rail was missing as a result of "Smiles's" love tap. "Smiles" took an RAF. (but shouldn't they have taken a DNS?). Damn shame when a boat that's come a few hundred miles to compete gets knoocked out of commission in the first race. "Seraphim" later applied for redress and got it.

Next day, another big bump with local boats "Windependent" and "Tiamat" mixing it up. This one resulted in a hospital trip for one crew member on "Windependent." (she was seen later at the AYC party doing alright, thank goodness).

So, what's the deal?

The deal is this: these boats came for blood. The scene at the mostly favored RC boat, on starts, looked like a slow-moe version of a J24 regatta. You pretty much had a 3 in 7 chance of either: getting hit, fouling someone or being OCS if you came in there and didnt know EXACTLY what you were doing.

The Detroit boats had it figured out, even in the fairly significant Annapolis Sweep running down the bay (no rooster tails on government marks, but a solid 1-2 kns in the morning). Detroit boats "Falcon" and "Scandal" took 2 of the top three places. (results from AYC). Local boat "Aunt Jean" got by fairly easily in second despite their worst finish of the regatta in the last race. Big props to them for representing!

Had we tried a more conservative starting strategy, might we have been in the top five? It's hard to say but it certainly would've made it a different ball game, not shooting ourselves in the foot before even getting off the line.

Lesson learned. Drive on.



(the out-of-towner dock, including "Pagan," South Carolina, "Falcon," Detroit, "Ushuaia," Portsmouth, R.I., "Seraphin," Tiverton, R.I.) and "Scot-free," Baltimore)











("Ushuaia," winner of the Most Unpronouncable Name Award for the N.A. Championship. [Ushuaia is the western hemisphere's southernmost city...er....this boat came from Portsmouth]).










(Mast man extraordinaire Doug Thomas sums it up: we didnt win, but we had a blast and as far as we're concerned, we're number 1, as indicated by his hand signal.)

























It's tough going to a new race venue and racing against a fleet you really dont know.

New marks, new tactics, and a different weeknight venue means different crew availability and demands, etc..

So you have to hand it to Scot Reynolds and his crew who came up from their traditional down-river race venue and made all 6 races of BCYA's third series and came home with a 3rd for the series! Dispite a seemingly endless parade of snafus, some occassional dismal sailhandling from the bowman (whereby the "low aspect" spinnaker made its debut in Race 4), and missing a course change just prior to the 5 minute gun in Race 5 (which most likely cost Scot the bullet instead of the third they got that nite) Scot's troops rallied and came back fighting and squeaked into third just one point ahead of Ray Peroutka's "Vulture."

Good on ya, NPSA boys and thanks for the hospitality to all the folks up at BCYA!!

I wouldn't be surprised to see a few more NPSA boats up on Tuesday nights, next summer...









The Tred Avon: not-too-shabby a place to end up on a mid-August evening...







Lovin' life: NPSA sailors Doug Thomas, Steve Culfogienis, Ryan Reitz and Charlie Rouse are all smiles running downhill towards the Choptank and the finish line off TAYC in Oxford, on Scot Reynold's J35 "Scot-free"












Scenario for some decision making:

Let's say the demands of work and family dictate you have to chose only one distance race to do next summer. With the Governors Cup the first weekend in Aug. and the Oxford Race going off the next weekend, that would be a tough call, right?

Forgeddaboutit. Just race to Oxford. Unless you really like staying up all night and arriving at St. Mary's City all wrung out and trashed, take the easy road and do the Ox weekend. Dont get me wrong, nbayracing loves the Gov's Cup, but if you're like most of us, sailing weekends are getting more and more difficult to pull off and the summer Oxfrod race delivers a LOT of bang for the buck.


Trimming a chute is soooo much easier in daylight. No stinkin' flashlites, no harnesses and jack lines. Tom Schwartz, a ringer from the HdG J24 fleet, keeps it fast.


Another HdG J24 ringer, Evan Berthold, scopes out the breeze coming down the pipe and Ryan Reitz works on boatspeed...in broad daylight.








Race Down

One nice thing (depending on how you look at it) is the Ox Race goes off three hours earlier than the Gov's Cup. This is a bit of a bonus, as I've always hated waiting all day on Friday for the freakin' race to start. It's great to see a little scenary as you book down the Bay, instead of the loom of Calvert Cliffs for 4 straight hours.

