Archive for January, 2011

final day

by on Jan.21, 2011, under Uncategorized

We sailed 3 races today in winds of 10 knots and under. To be honest, I can’t remember every race in every detail. Our scores for the day were 2,2,2. So better but not enough to win. We tied for second but lost the tiebreaker so we finished 3rd overall, with Numbers winning and Shockwave in second. We seem to have been able to make the boat go a little better in the light but this is still our weak point. Our mark rounding’s were clean. One leeward mark rounding was a small struggle when we had an issue with the string system. The string system has been quite reliable this week allowing us to take the kite down 1-2 boat lengths from the bottom mark. Our sets also improved this week, which had been a weak point for us. How did we make them better? Lots of little things: better turn downwind, less friction in the kite going up out of the hatch, better sneaks on the bow.
Overall, we sailed better as the week went on but we know we could have done better. A few mistakes here and there cost us a few seconds which in some races was all that kept us from winning.
However, now we are off to distance racing. Pirate and the boys are taking the boat back to Palm Beach right now where it will get modified for the West coast. It will have a scoop added to it and then shipped to Driscoll’s in San Diego. We will reassemble the boat over February and March. The rig will get shipped separately where it will be maintained, checked and reassembled in February. Our first event on the west coast will be the Cabo race in March. We have plenty of work and mods to do before then.
Stay Tuned,

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day 4

by on Jan.20, 2011, under Uncategorized

We sailed 2 races today in very light air.
For both races we again sailed with a reduced crew, taking 4 people off the boat.
The first race we started at the right end and were a little late but got to the line at full speed. We sailed well on the beat and rounded the mark with a clean set. We sailed clean and were able to keep the boat moving through the light air. We worked on some better staysail furl timing to improve our inside gybes. We were able to hold our time and finished second in the race behind Numbers.
Second race we had a good start but struggled to find our way. For most of the race we seemed to hold the same position. Shockwave hit the top mark at the first set and they fell behind us as they did their penalty turn. The race course was a 5 legger and on the last beat we went left while the rest of the fleet went right. We found some better pressure and came from behind to win the race!
So overall today was better but we still have some work to do. Tomorrow will be a good battle and hopefully we sail 2 races. The forecast is still for some light air so we will have to work hard.

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by on Jan.19, 2011, under Uncategorized

We only had one light air race today.
We made some small changes to the boat and sailed with 4 less crew in order to lighten the boat. We started at the pin and were lucky we were not over. We sailed all the way out to the port layline and followed Titan into the top. We had to duck Numbers on as they rounded the weather mark. We went ok on the run but were still not able to pass Numbers. We had a clean leeward mark rounding and worked our way up the beat again. Shockwave seemed to struggle in this really light stuff, a little like we were yesterday.
Our gybes were costly and we probably gybed too much on the first run. This is probably where we lost our time on Titan. We finished third in the race. Better but still not good enough.

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rough day

by on Jan.18, 2011, under Uncategorized

Well, today was a rough day to say the least.
First race of the day we started towards the leeward end of the line. We had a good start being nice and close to the line. On the long sail out to the port layline, we seemed to hold our own against Shockwave but Numbers was also keeping up. All 3 boats tacked almost simultaneously heading for the weather mark. We rounded right on Numbers tail but were unable to capitalize and they stayed ahead of us for the rest of the race. We had a poor result and finished 4th.
Second race saw us with another decent start on the right side of the line with Numbers just to weather of us and Titan to leeward. We had decent speed and quickly tacked, ducked Numbers and headed for the right. We again rounded the weather mark right on the heels of the Numbers but they seemed to slip away from us downwind. We definitely seem to struggle in this wind condition. We feel underpowered and we struggle to get to our numbers. The results show another poor result with a 4th. The boat handling went well but we had a small hiccup on a set when a kite sheet wrapped itself around a lifeline and piece of spectra on the bow. Nothing a quick swipe of the knife could not solve!
The forecast for tomorrow looks grim with not more than 5 knots forecast. Hopefully it’s wrong and the breeze will cooperate.

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Race day 1

by on Jan.17, 2011, under Uncategorized

Today was a day of highs and lows, very low.
The weather for the day was variable with some rain in the morning and the wind being affected by overhead clouds.
First Race: The call was to start at the boat and work the right side of the course. The line is quite short for the 4 boats. On our final approach, we had to hold back a little so that we would not be shut out by Titan. As soon as Titan committed to putting the bow down, we boreaway and started. We were at the line but a little slow, but we got the right. We worked a few shifts on the way up and rounded the mark right on Titan’s tail. The set went well and we were able to get a small tow off Titan wake.
Titan extended a bit on the run. We have a single mark at the bottom, port rounding and no offset at the top, so the course is a bit the way they used to be. Good Fun.
The bottom mark rounding was smooth and we had a smooth beat back to the top. On the next set, we had a small hiccup with the kite sheet coming the winch on the set. The guys in the cockpit sorted it out quickly and we were on the way. We held our time on the boats and won the race.
Race 2
Between races, the breeze started backing off so we put up the J 1.5 and sailed upwind to get a feel for the boat. Unfortunately, as we sailed upwind, we did not hear the RC make the call for the start time. By the time we heard it, we were quickly running out of time. We put the engine on, then had to hoist the kite at the 4 minute to get back down in time. We started probably 20-30 seconds late. The team worked the boat hard to try and get back into the race but there were not very many passing lanes and we had to settle with a last place finish. We also had a few mechanical issues with a winch but that did not affect the result. We are angry with ourselves for making this kind of mistake but everyone on the team kept working hard to try and get the boat back in the race, but it was not to be. So, for today we ended with a poor result but there are 8 races to go and tomorrow we will come out fighting.

