(editor’s note: This vid showed up on SailingAnarchy.com on Sept 7th. We’re practically famous!)
Brian is always coming up with cool ideas and implementing them with MacGyver-esque ingenuity. For this one he took a tiny digital video camera and strapped it under the end of the boom. In post production using Final Cut Pro he flipped the image right-side up and sped it up.
This is a great perspective! It’s interesting to note that with a windward-facing camera, when we start upwind of the fleet and lead the whole race there’s only a brief glimpse of the competition after we round the first mark.
We race LinGin Wednesday Nights in Annapolis and have a great time. We have a 45-50 minute motor before and after and we use this time to catch up and generally hang out. Tim has fond memories from age 10 racing this same boat and loves that his kids are getting to experience the same enjoyment he did. Who knew how much entertainment we could derive from their fun!
They started with all three of them sitting on the boom and before long David decided that was getting boring and wouldn’t it be cool to jump off the boom and grab the mainsheet and drag for a while. They did that in turn, dropped off one at a time and we picked them up.
That wasn’t enough, here is the second round.
Video courtesy of Brian Palmer.
Continuing the astoundingly sailor-friendly weather trend this year, the 2011 Annapolis to Miles River Race was treated to…well, astoundingly sailor-friendly weather. Here I make a distinction between sailor-friendly and race-friendly; we’re often presented with race-friendly conditions that are uncomfortable, at best, for the sailor or sailor-friendly conditions that are difficult to race in. I might start calling this “sailing weather”: our local prevailing breezes south-southeast at 10-15kts, air temperatures 70-75, water temperature 73, clear skies.
I was lucky to make it to the race. First, after a long ten days of “too much work and too little sleep makes Glen a dull boy” I was spent both mentally and physically. Second, thanks to Linda’s generosity in driving down to pick us up it worked out Emily was able to go with us, too. Along with Scott, we made it a fun family day with Tim and Andréa and their kids Mackenzie, Darcy, and David. Spending time with my wife and great friends is a way to recharge, no matter the depth of my zombie-tude. I was definitely sucking more energy out of the environment than I was putting in. I’m lucky to have these people in my life.
At the start, with no race preparation, I was below reading the Notice of Race, checking the course, searching for GPS batteries, firing up & figuring out the new chartplotter and generally playing catch up. It is saying something about my lack of mental agility when you realize I was struggling to keep up with the movements of a 9000 pound, full keel sailboat on a 17 mile race.
What I heard was that we started not at the favored end but on the line with speed and going the right way. The ebb tide made the deep water on the left (east) side the place to be for going south quickly. We kept heading left until forced to tack by the large obstruction known as an anchored freighter, in this case named Vega Dream. This tack proved our lucky break. As the rest of the fleet was able to continue on starboard toward deep water, the separation/leverage from our tack put us significantly to right of the fleet when the breeze gave us a gift 10-degree right shift. This thrust us way ahead of the other boats and put us in the comfortable position of simply doing a loose cover of the nearest boats for the rest of the 7-mile beat to Bloody Point light.
After Bloody Point and the reach to the second mark we popped the chute and sailed in a relatively clear lane until the last turn. We two-tacked in increasing breeze up the Miles River and took the gun.
I went below and napped, i.e. collapsed, for the 45 minute sail into St. Michaels where we rafted with Calliope and Skybird. In the perfect weather and perfect anchorage we immediately commenced hanging out, chatting, swimming, eating, and the innumerable things that make up those times which we all look back on as perfect moments. I sincerely hope my comically ragged mental state doesn’t affect the clarity and longevity of the memories I will keep of this day.
With Tim away on bidness, Garrett, Brian, David, MJ, and I took LinGin out into a no-wind Severn River on an otherwise beautiful evening. It had been 0 knots, gusting to 1 all afternoon. The high pressure had been passing near, but not over, Annapolis long enough to clear the air and calm the water. Glassy and still makes great motoring, we got to the start area with twenty minutes to spare, but less than exciting racing. Challenging, yes. Fun, yes. Exciting, not so much. But for my first race at the helm this year too little breeze is a lot less stressful than “boat loads” of it.
Ghosting around behind the starting area we learned how little wind there was…and what air there were, t’were out of the east. Very gently out of the east. Of course we got the very shortest course, A1.
As the last starters, the Albergs have the luxury of watching every other fleet start and gauging their success. As it turns out the pin-end was heavily favored and even with watching for over fifteen minutes I still failed to get us even on the pin half of the line. Well at least we were on the line with “speed”. Plus we were on starboard and we were gonna use it like a club on anyone who dared get in our way.
All five Albergs passed well clear ahead on port. Dang.
By five minutes into our race we’re still on starboard, what felt very much like the wrong tack, heading for Greenbury Point and the fast boats who started thirty minutes before us are already a pretty procession of starboard tack spinnakers heading for the red nun. This put us right between them and the mark. We’d sailed about 250 yards by now. Brian pointed out we could keep going until we’re able to tack above to avoid being shadowed by them for our whole upwind leg. I liked that idea so we kept going, realizing that taking a flyer five minutes into a race is nobody’s idea of smart tactics. But a fun gamble, nonetheless. On top of that, trying to call the layline from half a mile out, while the mark is mostly obscured by those same pretty spinnakers was a fun challenge in itself. We finally tacked onto port, above the spinnakers and right about on the layline. Ha!
The rest of the beat was playing chicken with slow-moving starboard-tack spinnakers while trying to lay the mark. As it turned out, we slightly overstood. I rationalized the longer distance sailed by claiming we should be moving faster than all the opposition who went all the way to the right. It might have been that. It might have been staying above the spinnaker shadows. Either way we picked up lots of ground on the fleet. While Argo rounded with a solid lead, Caliope and Second-2-Nun close together, we approached the mark on port only to meet Laughing Gull approaching on starboard. They had made the layline call well and left us no room to tack under them and still make the mark. But we couldn’t cross them either and I decided to risk the tack. It came this 0><0 close to working. What felt like ten minutes later, as they slowly trundled over us and we “powered up” after the tack, we were almost able to pinch up and round the mark.
We touched it very gently, on the stern quarter, with the tiller hard-over trying to swing the stern out. Dang.
We did our turns very slowly and set the chute as low on the mast as it would go. The breeze hadn’t gone anywhere but it hadn’t come in either. Garrett did a good job with very little and we had barely discernible boat speed. We sailed fairly high, outside the windex triangle, looking for any amount of flow. Skybird rounded behind us and set up shop to windward, hunting. For twenty long minutes we worked hard looking for anything that might get us moving. Skybird was still above us and Laughing Gull gybed to port early and headed the other way. We kept going and of course the breeze increased ever so slightly as the sun started setting.
I once again overstood the gybe and we got to feel a little sensation of speed as we headed for the red nun on port at a broad reach. Fortunately we had seen what looked like Argo dropping the sails before getting into the harbor and now realized they were finishing us at the nun. (We could not find the radio before we left and still don’t know where it is.) We finished 5th out of 6 and had a fine motor home…
…as the breeze filled in from the southeast. By 9pm it was a fresh 17-20. Dang.
We won! This three-day regatta is historically not our best showing. Spring conditions, i.e. varied, and strong currents make it a tough to be consistent across the eight scheduled races. This year our heavy weather boat speed was good. For a few years we’ve been working to improve how we depower in high winds and still stay fast. This year’s weather was the most perfect three days of sailboat racing any of us can remember. Usually at least one day is dead calm and sweltering or windy, rainy, and cold. Instead we were treated to warm, clear, and breezy (15-20 gusting to 25 most of the time).
Here’s a great write-up from J Bergquist. Thanks J!