Jager Race 09/30/12

Jager Race 093012

The Weather Channel said the temperature was going to be 82 degrees with a “feels like” of 97.5.  I think the “feels like” use to be something called the heat index. I was not particularly inspired by the maximum wind prediction of 4 knots either. Curiosity overcame apprehension, and I know that a day spent sailing gets added on to your life. To the lake it is.

As long as I keep procrastinating about fixing my own boat, I have an excuse to sail on someone else’s boat. Circumstance has allowed me to sail on several different vessels in the past few months and it has been quite educational. This past Sunday I had the opportunity to sail with Kristen and Mike Padgett on their newly acquired San Juan 21. A variety of somewhat predictable but unavoidable issues that come with sailing a “new” boat prevented us from making the start of the Jager race. We did get on the water along with nine other boats.

Three other San Juans, Ole Yeller, Dat Dang Boat, and John’s Juan, did make the start. Show Me and Kermit and Panacea filled out the multidimensional Precision fleet, 23 feet, 21 feet, and 18 feet.  Free Spirit, the Catalina 27, Wile-E, the 29erXX, and Grounds for Divorce, the Mac 26M added the diversity that we commonly enjoy.

Typical outboard anomalies forced us to sail out of the marina, and the racers were well on their way to the second mark by then. We chose to join the fleet at the second mark, landing right in the middle. To ensure we did not interfere with the actual racers we made efforts to stay well clear.  Not racing allows a unique opportunity to observe. Brent, sailing the 29erXX, was out front, but not nearly far enough. No reflections on Ron, but Maryann’s shoes are difficult to fill. Fisk and Paulie were riding the windward rail on Ole Yeller as were Andy and Diane on Show Me. John’s Juan and Free Spirit had just rounded the second mark and were climbing upwind also.  Dat Dang Boat had found it necessary to withdraw. We crossed the Precision 21 and 18 as we sailed a modified reverse course.

The winds were very shifty and we had multiple opportunities to discuss sail trim and steering techniques. Off the wind we sailed a course and trimmed the sails as the wind shifted and changed velocity. Upwind, we set the sails and steered to the tell-tales, discussed tacking angles, and heel angle, and weather helm. It was a good review of fundamentals and provided a well received demonstration of how the “new” San Juan dealt with the mild to moderate conditions. At the scoring table I acquired a few of the highlights second hand from the competitors. Show me did manage to cross ahead of Ole Yeller, once, and any moments ahead of Ole Yeller are noteworthy. John’s Juan was actually raced with two sails. Extreme conditions have precluded that on some previous occasions. John was pleased with the acceleration his Juan exhibited in the variable breezes while dueling with Free Spirit. Wile-E only capsized once which is adequate for moderate celebration. Mike and Kristen and I cut some corners and dodge a few weeds to get into the marina, but docking was uneventful, all in all a successful first time out in the newest addition to SJ-21 Fleet 29.