Kettle Cup 2012

Kettle Cup 2012

This regatta has been going on for a long time. I started sailing in 1985 and it had been around for several years already as the Tangerine Bowl Regatta and possibly some other names. I suspect there are a few sailors around that could take us all the way back but they refuse to admit it. The first weekend in December has been home to the famous seven hundred boat Red Lobster Cup and the nearly as large Citrus Sail fest. The infamous S.L.O.B.S. Fest made its mark at the turn of the century. For the past eleven years, the Lake Monroe Sailing Association has hosted the Kettle Cup and what follows is a summary of this year’s event. If you missed it, we are really sorry and we waited as long as we could, but in the end we went ahead and had a great time without you.

Friday the last of November contained all of the necessary and generally anticipated drama. Will there be enough late registrations to make the numbers? How many volunteers will bow out at the last minute? Where are the tents? Will there be enough Catalinas for a class? We have been here before.

By the start of the first race on Saturday December 1, all the issues were resolved and even the weather looked great. I had been booted off my intended ride, but Andy Forrest had mentioned earlier in the week he needed crew and after a couple of, “I got somebody” and “ now I don’t” conversations, I landed at the helm of Show Me. My position as helmsman is mostly dependent on the fact that Andy seems to prefer doing everything and driving is kind of dull compared to being everywhere at once.

Our open Portsmouth class started first with the Catalinas and as predicted at the skipper’s meeting the Catalina class bunched up at the committee boat end of the start line.

Don Hoofring

Don Hoofring’s Free Spirit

Don Hoofring’s Catalina 27 Free Spirit was in our class and coming in high and hot to the stern of the RC boat. Since it looked as though I was going to be shut out at the line, and I was below him I suggested to Don that he might want to reconsider. As I luffed sharply to drain off a little speed prior to having to choose between Randy Pawlowski’s outboard and the transom of the RC, Don headed up and tacked away. Dropping back in behind Randy worked ok. We were a little slow, with a clear lane to the right so as soon as we passed the RC anchor rode we tacked.

Jeff Herter’s Vulcan Mermaid was at the pin end and getting gassed by the Catalina’s which held him back for a while. By the time we converged at the windward mark the Mermaid was ahead by a few lengths.

Wasp Waist

Wasp Waisted Spinnaker

Their wasp waisted spinnaker gave us the time we needed to park Show Me’s sail plan directly upwind and we made extra effort to stay exactly there all the way to the leeward gate.  From the gate we followed the Vulcan Mermaid for a short distance but the pressure looked better on the left side of the course.  Show Me came about and immediately started to wiggle through the congestion of the rest of the forty boats on the course. It was the correct move, by the time we set the pole for the final run we were well ahead.

Lots of Fish
Kettle of Fish

Sunfish take a surprising amount of space for being so little, but we avoided confrontation well enough to finish without penalty, and were pleased to have to wait for the Vulcan Mermaid to finish. I am sure that it was only my evil side that took such pleasure in that. As the San Juan 21 class got close to the finish, it was very exciting to see the blue spinnaker of Pete Owens out in front of Fisk Hayden’s red one and Kyle Everly’s white one. Pete is relatively new to the SJ 21 fleet and the competition is as tough as it comes. The Sunfish fleet finished with Joe Blouin in front followed by LMSA’s own Mindy Strauley in second and Pauley Strauley in third. Titusville’s Brad Ruffe had aced the Catalina Fleet followed by LMSA member Randy Pawlowski. The Raiders were led by Dave Ellis, and the open planing class was being dominated by the Buccaneer’s. A small little rain cloud had blown down the course and had helped the wind for us.

the wind was stolen by a rain cloud

Within minutes, as sometimes happens on Lake Monroe, the wind followed the tiny little rain cloud all the way off the lake. After an hour or more of staring at ourselves in the liquid reflector, the RC weighed anchor and competitors gathered at the tents near Wolfy’s.

Sunday started with no wind, but John Fox was in tune with the weather and anticipated the general wind direction which allowed for a quick course set. The Vulcan Mermaid had acquired an additional crew member in the person of Sharon Balsam, a recent graduate of U-Sail. Show Me picked up a dock wanderer in the person of Steve Hayden, world renowned Lightning Class champion. Seemed like a fair deal to me.

