Following the windy Friday racing of the 4th, I was sore and bruised and needed some time to recover. Also a couple of days after that dunking in the Charles – coincidence or not – I came down with a bit of a cold. The forecast for WR today was green flag though, I was feeling brave enough to try sailing again.
With Elena running race control for us, the plan was racing in Mercuries. As the first racers were checking out boats, a non-racer was at the dock house looking for informal instruction. Come race with us! the racers urged. When I walked up a moment later, “Sonia, would you take someone for informal instruction?” Perhaps they know I like to give informal instruction, perhaps they thought I would be good at it, perhaps they were dumping on me. No matter; of course I was interested. “And race at the same time? Is she okay with that?” She was.
Allison had her green rating, but hadn’t bothered yet with classes. She had a little bit of experience sailing Hobie Cats. That experience turned out to apply well to Mercuries. You would think they’re pretty different boats, but a similarity is that neither boat tolerates sloppy tacks well. I think the Hobie experience had given Allison an appreciation of acquiring and maintaining headway through a tack.
Also (I’m writing a week and a half late, so I don’t remember well) I think the flag might have gone to yellow. Wind was brisk for green anyway. I like to tell new sailors that sailing is best with both theory and practice. The classroom knowledge is good and valuable but also sailing is a physical sport and there’s a “feel” for it. The feel comes more naturally for some than others and can always be improved with practice. With the nice wind we decided to work a little more on feel and a little less on practice. I coached her just enough to kind-of sort-of get us around the race course and we typically finished last (if at all) but I thought it was excellent practice for just getting the feel of sailing.
It was the first Tiller Club series race of 2018. In contrast to other TC races where I showed up on the dock without pre-arranged crew, this time I had invited Katherine to crew for me. Sadly, the wind was very light and surely didn’t encourage Katherine to come back for Tiller Club racing another day.
We started the first race relatively promptly in the morning, it was just a single lap on a small course, and it took the entire morning! It was the only race we got in before lunch. Much of the time the water was glassy and we had very few clues of wind direction. The steam rising from the power plant is a good visible indicator but it’s pretty far from the local conditions on the water. Shroud tell-tails were misleading if you only looked at the shroud and the tell-tale. You had to be careful to sight the tell-tale against vertical lines of buildings on the shore. It was interesting at times to sight the tell-tales of other boats against verticals on shore. At times the best indicator of wind direction was to look at which boats were moving best, see how their sails were, and imagine the wind direction that their sails would be properly set for.
After lunch there was a little more wind and we got in two more races. I didn’t do well in any of the races, which I’m sure also wouldn’t have encouraged Katherine to return. We were there though, we got some series points, we got some racing experience.
On a day when it snowed, sleeted, and rained much of the day, three of us showed up for Thursday women’s racing. We passed on racing and instead took out a Sonar together just to get some time on the water. Wind was West, flag was green but rather dark, with some vigorous gusts.
The track shows us leaving the mooring, sailing up the length of the basin on a single starboard tack, sailing along the Mass Ave bridge on porket, coming back, and then doing another half lap before getting the boat on the mooring by the posted time for keelboats to be in.
Here’s a shot from our Sonar on the mooring as our ferry arrived at the end of the day.
“Why is the title last minute?” I asked Stacy. “I don’t know, because we were doing everything at the last minute. We were late getting out on the water and then we had to be in…” Huh. Her perception, having more energy than me, was that I was just managing to get things done at the last minute. I was maybe dragging a bit and arriving at the dock not quite put together for sailing. Anyway, we did at the last minute, or last hour anyway, take out Sonar hull 1 for a short lap under green flag. I put camera on the boom and shot video. Here’s a link to a short clip.
I sailed on another chilly gray day, today though with a new gadget, a waterproof camera. First photos and video I took were all worthless (don’t worry, good photos and video will come) but I took some GPS data and made this plot showing me covering most of the basin,
It’s a start, hm? I’ll work on this and hopefully improve on it over the summer. Unlikely I’ll pose any threat to Virtual Eye, but it would be fun to try some of their techniques. I think the plot shows my first lap up and down the basin. It starts at the squiggly mess at the dock. I think the little loop on the way back was me doing a MOB drill to pick up a piece of trash in the water. It was potato chip bag or something.
So sailing was quiet and easy. Flag was green the whole time I was out. MIT history is showing steady winds of 8 mph with gusts over 20 although I don’t remember anything like that. I would have guessed steady winds at 5 with gusts to 12. From my track it looks like the wind direction was ESE. I sailed a keel Mercury, just because Kate and Pam were bringing one in just as I was about to go out. The most fun of the day was seeing a fleet of Frosty dinghies racing out of MIT. Cutest most adorable boats ever.
Update: a little more work on my plotting program: