SAIL DOOGIE

Archive for June, 2010

by on Jun.29, 2010, under Uncategorized

We raced from Dunkerque to Calais today. It was a 21 mile course. We started with a short up and down before point towards Calais. Our first start was a general recall as the 3-4 knot current carried the whole fleet over the line. Second start was clean. We again struggled to get off the line but quickly found some clean air and were right in the upper half of the pack. It was a 1 mile beat to the top mark but it went quickly with 3-4 knots of current pushing us. Now the current always make racing a little more interesting but throw in a Starbord weather mark rounding in there and yahoo! We were over stood on the port layline and getting set up with current. However, the fleet compressed and things went wrong and we ended up ducking a few boats and to gybe around to get back on the right side of the mark. We rounded, set the kite and quickly jibed to try and get out of some of the current. The plan worked and we were able to just get around about 15 boats. The bottom mark was another pile up with everyone trying to make it around without hitting the mark and fighting the current. Now we started a long upwind slog for 4 hours to Calais. The race was just short enough so that it was full hiking the whole way up. It was tricky picking the right lanes between shift and current. We ended up 11th. Again, not a disaster but we are aiming for much better. Tomorrow we are racing a few windward leeward’s here in Calais.
The prestart action is definitely a different style with all this current. I thought the days of sailing in the SF bay would be the similar but this is on a different scale.

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by on Jun.28, 2010, under Uncategorized

I’ve been in Dunkerque, France for just under a week now and have been plenty busy. Immediately after arriving I began helping to get the boat through measurement and all the safety inspections for the Tour. Not an easy accomplishment since it seems some rules are written on the spot.
We’ve had 2 days of windward leeward racing here in very light air and strong currents. Every morning starts with dock off at 8:30 am to make the locks. By the time we clear the locks and are out to see, it is about 10 am. First start at 10:30 am so we don’t have much time to screw around. The current here is something fierce, with some very large tides. We are currently sitting in 8th after 3 races. We have some work to do on the starts but our speed seems ok. We have had some rough starts and have managed to claw our way back through the fleet.. Tomorrow is our first “distance” race but it is only about 21 miles long. It will be light air and upwind. We will start with a favorable current but there is a good chance that the anchor could be deployed for the race. We have to carry 2 anchors for this event. One anchor is sealed and cannot not be used unless in an emergency. If the seal is broken, we will receive a penalty. There are a few things on the boat that have seals so that we cannot move them but the rest of the gear is a free for all. So these little Farr 30’s are equipped with a small stacking system downstairs and our gear all sorted into a few bags for easy stacking.
Off to get some rest.

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Tour 1

by on Jun.25, 2010, under Uncategorized

I have been in France several days now getting ready for the Tour de France a la Voile. The process of getting a boat ready to sail in the Tour is a lesson in patience. We have been working hard to satisfy all the safety criteria and many rules seem to be written on the spot. We had a few surprises but we got through and will be allowed to sail. Tomorrow is the prologue race. This race doesn’t count in the score but is mandatory. Yes, the Tour is full of these contradictions. The weather up here is great right now. Sunshine and 70’s had been the flavor of the week. The official racing starts on Sunday with windward/leeward races.

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Pre Bermuda Race

by on Jun.17, 2010, under Uncategorized

We’ve had a busy few days here in Newport getting ready for the Newport Bermuda Race.
First off, we ended up winning last weekend’s regatta. We had only 1 race on Sunday in 9-13 knots but with wind against waves. We were all nervous about breaking a kite downwind on the 3 lap course they set. First run went well expect that we damaged the kite in the takedown. Second run we hit a few waves hard about 4 minutes from the bottom and the kite blew up. We had talked about this happening and were quick to recover. We quickly had our back up kite up and working and then got the old kite down. We had a decent leeward mark rounding and held second place for the race. We were happy with that finish considering we broke the kite. For the last few days we have been working hard in getting the boat offshore ready. Waterproofing, changing out parts, modifying… The list seems endless on these boats. But the start date and time are not moveable and tomorrow afternoon we start racing to Bermuda. The race will be light to moderate and mostly upwind and reaching.
We will have a race tracker on the boat so you can follow the race at http://www.bermudarace.com
I won’t be spending much time in Bermuda as I have a flight out on Tuesday for France to race in the Tour de France a la Voile.
See you all later,
Doogie

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3 race today

by on Jun.12, 2010, under Uncategorized

3 races today on the Bella Mente with some good results. The breeze varied from 9 to 16 knots keeping us on our toes to make sure we were in the right gears. We scored a 1,1,1. We had some solid boat handling with some great string drops. We have some new people on the crew so we have been working hard to get everything clicking the right way. We still have some issues to work out in getting our mark roundings cleaned up but atleast we are on the right path.
We have a few more races tomorrow and then we start getting ready for the Bermuda race which starts on Friday.

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Racing – Le havre

by on Jun.04, 2010, under Uncategorized

Sorry for the lack of updates. It has been busy here. We had 3 races yesterday in about 16-20 knots. It was a great day of racing. We got a 4th in the first race and in the second had one of the biggest clusterf*** at the bottom mark I ever had. Some current, mis-communication and a gybe in bad air resulted in a complete screw up. It was good to get it done now. We had restructured our leeward mark organization a little and are running a little more conservative. Today we had 4 race in lighter air. This first race started in about 8-9 knots. The max for the day was about 12. We had a 4,6,7,8. Not great but useable scores. As the Tour approaches all the teams are getting a feeling for each other. The 8 was a second for awhile until we boned the run and lost quite a few boats. We have also had some good starts but also have proved that we can come back from a bad start. Tomorrow we head off on a distance race. Forecast is light so it might take us awhile. This will again be good practice to get a feel for sailing these boats at night again and settling in on longer legs.

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Le Havre, day before race day.

by on Jun.02, 2010, under Uncategorized

We have had 2 days of decent practice in Le Havre. Yesterday was quite light and lots of current. Today we had a little more breeze (up to 12-13) and no rain. Which was a nice treat.
We’ve also been doing some small projects here and there getting ready for the Tour. Today’s after sailing exercise was getting the tent up and going. This will be our dinner tent at all the stopovers so we all took time to get familiar with how to set up and do a few mods to it so that it can hold up when the wind and rain kick in full force. The team is gelling and we are getting on well. We are all looking forward to the approaching date of the start of the race. But there is still lots to do before that.
Tomorrow is the first day of racing of Normandy Sailing Week.

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