2012 WNR Series 1 Race 3

It was grey, high chance of rain, with likely thunderstorms. Light winds were promised for the evening, except “wind and waves higher in thunderstorms”.

With Tim on work travel, crew was TimP, Garrett, and Brian. We made it to the start with enough time but not a lot of time. (We don’t know how to act when we have a lot of time.) We got the new D1 course with four other Albergs: Argo, Asylum, Second-to-Nun, and Skybird.

We started comfortably on starboard at the boat end, which I fervently hoped was favored, with Asylum to leeward. Skybird got a good start, closer to the line, on port but tacked over close in front of us just after the gun. I think Argo started toward the pin. Winds were South at about 5kts.

The wind was light but steady for the beat to drop mark A. We got lifted slightly nearing the mark and did well on the fleet, including a close pass with Argo on port which forced them to duck right at the mark. I think they might have crossed cleanly but with light wind and short crew, TC opted for the safe option. We rounded in first and rolled into a bearaway set followed by a quick gybe. On the rhumbline to G5 we had clear air with Argo setting up shop slightly higher and 6-8 lengths back. After rounding G5 we found a boat slower than the Albergs. Unfortunately they were too far away, and the leg too short, to get above them but close enough to spoil our air and hold us back. Argo closed the gap a bit.

Rounding the red nun and dousing the spinnaker I did a poor job getting on course and we were slow. Argo rounded cleanly with good momentum and rolled over us while we trundled back up to speed. By this time the breeze had gone all shifty and I played catch-up trying to find a groove. Argo moved into a 3-4 length lead on our tack while Skybird split with us after rounding the nun. The breeze got shiftier and puffier and we gained some on Argo’s double-handed crew. Halfway to the Academy seawall Argo tacked and we ducked them to continue on port. Further out Skybird was looking good, having crossed Argo and I think leading the race at that point. Getting closer to the wall we started to see big puffs swirling around, mostly coming out of the harbor, and generally increasing breeze. (This worked in our favor. Though we didn’t know it then, the wind was busily changing its colors from S at 5kts to NW at 18kts.)

We tacked to starboard at the wall and soon converged with Skybird on port. They were slightly ahead before tacking back to starboard a length below us. We had just gotten back up to speed when the really big gusts came with gusto and the right shift showed itself in earnest. Within sixty seconds it shifted so far right that we were now reaching straight at the finish. With Garrett on the main and Brian, who happened to be on the jib at the moment, working hard to follow the 30 degree shifts and 15kt gusts we blasted through the harbor dodging a bit of moored traffic with Skybird close astern and Argo close to them.

We took the gun nine seconds ahead of Skybird, after only 50 minutes racing!

That’s the quickest WNR I can remember. And we all finished within minutes of each other; thirty seconds separated 1st and 3rd.
Full results here.

We quickly dropped the jib and motored out of the fray. A few minutes later we also dropped the main and motored home in light rain, increasing wind and 23kt gusts.

Fun times!

Wednesday Night Races – LinGin boomcam timelapse

(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.

Shark Fishing on LinGin

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.

A perfect day: 2011 Annapolis to Miles River Race

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.

Team Williams knocks down Charlottesville Marathon!

Charlottesville Marathon

Charlottesville Marathon

Tim and Mackenzie both finished Charlottesville strong and feeling good. Mackenzie was the youngest participant and, reportedly, dropped her dad around the 23 mile mark (no mercy) and finished at 4:12. Tim very shortly after at 4:15. Fantastic! I’m happy they made it and had a great time in the process!

Official results here.

Charlottesville, here we come

With the success (read: my back hasn’t stopped me) of our 10k effort, we’ve decided to target the Charlottesville Marathon on April 9th, 2011. Tim has done this one before, and the associated Half, so there’s some familiarity. It’s supposed to be a very scenic route. I think what that means is: ignore the “rolling” hills you’re trying to run and distract yourself with the bucolic vistas. Hey, works for me.

Camp Letts Turkey Chase 10K

The Camp Letts Turkey Chase 10K is a nice local event that is the camp’s largest fundraiser. The camp sits on a great little peninsula sticking out into the Rhode River, off Chesapeake Bay, just south of Annapolis. It was a good fit for us when we were looking for a local Thanksgiving Day event to kick-start our marathon training. And it benefits a good cause!

The grey drizzle wasn’t that inspiring but of course we managed to have a good time anyway. We had family visiting for the Turkey Holiday and the house was quiet and warm when Tim and Mackenzie picked me up about 7am. We showed up early enough to avoid the worst of the traffic. After looking around, learning the layout, finding the start line and generally settling in, we had some time to kill. Tim and I geeked around with Angry Birds on his iPad for a few minutes, holding it under the open trunk of his car to keep it out of the light drizzle. Mackenzie was smart enough to sit in the car, stay warm, and generally be embarrassed by her father and his friend. Andréa came out later to cheer for us, even though she wasn’t running. (When she does run, she actually wins these kinds of events!)

57 minutes! A new PR for me. I felt like I’d cooked myself at about mile 4 but recovered enough on a small downhill that I didn’t slow down much. It was a nice track, lots of wooded trails and not much pavement.

Mackenzie took the prize for our group in 51 minutes and Tim was a scant 45 seconds behind her.

Data from my Garmin 305 here. “Official” results here. (It’s a nice low-key event but they do give prizes, so the placing is important. At least to those of us in danger of winning.)

Fun weekend racing Alberg 30’s

The 2010 Bruce Rankin Memorial Regatta, the annual Chesapeake Bay gathering of Alberg 30 racers, was treated to clear and breezy conditions!

J churned out a great write-up on the Alberg 30 Racing blog.

It was breezy enough the race committee decided to forgo spinnakers Saturday. Probably a good choice; understanding our honored Canadian guests were racing unfamiliar, borrowed boats, the spin would have been fun but a handful. Here’s a little video: