Archive for July, 2010
July 28, 2010
We had a great day out on Monday with Brian and Tristan from the UK Halsey loft. With a nice gentle breeze, we were able to pull all the sails up, see how they look and photographing them. Then the sails went off to the loft for more calculations and a little overhaul. What a great place to get your sails taken care of! Thanks Brian and Tristan for your fantastic work 🙂
Thursday July 22, 2010
The Lake Ontario 300 is officially over and what a race it was. Definitely one for the record books. Not only did we have a record number of participants, but we had some record winds! OGOC and I had an amazing time. Here’s a little recap of the race.
The single handed division had 17 boats in it this year. Within that there were 2 single handed minis “OGOC” and Nathan Baron’s “Boy’s and Girl’s Club”, and then a third mini in the double handed division Philippe Laville’s “Pogo Loco”. As the minis are really hard to compare in PHRF to other boats, the three minis had already decided to have their own little trophy race amongst themselves. The “Wichard Cup” is our trophy with the first, second and third prize graciously donated by Wichard! Now we’ve got a 300 mile match race between Boy’s and Girl’s Club and OGOC. It was a great pairing up. Nathan and I have the same boats, but Nathan has years more experience with the spinnakers, and OGOC has more sail area… the game is afoot!
The gun goes and we’re off! Spinnakers (kites) are up and we’re pushing the gas pedal! As we neared the Gibraltar mark, the first predicted squall builds in behind us. Right… time to get the jib up and take down the kite. Whoops, timed that one a little too late. The jib was up but I was in the middle of the take down when the squall hit. It was a little ugly, but we handled it. “We” of course refers to me and OGOC! Fortunately nothing ripped or broke, and OGOC and I were able to get back on our feet quick enough and get around the mark before Boy’s and Girl’s Club. Phew… one mark rounding down and three more to go. The fleet then moves south of Toronto island and turns east toward ABYC. We were heading for Main Duck Island as our next mark rounding. A little past ABYC, OGOC and Boy’s and Girl’s Club get their kites up again. The breeze is anywhere from 15 to 20 knots. Things are looking good as the next squall builds in. Hmmmm interesting. What was it Ron Bianci said in the weather briefing? “When you see towering clouds build over the water, with the conditions that are presenting, you can anticipate incredible wind strength out of the squalls when they hit… 40+ knots”. Or words to that effect. Well let me tell you, this squall was building over the water at an incredible rate, and the breeze was building along with it. This wasn’t a problem… Boy’s and Girl’s Club was behind me… I’ll take my kite down when he gets hit and that should give me plenty of time to keep my advantage! In hindsight that was a lot of testosterone talking so to speak! When Nathan got hit I was again in mid take down. The jib was up and I was reaching for the spin sheet to take it down. We laid down on our side with ferocious strength. I blew off every sheet I could find and the pole guys. The wind strength was so strong that the gunnels and side decks were in the water and water was streaming into the cockpit. Gotta love those giant cockpit drains! The rig shook, the sails flogged ferociously, the kite sunk in the water and the boat wasn’t coming up. I’m standing on the side of the cockpit (rather than the cockpit floor), holding onto the winch ‘above’ me and thinking “why isn’t she coming up yet… she should be coming up… what’s holding us down?” Turns out the weather jib sheet re-clutched itself and we were actually “hove to” while being knocked down! Flick and the clutch is open. Wamp and the boat stands up like a top! I love minis! Tough little boats! Now, the kite has had enough time to not only sea anchor itself, but wrap itself around the keel and both rudders! Right… on to the next task of freeing that up. In the meantime, Nathan has truly shown his skills. He also got knocked down, but was able to recover and turn east and put the pedal down. He zoomed past me at an incredible speed and was gone over the horizon before I finished clearing up the kite. That’s ok… the race has just started!
After that we had a great ride to Main Duck and then south to Ford Shoal. Now the big question is… do you hug the shoreline, or do you head out to clear Rochester and head on to Niagara’s R2. The breeze felt light in shore and the forecast was for the breeze to go north. I went out and caught a great lift coming back into land further down the lake. There was lots of tacking back and forth as the breeze was on the nose. Nathan opted to stay inshore. Here’s where I passed Nathan. After that came Niagara’s R2. Which was predicted to go light in the breeze. Light! There was nothing! Not even a whisper of wind! Well that’s fine, I need a little break. There’s been very little sleep and the brain could use a break! Interesting thing about Niagara… it’s the gateway for the freighters to the Welland Canal. Oh goody… here comes one now! How do you dodge a freighter when you’re doing 0.3 knots? After sighting the freighter for about five minutes, it’s clear that I am in their way. Can’t go up well as an evasive maneuver, and don’t have time to get engine out… so what to do? Turn down wind and head back to the fleet. As the freighter passed ahead of one of my competitors, it looked like it crossed right through my path! The sun started to set and the boats from behind joined us. Is that a fathead main? Ugh… Nathan has caught up! There is always a chance of a great night breeze on Lake Ontario, and if I’m going to maximize any opportunities, I need to stay awake and hand steer through the night to try to keep Boy’s and Girl’s Club behind us. You know what they say… “sleep when you’re dead”! We squeaked through the night and got to the finish line just as the sun was coming up and the last trickle of breeze was dying!
What an amazing match race! Boy’s and Girl’s Club really gave us a run for our money! It was a thrill to race against another mini and really be tested to the max! Now for a trip to the UK Halsey loft for some much needed repairs to the Jib and a big thank you to Lori Mason from The Store and to Carolyn Burgess from The Rigging Shoppe both for their last minute equipment updates and replacement rigging for OGOC. Without these we wouldn’t have been able to race!
Tuesday July 20, 2010
Diane writes: I’m in! 7:28am. Gotta get engine on sails down etc!