We played tag with another boat in the J35 OD class, "Windependent," for most of the race until they left us in their wake on the Choptank.









Charlie Scott has won the J24 Nationals and the J24 Worlds. He also won in SORC in the 80's when SORC was rock star heaven. This puts him in some pretty amazing company. He sort of disappeared from racing for awhile in the 90's, but the good news for the J35 fleet is: he's back in a very fast boat named "Smiles." The bad news for the J35 Fleet is that he's back in a very fast boat named "Smiles."


Charlie Scott's J35 "Smiles," just prior to preforming its disappearing act in the run down to Oxford.

Say bub-bye.


Left, the greeting card awarded to boats as they finish at TAYC.








Steve at the helm after approx 5 hours...no sign of wear and tear here.







Day Two...Round the Buoys

One very cool thing about the Oxford Regatta is day two. TAYC, who does a bang-up job hosting, goes into full swing Saturday morning with a full-on Jr. sailing competition with a variety of OD classes launching boats, Snipes, Comets, Lasers, tons of Optis and a decent starboat fleet. It's great to see the kids out there in a breeze as you tidy up and pull the hook to head out to the Choptank for the big boat racing. Weighing anchor might be delayed, though, as your crew stands agog, watching 10 or 11 canoes get a start right in front of the YC. Very cool beans...


(pix by Doug Thomas)








Little sister. Opti struggles uphill while a canoe ghosts by, close in to shore.





Meanwhile, the star boats are powered-up out in the river.







If I had my druthers, I'd do the Gov's Cup and then come back the following weekend for Oxford. But we all know that's not gonna happen. So, when push comes to shove, as far as I am concerned, next year I'll be at Oxford, again, if I have any luck at all.

Huge thanks and major props to Scot Reynolds for letting us use the boat all weekend. I dont think we broke anything and getting a deuce in the Round the Buoys Race on Saturday was a blast.





Speaking of NPSA sailors, congrats to Ted Diehl and the crew of "Windemere" for finishing in the money in the Governor's Cup race a few weeks ago. We heard the race was a screamer and that Ted never let up! Way to go Ted & Co.!


A Ted fly-by, all by his lonesome.

(photo: Teri Cooney)















Here's the puff that put Evelyn 32-2 "Dire Wolf" on her ear after finishing Race 1, Series 3 the other night. "Dire Wolf" grabbed a third for the race, then dipped her spreaders in Old Road Bay to salute the RC.

Funny how far some boats will go to create an impression.


(graph courtesy of Millers Island Weather Station, sent to us by NPSA racer Jerry McCann)



Hey, take a look at Greg Witmyer's weather site, Millers Island Weather Station: it is an excellent resource for northern bay racers!












...as in "job."


I love boats like this bright-finished ketch, parked next to us on "Incommunicado" at Z's during our 4 days at Screwpile. I love them even more because I don't own one.

The ketch "Carrie L" is in bristol condition, but I sure am glad I'm not the guy who is responsible for making sure she stays that way.




















...to Annapolis racing as "Albar II."

Almost four years after cleaning up in PHRF A2 at the 2002 Annapolis Race Week, Cliifhanger has returned to the mid-Bay racing scene, under new ownership, recommissioned as "Albar II."

New owners Allen Keiser and John Clarke got the boat dialed in pretty well by Day 3, racking up a pair of thirds for the day in very light and challenging conditions (i.e., "Evelyn Conditions") and scooted by us on "Incommunicado," pushing us back to 7th by a convincing 6 pt difference. No one likes getting hosed on the last day of an event and dropping back a place to a boat they figured wasn't a threat, but if it had to happen we're glad it was John and Allen & Co. in the Evelyn and it's great to see another E 32-2 on the bay, especially with the departure of "Jammin'" last spring, who left the Bay for warmer climes.

Best of luck with the boat to everyone on "Albar II" !!












(Paul and co. at the Screwpile awards ceremony, Day 2. Paul holding an appropriate award: a humidor!)











Paul Susie and the "Aftershock" crew get a trip to the podium for their 3rd place finish in the 2006 Eastport-Solomon's Race and then again for their accomplishments on day 2 at Screwpile. Huge congrats to Paul and the rest of his NPSA boyz n girls!








(screen capture stolen from Screwpile's results page with no apologies!)










