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Old 30-09-2008, 00:12   #1
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Twilight Race

So we got ol' Relax Lah! out on Saturday for the twilight race. 6 boats out for a 5PM start which is good. Simba, the Dehler 39, Born in Fire and Jock, a couple of J24s, Kiss Me Again, a Benetau 29 and Slingshot an H24(?) joined us.

Good 5-7 knot breeze and the boat is really clean. We tend not to do well in stronger breezes. Variable winds let us ride the currents to create bunching and we get to kick tail on handicap.

Anyway, we got up a good head of steam towards the line the horn sounds and I look at my watch - Oh crap! We are a full minute early! Blush-blush.

We turn the boat around, give up all our speed and get back across the line within the minute, not bad, but after we turn again we have no speed. It takes 3 minutes for us to build up another full head of steam with our heavy boat and we are in 5th. Only Slingshot got a slower start but he is always single handed and sails a conservative race.

We stay towards the outside and the J24s have both gone inshore along the channel. they end up stalling in a dead patch and we are catching them up - pretty amazing as they we have 20 points on them in handicap and they should be smoking us!

As we approach Jock gets going and sails away from BiF. Simba - of course - is gone and headed back up the course after the first mark.

So approaching the mark Kiss Me Again gets through about 5 lengths ahead and we are - unbeleivably - overlapped with BiF! He is outside and we decide to protect the inside. He sweeps in with plenty of speed from the right and tries to duck under us during the rounding. We button hoooked and closed the inside lane. We come within about 12 inches of a collision. And that would have sucked because I might have spilled my beer. Jeez - This ain't the J24 Nationals bub! BiFs skipper is shouting expletives - at himself but with plenty of speed he just carries around our outside and 2 minutes later he is 6 lengths away as we had used all our momentum turning around and were on our 3 minute accel cycle again - LOL...

The rest of the race was pretty uneventful as everyone strung out. We stayed well in front of Slingshot the whole way and we sailed well. We had a reall lull at about 6:00PM and thought we were done. I was reckoning about 4th place in front of the Bene and Slingshot.

I was pleasantly surprised with 1st on handicap! Whoo-hoo. It was less than a minute between the top 3 boats and about 30 seconds on Simba in second. BiF was 4 minutes behind Jock so we beat BiF handily and Jock was 3rd followed by Slingshot and the Bene.

Unfortunately, that brought up the handicapping system and over beers we hammered it out. For the "club" handicap.

If you win you go down 2
If you get second you go down 1
If you get third you stay put
Everyone else who enters, and finishes goes up 1

This will create churn and give more people a chance to win. I can't argue. We've been lucky enough to be on the podium for the last 5 races.

The bad news is October is prize month. We are going to track the series over the next 4 races.

The prizes include a chartplotter and big screen tv. Damn just when we shoulda been sandbagging our handicap is adjusted down by 2 points - grrrr...
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Old 30-09-2008, 00:53   #2
Kai Nui
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Love those club races. Real people, real boats, not mega yachts, and everyone gets to gripe about their own stupidity now and then (except me, I blame it on the rail meat) Amazing how much action you get in those races. I have all sorts of stories Racing in fog so thick we couldn't see the end of the bow sprit at times, and having no electronics on my boat is one of them. 28' wood boat, against boats up to 40' and plastic, and I still won with no PHRF adjustment.
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Old 30-09-2008, 02:14   #3
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The best part is the arms race we started. One day my partner's wife decided to bring ballons on board. The kids filled them and we raided other boats while mooring after the race.

The water ballon fights have become as much fun as the race. The kids will toss them at each other on passes and roundings but post race is the big deal.

Saturday Simba came back up the course after the race. We were still racing but knew what was coming. It was a battleship after a Higgins boat!

They had bought pump guns, buckets and were loaded with balloons. They had 8 shooters on board to our 3! We got creamed.

Because they were motoring, they got the upwind advantage and sat there drenching us. The worst part was they still had the sails up and we sat in their wind shadow for about 4 minutes - We were still racing!

We won so we didn't protest but that would have been serious down-downs in my book.

And don't worry, we go around the course and pick up all the broken balloon bits ;-)

I am on the lookout for a 12V fire-hose pump...

The arms race is on!
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Old 30-09-2008, 06:19   #4
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Time to escalate the arms race, Dan. The "SlingKing"...
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Old 30-09-2008, 06:37   #5
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Yes! We've talked about advanced warhead delivery systems. Unfortunately the kids rejected my old jockstraps for some reason. Mom's bra got a little further with the obvious advantage of delivering dual payloads but for some reason mom nixed that idea...

Sling King has promise!
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