The San Juan Christmas call out.

The San Juan Christmas call out.
December 21, 2008

San Juan Fleet 29 and others begin anew as the wife of one member is reported to have quipped “The San Juan Christmas call out.”

Multi beers encouraged my former student  to challenge me to a go around the buoys.  Not being inclined to deny the opportunity for any of my studentia to spank the pseudo-master in a duel of sail trim and hull speed I am certain that my acceptance of the previously mentioned chin gloving was most gracious, in fact since the recent appearance of Ralphie and the Dixie Chicken had inspired the self appointed acme of instructorship to actually sail the San Juan 21 Ollie Oop. It was obvious that the challenge must be extended to the  all current active San Juan sailors and  in fact anyone else that felt like bringing their floating chariot to the coliseum.  Times were approximately agreed upon and Sunday morning a gathering took place.

In addition to the newly reformed and nearly enough for their own start,San Juanfleet, the Vulcan Mermaid and Great Pumpkin joined in to run the gauntlet between the Romance markers and the eastern most Manatee sign, with a short but close hauled leg to the East Basin channel marker.

In the first race the initiator of the challenge (Just Us) started first and to windward, cleverly covering the afore mentioned legendary if not overly fast instructor. Around the windward mark, and Ol Yeller set a kite, with Just Us following suit as quickly as possible, (a little work is still needed here). The Dixie Chicken and Ollie Ooops traded windward and leeward positions with genoas and whisker poles for a while as we all began to hunt for a manatee sign reputed to be near Stone Island. The rounding of the mark was relatively uneventful and a starboard tack favored windward leg followed with Ol Yeller in front, followed  by the Chicken, with Just Us and Ollie Oops bringing up the back side. Shifts allowed the Chicken to overtake the generally expected to be first Kyle and Jeremy in Ol Yeller, while the genoa powered Oops managed to squeeze out a third over the conservatively head sailed Just Us.

In the next tribulation the wind freshened and shifted make the whisker pole useless. Ol Yeller kept their spinnaker up and stayed high on the mark, providing a lesson in how to leave the fleet well behind. Just Us also flew the kite albeit slightly less effectively until the building breeze forced them to wrestle their octopus to the deck and hoist the small but extremely efficient jib. The Chicken, having had no good fortune with the whisker pole and genoa opted for a spinnaker set that lasted a really long time. Ollie Oops managed to round the leeward mark well ahead of the Chicken and their colorful if not well trimmed chute, but Ol’ Yeller and Just Us, were long gone. On the windward leg the outhaul died on Ollie Oops and in an effort to compensate, the newly improved backstay tensioner was brought to bear, excessively in fact. The mast now had so much bend that the mainsail was completely inverted and useless. Effort to east the backstay proved fruitless until the helmsman moved to the back of the boat and used both hands to release the tensioner while steering with his right foot. Luckily for Ollie Oops the Dixie Chicken rounded up into tacking mode with little warning. I say this because none of the intentional tacks were nearly as quick or as smooth as the slamming over of the bow we witnessed in this particular incident. Ol yeller completed the day with a 2nd and a 1st. Just Us with a 4th and a 2nd, Dixie Chicken had a 1st and 4th, and Oops was a least consistent with two 3rds.

Big time fun was had by all, now all we need is a fifth SJ21, it could be you. If you really want to improve your skills, consider ignoring the handicap and get into the boat for boat scenario. Good Sailing.


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