Nbayracing.com is pretty sure we know who took this picture of a certain boat making a hash of a douse at the downwind corner, Race 1, Day 1 at Screwpile a few days ago. We can't say for certain this person (who shall remain nameless) intentionally made sure the image was prominently posted on the SPLC Results page...but all in all we compliment her on her sense of humor and despite a teeny bit of a problem with a recalcitrant spinn halyard, we had one of our best finishes of the regatta for that race!



SCREWPILE 2006 RESULTS at: http://www.screwpile.net/results06/index.htm

















...and faintly ridiculous.


(LEFT: Jeff Hodor's crew push his Jeanneau 35 “Warrior” uphill in 10-14kn, Race 1. RIGHT: “Incommunicado,” crew member Paul Miller during drogue practice, Day 3)


Two days of decent air and a day of waiting for anything remotely resembling decent air is not a bad three days off the Pax in mid-July!

This year the wind gods gave us a huge break: by Tues am we’d already gotten in 5 races, so anything on get-away day was going to be a gift. The RC on our north course was patient enough to give us a 12:45-ish, 4 leg start that they then mercifully shortened to an upwind-finishing 3 legger.

Face it: somehow Screwpile, with all its deficiencies: lack of breeze, a North Course with amazingly few tactical options, crappy PHRF assignments and, more often than not, stultifying heat is ALWAYS a good time.

Some comments on this year’s event are in order though:


BAD IDEA: having the party on a parking lot in 95-100 degree weather. Figure on the asphalt surface being 30-50 degrees hotter. You do the math






GOOD IDEA/BAD IDEA: having a pool nearby as an alternative to going and standing on a 135 degree frying pan. Great idea for crispy sailors...lousy idea for vendors and bands.







GOOD IDEA: boom awnings. This one on "Problem Child" was among the most envied, complete with rear vestibule and tassels. The operate word on boats without awnings Tuesday am was: fry.

the home depot version: slightly less attractive, but equally, if not more, effective...even without the tassels.




GOOD IDEA: and wonderful execution. Tim Wilkes booth at the tent, where racers could see the day's shots instantly from massively fast servers where theimages were correctly identified and wonderfully captured. Tim does dynamite work, and his set-up at the event was spot-on.






GOOD IDEA: blow up toys. Bring a lot next year...no real weight on the boat during races and tons of amusement in the lulls.







BAD IDEA: having any illusions about being able to compete with this A3 boat. Congrats to the 999'ers.








JURIES STILL OUT: having people drink a bunch and then blow their brains out in 100+ heat index condits. Oh well...















You walk along this shoreline this morning, you may come across the remnants of last night's carnage from the last race in the joint NPSA/RCRA summer series. This would be in the form of shredded AIRX and 3/4 ounce nylon.

Screaming beamer reaching at 8-9 kn. under a heavy number 1, we on Dire Wolf spotted a bunch of healthy round-ups and no less than two blown spinns, upwind of us, with a 40 foot pennant on display for a solid 20 minutes. We were too far from the carnage to identify the boats, but we hope the damage to the wallet isn't going to be too deep for those involved.

All in all it was a great night out and huge props to "Full Deck" for providing nearby storm cell info and for all the boats from RCRA who made it across the river to race the series with NPSA!








Screwpile: just the name summons up visions of shockingly outrageous hedonism: bands, drinks, sailors on vacation, wild cavorting under the tent, the 12 ounce flu, and red bull laced with ibuprophen. "What happens at Screwpile, stays at Screwpile," as someone on the SailingAnarchy forum put it, yesterday.






(all images from Screwpile 2004)









Oh...and there might be some sailboat racing, too.

Or, at least we hope there will be. Looking at the WX for the 3 day event, the outlook is bleak for anything resembling a gradient breeze...so we'll pray for a sea breeze.

Whatever, Screwpile is a blast whichever way you serve it up. We'll have details about the event next week.






MYSTERY MACHINE...what happens when a once-fast boat goes canine?


Bay Boyz syndicate sailors ganged up and raced Havre de Grace's J24 Pink Moon Regatta in mid-June on hull number 4201 with Tom Schwartz. Tom did very nicely in HdG's Spring Series, winning the series on this boat, at least in the provisional scoring, so we were pretty psyched about the regatta.

Day one, after dialing in a 3rd for the first race (first of 8 races), the crew figured it was looking good for a run at the podium...that is until the second and third races were over...in which case a noticeable lack of boatspeed was causing some serious head-scratching. It got so noticeable, in fact, it resulted in a crew member diving over to check the appendages. Nothing alarming found.