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T-minus 1

by on Jan.16, 2011, under Uncategorized

We had our last day of practice today. Off the dock at 9:30 AM and straight into 2 practice starts and a race. We had everyone out there today, Titan, Shockwave, Numbers, and us. So we got some realistic practice starts with all the boats. We did this a couple of times and called it a day coming back to the dock around 1 PM. This will be a tight event. Not many boats in our class to get much of a point spread and Numbers is a quick boat for only 66 feet. Plus, they have IT (the Vanilla Gorrilla). So the pressure is on or else we have to listen to him for the next year.
Stay tuned for tomorrow.

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practice day 2

by on Jan.15, 2011, under Uncategorized

Today was another day of practice. We warmed up with a set, run and leeward mark rounding.
Then we teamed up with Shockwave and did some practice starts followed by practice races. The afterguard (Tom Burnham and Eric Doyle) worked on getting us in some tight situations at the bottom mark to push the crew harder. Overall, maneuvers went smoothly. One more day of practice tomorrow.

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practice day

by on Jan.14, 2011, under Uncategorized

Today’s theme was buoy race practice. We ended up doing lots of whether mark rounding and leeward drops. We pushed ourselves into some tight situations and the crew performed well. The day was very smooth with everyone fitting well into their positions. This has been basically the same group of people sailing together for quite a while now.
We had about 15-20 knots throughout the day, so that allowed us to work on our breezy jibes and going downwind with the jib up.
Tomorrow we will do more of the same but involve some other boats. Hopefully we can do some practice starts and races with the other boats.


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feeder race – overview

by on Jan.13, 2011, under Uncategorized

We finished last night around 1 am the Key West Feeder Race.
It was not as windy and cold as promised but it was still a good work session. We started in Ft. Lauderdale with the A2 in about 12 knots of breeze. In the first hour, the breeze built to 18 knots and with a few gusts to over 20 so we changed to the A4. We held that sail for quite some time into the night. As we started to round the keys and harden up, we went to the A3, which is a heavier kite made to sail the higher angles. We deploy it in a zipper sock, which adds a little bit of safety as to when the sail will fill. The set up went well besides us getting wet on the bow and head lamps shorting out. We struggled a little to get the sock to open up properly but a good strong pull with 3 of us (Snowflake, Mickey, and myself) was enough to release whatever was keeping it from opening. After some time, we went from the A3 to the Fro, a sail which served us very well in Sardinia, and it didn’t fail us again. It allowed us to get up to 130- 125 true wind angle and hauling ass. For the boys on the handles, it was a grind fest. By the time the race was over, most of them had been grinding for 9 or more hours.
With the FRO on, and a genoa staysail, we put reefs in and out a few times depending on the wind strength. Most of them went well except when the backstay bunjees broke and caused some problems getting the main back on the lock. It meant a trip of the rig for me, which I don’t particularly enjoy. Once sorted, we were able to reef back and forth again.
We had to put up the A3 again after getting lifted a little and then back to the FRO before changing down to the J4 for the last little beat up to Key West.
One of the challenges for us on the front last night was that there was so much water and spray; the visibility to see what we were doing was a challenge.
We were first to finish and won corrected so all the hard work was rewarded. We learned a lot last year doing this race and were able to improve quite a bit.
Today was for some rest and re-moding the boat to inshore mode. Tomorrow we start our inshore practice and there will be a few more crew onboard for this racing.

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Florida, Bella Mente

by on Jan.11, 2011, under Uncategorized

Ok, here we go. Long time since the last update, but it’s time to get it going again.
I have been in Florida for a week now working on the Bella Mente and helping to get it ready for racing. Our first race is tomorrow, where we will race from Ft. Lauderdale to Key West. The course is about 160 miles and it looks to be mostly downwind again this year.
We will start at 1 pm tomorrow and get in that night. The forecast is for 10-15 knots at the start and building to the mid 20’s by the end of the race. So we should have some good fun. The focus right now is on downwind. We have lightened up the boat taking minimum upwind sails and making sure we are ready for some downwind sailing and sail changes. Yesterday’s practice was a fire drill of 3 hours of sail changing.
We started by sailing upwind a bit on starboard tack. We have been working hard on improving the rig set up and we wanted to get a feel for it in those wind conditions (about 18 knots). We tacked over on port, bore away, and hoisted the A7 (a fractional kite). Then to be honest, it was a blur of trying different staysail and jib set ups while going down wind. We then sailed with the A2 for awhile, still working on staysail combos. Then peeled to the A3. After all that, we finally turned around and had a long sail back to Lauderdale.
As we are doing all this prep we are keeping our thoughts on the downwind sailing we will be doing on the west coast.
But, the focus right now is to do well in this race tomorrow and win.

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