7pm Monday July 19, 2010
At 6:49pm Diane writes: Woohoo! Rounded [Niagara Buoy] R2! Slow only doing 3 or 4 knots with 5 knots app wind. Cross your fingers the breeze holds! 😉
Below is a screen shot from Kattack just after Diane rounded.
4:30pm Monday July 19, 2010
At 4:24pm Diane writes: Well the sun is out.the gear is dry and I’m praying for a lift. I’m a stone’s throw from shore and in thirty feet of water. The gps tells me I’m 12 miles from R2 [Niagara], so pray for that lift! Looks like one more night. I hope there’s enough wind to get in on 😉
Below is a screen capture of the single handed fleet as of 1:22pm this afternoon. With the tacking, it appears the fleet is working hard to make what progress they can across the south shore.
9pm Sunday July 18, 2010
At 6pm Diane writes: so tonight’s dinner comnsisted of today’s lunch. I can’t eat a whole bag of this stuff in oner sitting. I also can’t drive and email on the phone in 4 knots of massive breeze and sloppy slop all at the same time.
You may be looking and wondering what the big plan is. Well I tried shoreline and there was no wind there with the slop so now I’m trying “out” such that it may be. The breeze is supposed to go south (direction rather than attitude) so I’m banking on the great circle route taking me to R2 [Niagara] via Rochester.
The coffee is good and running low as I dumped a significant amount of it on the cabin floor! Woohoo starting to lift… come on 280° mamma needs a big leg up the ladder!
See ya soon I hope!
Tim again: Kattack has a “quick viewer” for individual fleets, including Diane & Nathan in the Single Handed Division. Nathan rounded Ford Shoals (near Oswego) ahead of Diane, who rounded about 4pm. Now, it looks like Diane has caught up and is now pulling ahead by going out into the lake. Click on the thumbnail for a larger image.
7:30am Sunday July 18, 2010
At 7am, Diane notes: made it through yesterday’s storms ok. The first one hit as we were coming into Gibraltar Point. It wasn’t too bad. But just as things were getting settled out and it seemed like a good idea to put the kite up again… wammo! I heard some boats say upwards of sixty. Not too sure about that, but I know we laid on our side for a very long time! Turns out the jib sheet was slighty cleated! Anyhoo. When the kite came down it was UGLY. Ended up behind the boat and wrapped on a rudder and a the keel! All is back together with the exception of the jet boil where I tried to scramble eggs!
Tim again. At 6:30am, Diane was just south of Point Petre. Managed to get onto Kattrack Fleet Tracking, but it continues to have troubles. Not the least of which is Nathan a few miles ahead of Diane. Click on “Satellite” within Spot Tracker to see Main Duck Island.
11pm Sunday July 17, 2010
The Lake Ontario 300 fleet blasted past the Leslie Street Spit between 12:30 and 3pm. Lots of wind and a very fast ride from the start at Pt. Credit. We saw Diane ahead of Nathan Baron on Boy’s and Girl’s Club.
The race started in strong winds, squalls and some tough sailing conditions. Several boats have broken gear, more than 30 have dropped out, and the coast guard has been involved in one rescue. The weather has since moderated.
Kattrack fleet tracking is not yet working. There is a posting on the front page of the LO300 web site asking for patients and understanding. In the meantime, Diane activated the Spot Tracker a bit after 7pm this evening. It’s spitting out updated positions every ten minutes.
11am Saturday July 17, 2010
At 10am Diane writes: Well everything is rigged, run and I think ready to go. Paul has headed off and it’s time for me to shove off the dock. This is a great race and it’s going to be a blast doing it with 2 other minis: Nathan Baron on Boy’s and Girl’s Club and Philippe Laville on Pogo Loco. Looks like we have favourable wind for most of today and into the night! See you all in a few days!
Tim again. Diane & Nathan are participating in the Lake Ontario 300 Solo Challenge, being run by the Great Lakes Singlehanded Society (GLSS) concurrently with the Lake Ontario 300, doing the Main Duck Island course. They have different sailing instructions. 17 boats are registered. The solo racers are the last fleet scheduled to start, at 12:30pm today.
Phillippe and crew are racing double handed around the Main Duck Island course, with a spinnaker in division PHRF 1.
Also of note is Diane’s Bermuda Ocean Race crew, Nick Sellars, will be racing an Archambault, A 35 in the fully crewed IRC-2 division, also around the Main Duck Island course. Archambault is represented by Competition Yachts, one of Diane’s sponsors. Time for a Shout Out to all of Diane’s sponsors – Yeah!
The race organizers are using Kattrak for fleet tracking. One must register to use the fleet tracking. Suspect I’m not the only one trying to sign up at this time. In that their servers are not responding and expect they are simply overwhelmed. When I get registered, I’ll post an update. In the mean time, check out the LO300 Kattack Race Viewer page about the race viewer and how to sign up to use it.
Paul of shore crew fame has commandeered a vessel, a cheering section including yours truly, to watch the fleet pass south of the Leslie Street Spit. It looks like wind out of the south west, allowing spinnakers to fly, with the fleet passing by between 2 & 4pm this afternoon.
Great weather for sailing and all sorts of other activities. Enjoy your weekend.
Wednesday July 14, 2010
After racing OGOC so hard over the past month or so, it’s time for a little make and mend before the start of the Lake Ontario 300 on Saturday. A big thanks to our great sponsors! The Rigging Shoppe has organized a new runner and Lori Mason’s The Store has come up with a windex and a bunch of other little doodads!
I’ll be at Port Credit Yacht Club 1pm to 5pm today at C16, on and off the dock, and would be happy to show you OGOC, Boy’s and Girl’s Club and Pogo Loco. Make sure you sign in as a guest at the office when you get there!