Thursday, May 17, 2007

Wed 5-16-07

Crew: Jan, Steve, Clay, Chris, Mark, and Janie our new friend from Idaho.
Course: 10p-19p-TH
Wind: light from the NE and slowly clocked to the E.
Results: great start and we slowly out legged Joe Knolle's new Beanetau, Patience. Everyone seemed to have a great time.

Mother's Day Sail

Bravely Jan announced that she did not want any gifts or anything special for Mother's Day. She would prefer to put that money towards some needed cruising gear. Even more bravely I did as she instructed. Any prudent husband usually ignores such requests.

We went to Clay and Krystal's couples shower. It was great fun and we did not get away until after 4 pm. We came home, threw some food in a bag, and headed for the boat. The wind was light. There was a large high pressure system drifting overhead. It ruined the Velocity Games but made a great weekend. We motored all the way over to Shamrock Cove and dropped anchor about half mile offshore outside just in time for a great sunset. The evening breeze was delightful and surprisingly cool for May. By morning the wind had swung around to the west and pushed us up close to the beach. Shamrock Island is a bird sanctuary. It is wonderful to see how busy birds can be went they are just being birds and not worried about predators.

After a few chores I weighed the anchor and we headed home. Even is such light conditions getting the anchor on board and stowed was a big chore. Job One before the big cruise will be installing a proper anchoring system. I am going to go against all advice and use a manual windlass. Electric windlass are hugh power drains and a good way to start a fire when 100 amps surges thru salty wires and connections. Besides I do not see how an electrical motor can survive the repeated salt water dunkings. In a heavy seaway White Pepper will take every wave over the bow. I will get criticisms, but then I will be the one on the bow cranking every morning.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Race Committee

5-09-07 White Pepper was race committee for the Wed. night race. Danny, Steve, Jackie, Chris came down to help. Thanks. Paloma and Jackie raised the flags. The course was 6p-TH. There were only 10 boats on a lovely May evening. I wonder if MORF is finally dying? Of course, that has been predicted for years, but maybe it's true this time.

Friday, May 4, 2007

A windy Wed. nite

After the disasters of last weekend I half did not expect anyone to show up for Wednesday night May 2, 2007. The wind was easily 22+and the sky overcast. However, turnout was great. We had Jan, Kelli, Rudi again, Clay came for the first time in months, Mark McNamara showed up, Steve, and Robert--back from a successful triathlon campaign. David from Krogen jumped on at the last second.

It was Danny's birthday and he came with Skeeter.

With all that foredeck talent and rail meat I elected for an all sails start. The course was 3p-19p-TH. Things went very well. Steve pointed out that the boat was much faster on starboard tack. I wonder if the mast is not centered or if that cooling shoe is really dragging the boat down that much on port tack. We got the tie-dye spinnaker up in brisk air and had a great ride home. We did not quite hit 9.0 , but came close. Race results are still not available.

After a quick birthday celebration for Danny it home to bed early. That is a optimum outcome of Wed. nite.

The 2007 Port Aransas Race: a difficulty

The White Pepper was ready for her first serious race in nearly 10 months, unfortunately her skipper was not equally ready. We had a great crew: Kellie, Chris, Jan, Rudi, Danny Lyberger, Skeeter, Steve, Janet Freeman from Austin, John Hornung, Danny Adams--my best med school buddy, Krystal Lite from Dallas, and at the last minute up walks Trent McBride. Actually we were over the crew limits.

The wind was 20+ knots from the east. I called for the "beast"--the carbon fiber 150% and a reefed main. After a perfect start we had every boat in the fleet for about 30 minutes. Then great problems! I fouled a boat and had to do a 360 turn. Later I over stood the weather mark because I could not believe how high the beast could point the boat. By the time we got into the Corpus Christi ship channel it was hopeless. Also the wind was dead down the channel. We could have tacked the 150% sixty times and gone from dead last to last. Considering the fragility of carbon fiber I estimate each tack would take $50. to $100 out of the sail. I fired up the engine and motored the rest of the way to Port A.

I guess we won the party, but there was little competition. We had to leave Shortie's after John Horning upset one of the patrons. Hotel White Pepper slept about seven of the crew. Jan said the snoring was bad.

The Ladies Race was an equal disaster. We were late for the start and took forever to set the chute. Inexperience really showed. The race home was very fast. We were in the high 7's in the channel and then in the 8's in the bay as the wind came around to the beam. At the jibe mark I did not have the nerve to organize a screaming dangerous heavy air gybe as it was blowing about 25 by this time and we were again dead last. We finished under plain sail. The CC Boat Show was finishing up and two helicopters were flying around at very low altitude filming advertisements. I am sure the White Pepper will show up on cable TV as background soon.
Again we had a good party, but I did not even bother to check the race results.

The Port Aransas Race is a shadow of what it was 20 years ago, but still I would have wanted to do better. The way forward is practice and drill. Some of the newer crew said they would be game to go out on weekends. Hopefully, we can organize something.