In the first race we started within inches of the Vulcan Mermaid stern rail with two Catalina 22s just to windward. Stuck as it were, no real place to go, just hang on, go fast, and pay attention. When the Catalina 22’s tacked away, we gave them a little room and then followed them out to the right, with clear air, good pressure and boat speed. By the time we crossed the competition, Show Me was out in front far enough. The second race was mostly about wind shifts and dodging Sunfish. The wind was much lighter, and I was concerned that it might quit like Saturday. Andy’s eternal optimism and the fact that Steve Hayden sees wind shifts in high definition Technicolor may have helped us in race two. Show Me had a couple of surprises, like Don’s Free Spirit driving past us like we backing up. The Catalina 27 needs more air downwind so we got it back on the run. The Vulcan Mermaid had some problems at the leeward mark besides running over a Sunfish. The imaginary string of that track would have tied a double bowline on a bite. We managed to eke out another bullet.

Race three almost started with Show Me well behind the line on a port tack, but real fast. A big wind shift, a capsized raider in front of the line, and last minute postponement, took away what I think would have been another big win.
I was too far out for the real start of the third race, and “a big lefty” pushed the bow too far down from the line to make it on starboard. I tacked a little early and had to pinch to miss the RC boat. We had enough speed to listen to John Fox say… “I have a long anchor line, I have a long anchor line, I have a long anchor line” prior to bearing away to power up. Vulcan Mermaid had started at the pin and several lengths ahead. The pin was quite favored because of the “big lefty” and the Mermaid looked to be in a dominant position. Show Me gained a little and by the last leg had shaved enough seconds off of the Mermaid’s lead to be within the handicap differential.

Shore side festivities were quite successful this year. The raffle and the silent auction should provide a great boost to the money being donated to the Salvation Army of Seminole County. Special thanks to Charlotte Jackson, Mary Jevitt for taking that on, and Paulie Kaiser, Kristen Cole for selling raffle tickets.

The amount of effort that it takes to pull this off is large. In addition to those mentioned above, I offer my personal appreciation to Mike, Pam, Andy, Diane, Fisk, Bob, Matt, Marty, Denise, Jerry, all the sponsors, contributors, contestants, John and Nancy Fox, Fred and Maggie Shoemaker, Bob Johnson, Vic, J.C., Rebecca, Mike McKeown and most importantly all those people that I have neglected to mention.

Sunset Harbor Challenge 10/20/12 Ocala Sailing Club

Sunset Harbor Challenge 10/20/12 Ocala Sailing Club

Rigging and Talking

Rigging on the beach

Please Note that there are in fact three pages to this post, I wouldn’t want you to miss anything!

Ocala Sailing Club’s third annual Sunset Harbor Challenge certainly got the challenge part right.Thirty boats registered including ten boats from LMSA. Nearly ten miles of the most consistent inconsistencies I may have ever witnessed. I have heard that Ted Turner said something along the lines of “If you have not adjusted your sails in the last thirty seconds you are out of trim”. At this year’s Sunset Harbor Challenge thirty seconds would have allowed ten such opportunities to be out of trim.

We have come to expect these kinds of shifts when the wind is very light but in this case there was pretty good wind nearly the entire time. The other factor that made it unique was the amount of wind shear. Basically wind shear for a sailboat refers to the fact that the wind changes as the altitude changes, or the wind at the top of the mast is different than the wind at the spreaders which is different than the wind at the boom level.  Wind shear variations on Lake Weir at this event were extreme.

If you are interested, there are some good explanations here., I especially liked this statement, “Wind shear in an atmospheric layer that is clear, but unstable, can result in clear air turbulence.”  Based on the evidence provided on Lake Weir, I suggest this might be understated. Several good photos were taken and posted on Face Book at the link below., I am sure more photos will become available in the near future.

Lake Weir has been a large influence on my sailing history.  My family started sailing on Lake Weir in the late 1980’s on a Mirage 5.5 named Hydromania when Ocala Sailing Club was a splinter group of the Ocala Beer and Rafting Society. My oldest son sailed on Lake Weir in his car seat when he was less than one and later rolled around in the V-berth while his mom jumped off the foredeck during a spinnaker douse. (She may have a slightly different perspective on that event). OSC provided the model for the LMSA Christmas gift exchange, which has become one of our premier social events. Ed Simms, Paul Straub, David Mooring, and John Hult are just a few of our long time friends from OSC and there are stories to be told about each. Unfortunately the current membership of OSC is so nice and friendly that it is difficult for me to impart my normally sarcastic and unruly descriptions.  Wait a minute, Paul is still a member, I guess there is always an opportunity. Jan Schumacher is a member of OSC that I just met this weekend, but she is currently one of my very favorites because she subscribed to my website and I didn’t even have to beg!