Day two, still pretty slow, and frustration levels start becoming high.

Boats we always did well against on Thursday nites are suddenly eating our lunch! WTF???

This probably happens to everyone once in a while...the boat feels loggy and you have a critical mass of brain-power in the cockpit at wit's end trying to figure out why! So you start tweaking stuff and things might get better incrementally but all in all you're stll sucking everyone else's wind. Talk about aggravating. Especially at a weekend event where everyone has plunked down some coin for rooms and petrol and entry fees and such.

In this case it was as simple as a headsail that had finally, and rather suddenly, come to the end of its useful life. But it makes you want to pause to consider the next time...is it worth going to a "bigger" event without being totally prepared? We learned a lesson the hard way back at Screwpile in 2004, when we entered with one sail in our inventory that was borderline shot...and of course it was the one sail we needed for the entire event.


24's get ready for Day 2 at HdG's Pink Moon regatta. Some folks were more ready than others.










Gotta be more like boyscouts, I guess....






NPSA...a tradition continues

NPSA continues to be the place to relax and actually have fun racing sailboats.

Ah...I don't know these people.








And after 20 months of just laying around in some yard trying to get someone to FOOL with her, "Dire Wolf" is back on the course with a reunion of most of the crew that won First Place Overall in spinn fleet in 2003.

I think we hit 12-13 kn that night in the big roundup stew, after the predicted 10-14 went to 18-22. Good times!







SIZE QUEENS need not apply.

Little boats at HdG

People in my racing circles have been debating lately, with good merit, the wisdom of downsizing from their racer/cruisers to something that allows access to a decent OD Fleet and costs less in terms of crew recruitment and overall budget requirements such as slip fees and maintainence, etc.

Watching the starboats at HdG power up in 8 kns adds another level of intrique, as does the Etchells fleet in Annapolis.

The old saying, "Big boats for 'round the isalnds, little boats for 'round the buoys" is making even more sense these days for folks who, basically, have no time for cruising.

Most of the people we see racing on small boats are smiling. Is that a "tell?"













(portsmouth fleet gets ready for the line-up at HdG)
















maybe at 40,000 feet, as evidenced by these ice crystals, forming as a high cloud top blows off 8 miles high and 25 miles away.






Unfortunately, none of it came to earth anywhere near Havre de Grace on Friday evening, as the Hospice Cup fleet sat around and amused themselves while waiting for wind. Thankfully, the RC sounded the Give-It-Up call early, just in time for the fleet to get in while a decent 6-8 knots of air filled in from the east.



That's sailboat racing. Or not.






Paul Susie's new Schock 35, the aptly named "After Schock," was just delivered to Paul's slip yesterday afternoon and what do Paul and crew do on their shakedown sail? How about deciding to, what the heck, race anyway despite any real "getting-to-know the-boat-time" and going out and crushing the NPSA Wed. nite spin fleet! Paul and company took the gun and beat the big blue Jboat by almost 2 minutes, uncorrected! (both boats rate 72).

Paul's new Schock 35 is definitely not lacking in speed and should be a dynamite addition to the NPSA white fleet with the combined NPSA/RCRA races starting in 2 weeks.

Huge congrats to Paul and the "After Schock" crew and good to see you guys on on the course especially with the events of last April so fresh in our memories! (scroll down here, to April 7, 2006)






With Penwood 12 rounded, two non-spin boats head back to finish at "Myth."






La Luna Dolce...a sweet nite at NPSA



NPSA had their third race of the season this week and, ya know, there are some evenings that just serve to define how great this sport can be. Solid breeze, warmish temps, flat water and nearly full moon help set things up, friendly competition and cheerful crew seal the deal.


Ursa Orion and Flying Fish discuss their relative sail trim close in, toward Ft Howard, a place that screams Don't Come In Here to fin keeled spin boats.



If Annapolis is where old One Designs go to die, then Old Road Bay must be where old cruising designs go for ressurrection. I absolutely love the Pearson Ariels that have an OD class forming and are now getting scored separately. Below, the Youngs stretch it out in front of Commodore Charlie Rouse's "Two Seas."







-----PAGE TWO----(older stuff from 2006)-------

Link here to NBAYRACING 2005 pages