Rum Race 09/19/2012
It finally feels like sailing season, the storms blew on through by four o’clock, and the temperature was in the low seventies. Seven regulars and a first timer braved the bogus forecast of torrential downpours To make the start window. Twenty fifth Rum Race of 2012, twenty fifth bottle of Malibu Red, fifty trips between Old Glory on the PVC post and channel marker #8. Seems like a sailor might get tired of the same old stuff doesn’t it? I admit to being skeptical, how is it possible to do the same two leg three mile Rum Race and not get bored? Never a dull moment, that’s how.
Ron’s Hunter 23.5
Andy brought two computer specialists to ensure his start time would be undeniably accurate. Apparently the rest of us are two minutes behind the times, and at least that far behind the start. Shortening the start window has certainly been effective at creating a more competitive start. Ron Semans and I sailed the Hunter 23.5 with freshly tightened rigging. We were inside at the flag with the whisker pole up for a dead downwind start. Unfortunately there was no room to be taken. Helm down, jib backed, and up we went, crossing at least two transoms before being able to head down to proper course. The breeze was consistent for Lake Monroe, and the Hunter seems to do well downwind in light air. The Catalina 25 and 27 just didn’t have enough breeze to get cranked up just jet. The Precision 18 stayed right with us, and both boats suffered as the Sea Pearl 21 tri went wing and wing behind us. I adjusted to try and catch a breath but it didn’t help. Eventually the Sea Pearl went between us and the P18 and then Fisk, who had wisely started last, covered us up with the San Juan spinnaker. By the rounding it was Andy’s and Diane’s Show Me, followed by Wile E, Brent’s and Maryann’s 29erXX reaching in from the other side of the lake under the big blue a-sail. Then Fisk’s SJ 21, Scott’s Sea Pearl, the Hunter and Greg’s Precision 18. Show Me was far ahead with Wile E closing in. The SJ 21 was directly upwind of us, but we were both pointing higher than the Precision 23. We tacked out from under Fisk, we were not that close but dirty air goes a long way. Then the wind shifted. It was a header for Show Me and Wile E, but they responded differently. The Precision tacked and the 29erXX bore away. Consequently they entered into that situation defined as constant bearing decreasing range, or to be more succinct, a collision course without inadequate time to respond in a seaman like manner. Brent and Maryann tacked, and flipped. Andy avoided contact but parked to ensure Wile E had no real problems. Show Me did penalty turns after Wile E was sailing again. We had gone to the right side so most of this event we learned about later, although we had noticed some close quarter drill.
On what we thought was the last tack a huge header forced us to go behind the houseboat that has been anchored in the middle of our course for months. As we neared the obstruction Ron noticed a dog, in the water, with front paws clinging to the boarding ladder of the house boat. Unbelievable, a good size Pit Bull, hangs tough on a swim ladder while some yappy little varmint barks at us for being We tacked to approach the pooch and started yelling to see if anyone was at home in the low rent yacht. Just about the time we were thinking about the best way to approach eighty pounds of wet, struggling, Pit Bull, and considering what consequences might be involved with tying up to some ones house without being invited, a resident emerged. At first I believe he thought we were complaining about his yappy dog. Eventually we managed to get him to look at the boarding ladder. As we sailed away, he looked down at his dog and said “what the hell are you doing down there?” Never a dull moment during a Rum Race.