Sunset Harbor Challenge

Jan has the camera, Paul is in the yellow shirt

At the ramp there are trees, large unforgiving but delightful shading oaks. Some things change slowly like the trees at the ramp. These trees are more than willing to shed leaves, limbs, Spanish moss, and broken mast parts on the deck of the unsuspecting, uninitiated, and uninformed. I believe everyone escaped this weekend with nothing more than leaves and moss.

Mike McKeown from the Crescent City Yacht Club and I have figured out different but equally effective techniques to avoid sailing our own boats. I take so long getting my own boat working and then whine about not having any input for an article that many of my friends have invited me to sail with them over the past months (thank you very much). Mike threatens to sail a Walker Bay 10 in the planing class so people loan him other boats to sail to avoid infinitely long handicap calculations. Mike’s ride for the Sunset Harbor challenge turned out to be a Sunfish provided by Ed Simms, which needed a little cleaning, and since I had mooched a ride myself on Andy and Diane Forrest’s Show Meit felt noble to help Mike clean and launch the fish.

Before the start

Trim Mike! go for the line!

LMSA Fall Regatta October 6,7, 2012

LMSA Fall Regatta October 6,7, 2012 Friday night before the regatta, the regulars (Andy) gathered to perform the tasks that always have to be tended to the night before a regatta. I provided my usual supervisory functions and observations from an appropriate distance.

Fisk and Paulie went out to practice, something to think about when someone says, “How does Fisk always win?” or “How does Fisk go so fast?”.

Saturday morning, the parking lot filled with boats and people to sail them. A class of Catalina 22s, a class of San Juan 21s, a class of Sunfish, and two classes of Portsmouth, planing and displacement made a total of thirty three entries. My ride turned out to be picture taker on the pontoon/mark boat. Naturally I had do some boat inspecting…

Conditions were not the best, however it was not nearly as hot as is might have been and there have been days with less wind. 

John and Nancy Fox provided our race committee along with our own delightful Maggie Shoemaker.

Dan Flick and Michelle provided control of the windward marks. 

Denise Burchard piloted the pontoon boat for the purposes of start/finish line and leeward mark maintenance, with Richard Rayburn and Don Hoofring as mark wranglers.

I did my best to sit in the shade of the new bimini top on the pontoon boat and burn up batteries with my camera. There was enough wind to start three classes on Saturday before a large shift made it necessary to change the course.

The Portsmouth fleet had to wait until the course was reset and by then some boats were finishing. As a result of that and because of the waning wind and waxing thunderclouds the Portsmouth fleet were restricted to one race, while the other fleets managed to squeeze in one more. I did mange to acquire a few highlights, and I am sure they maybe appreciated by some more than others. 

Yes it easy to be critical, and these are created with the best intentions, In fact I encourage you to send me some additional captions, justifications or excuses if you are so inclined. You may have to click on the photo to get the description.

This last group of photos is after the racing is over, time to clean up and go home.I would like to thank Ed Sims for his kind words about LMSA and in this case especially, DJ Mcabe as regatta chair, for how well the regatta worked in spite of the weather.

Another successful regatta for the LMSA files. Stories related to the watching of the AC World Series and the fact that is was Mike Loughlin’s birthday will have to wait for another time. Light wind was the only wind. The score sheet is essentially a list of those who managed to find some and those who did not. Score should be available  on the LMSA site.

Crescent City Yacht Club Bear Island Regatta 2012

Crescent City Yacht Club hosted the Fifth Annual Bear Island Regatta to a record turn-out on Saturday September 22, 2012. Two open Classes divided at the 20 foot waterline competed to get their name posted on the Golden Goat Head Trophy.

The Trophy

Crescent City Yacht Club always provides a most genuine and generous venue. I had intended to bring my own boat but the universe chose to offer me an even better opportunity.

The search for a keel cable wire block to repair my San Juan on Friday yielded only a segue article between the Wednesday Rum Race and Saturday’s regatta. At 5:55 A.M. I was awakened by a text message of “I’m not going, good luck” from my potential cohort. My need for literary inspiration, lifted me out of bed, got me cleaned, dressed, and caffeinated and seated behind the wheel of the Suburban. It fell short of causing me to attach a marginally uncomfortable boat to the trailer hitch. Single handed discomfort in a distance race with predicted winds of three knots was less than inspirational.

On the road, in a minute

A convoy was scheduled to meet at Monroe Harbour Marina. I exited I-4 and said
Good Morning Lake Monroe.

Good Morning Lake Monroe

At the ramp three rigs had gathered, Show Me, Ol Yeller, and Vulcan Mermaid, were finalizing preparations, for the ride north to the Crescent City traffic light. It was still early enough that enthusiasm was limited.

Too early for pictures…

At the ramp in Crescent City several boats were already there or arriving, and  my intention was really just to gather some info, take some pictures and observe some of the wildlife. I suppose I may have considered the possibility of catching a ride. Vessels already rigged included the Daysailer Red Witch, a Hobie 18 and a SJ 21 named Black Jack that belongs to Pete and Susan Owens. I made some rigging observations and took photos.

clean clean clean

Wile-E, Just Us, White Hawk, Point Blank, No Not Yet, and two Windrider 17’s appeared rigged and launched prior to the 10:15 skipper’s meeting. The races was intended to be relatively long, with the option of shortening the course based on the first boat not reaching the northern most mark within three hours of the start. Pete and Susan offered me a ride and I accepted. Black Jack is really tricked out and I hoped to find something useful for my boat and possibly share some of my experience, especially in the area of spinnakers.  The reverse handicap put our start 4:31 behind the first boat, and we were several seconds late. Some others were much later than that. The wind was light but steady until we got North of Bear Island and the distance to the turning mark was much further than I had expected. Tactics became dramatically simplified, keep the boats moving. Pete and Susan were great to sail with, being well prepared for the conditions, and extremely hospitable.

Team Black Jack

High heat and no air can be very frustrating, good company was especially helpful to ignore the pain and focus on the possibility. White Hawk (C22), Point Blank (H23), and Just Us (SJ 21) went to the western shoreline, Ol Yeller (SJ 21) and Show Me (P23) were enticed by the ripples near the eastern shore line. The puff that was closest to Black Jack was right in the middle, so that is where we went. The west group got the first advantage and made huge gains. I thought they were nuts until I began to realize how far it must be to the mark. We were a little behind the east shore duo for a while, then we got a little puff and closed the gap. The next hour was an exercise in concentration and observation, trying to nurse every inch of distance, and every micro-knot of speed out of every gram per square meter of pressure. During a particularly long session of going nowhere Pete elected to change to the genoa, which turned out to be an excellent choice for us. After another hour of debilitating slowness the wind chose to ignore the west shore altogether. Ol Yeller and Show Me increased their lead until the boat speed exceeded the wind speed and they parked. We almost caught Show Me, and had an extended conversation with Wile E, as they rolled us. It’s very frustrating to have too little wind to defend. After two or three eternities Fisk and Paulie rounded the mark. Within the next hour, Show Me, Wile-E and Black Jack did likewise. The clouds had begun to darken and hints of wind trickled in, but it was a good while before any wind actually got to the boat. The first boat to get real wind appeared to be the Hobie 18 as it went up on one hull and then over near the east shore. The pressure landed on Black Jack at ten to twelve knots. The course was now a broad reach and the spinnaker was an option but not a very attractive one. The wind was puffy from some very dark clouds and having been slowly roasted for the previous three hours, I admit my heart was not in it. More speed may have been possible with more sail but we were finally cooking something besides flesh, so we stayed with the genoa. It became an excellent chance to explain “up n the lulls, off in the puffs”, and plenty of distance to put it to practice. Wile E had raised the big blue kite and finished somewhere off in the distance. Andy and Diane

My battens are too long too.

sneaked by Fisk at the finish, and Black Jack held off the Vulcan Mermaid. I am not sure that the exhilarating finish made up for the brutality of the first three hours, but: The company was great, the food was excellent, I did not stay to close out Three Bananas, but I know how that goes and it is best that I don’t have that much fun very often. I expect the Crescent City Yacht Club will post the scores. Special thanks to CC-YC and everyone that attended, supported, and managed. It was a top notch regatta. Extra special thanks to Pete and Susan for letting me tag along.