"There is nothing more pleasant than cruising on a boat with the whole family."
Letter from Empress Catherine the Great

Sunday, June 21, 2015

May 26 to June 21 -- It's Been A Long Time with Little Sailing, But....

Normally the summer time is the busiest blogging time, but after 146 days afloat this calendar year before May 27, this is a decompression time. I do not feel the urgent need to get out on the water every day, not that nothing water related has taken place.

I have gone on two of the Wednesday afternoon sails with the Old Salts, the new name for the revived Old Farts. First on PC Mark's "Deuce of Hearts", a catamaran, and then on ILENE.  Mark has been instrumental in reviving this group this year. Four people came the first time and seven the second (me, Mark, Mike, Richie, Dave, Morty and Clara). And the G and Ts are just as good as ever. Both days we were graced with moderate light wind after lunch at the Club. The food at the Club is a bit pricier than last year, and the portions a bit smaller (which is good for our health). The food is simply much better quality and better prepared. On ILENE we cut through the channel behind Stepping Stones Light where there was very light wind and we were near a run, before heading to the Throggs Neck Bridge and back to Hart Island before heading for home. The wind changed direction with the result that we only did one jibe and one tack.

I also had a pleasant afternoon with Ilene, and Bennett and Harriet aboard their Beneteau, "Ohana". She moved nicely in very moderate air. Come to think of it, we have had a lot of very moderate air for June. The four of us had a good dinner at the Club after, trying out our new chef, Ann, who does good things to food.

And I crewed for PC Mark on Deuce of Hearts
with PC Erwin, visiting from Florida, and PC and Ms. Bob and Laura in the Club's annual Rear Commodore's Regatta, which was set up as a pursuit race of slightly less than five miles.
Lene and I had won this race on ILENE back in about 2008, on a pursuit-destination race to New Rochelle with, miraculously, only one jibe. In a pursuit race, the handicaps are computed for the given course in advance and each boat starts at a different time, reducing the collision-inducing madness when several boats want to be at the favored end of the starting line at precisely the same time. So, if everyone sails as projected, all of the boats should arrive at the finish line at the same time. ILENE had the biggest handicap back then and hence started last and passed every other boat in the fleet on the way to the win.
Alas, this year we came in tenth of twelve boats because we made two mistakes. The first was not getting to the starting line until almost a minute after our time. Stuff happens and this has happened to me. The second mistake was using the small jib until the third leg of the triangular course. Deuce of Hearts is set up like ILENE, with a larger headsail set forward of the jib; it has to be furled between tacks. With the smaller headsail we were just too slow. Another great feature of Deuce of Hearts is that the tack of the big headsail is mounted on a track and can be moved to port or starboard  from the cockpit to catch wind without messing up the wind in the main. We were untrained crew and the PCs figured out how to use this neat trick, but too late. I think Deuce of Hearts has a lot of potential to be a fast boat on the race track.

Part of the reason for relatively little sailing was the visit by Lene's niece, Barbie, her son Trevor (who we hung with in Amsterdam last June) and Anna, a 16 year old exchange student from Denmark who lived in Barbie's home for the school year. So we had five folks in our apartment and they made it very clear that their jam packed week in NYC did not include sailing. But we did see sailboats  -- at the MOMA -- Seurat's pointillist masterpiece.

And there were several days of planning for the Club cruise plus a Club weekend excursion to Sheepshead Bay in August, and Club participation in the July 4th parade up the Hudson with a full wooden replica of "Le Hermione", which brought LaFayette to these shores and participated in winning the battle against the British fleet that was intending to re supply and reinforce General Cornwallis at Yorktown. When deprived of such aid, Cornwallis surrendered to General Washington, thereby ending the military operations of our war of independence.

And four workdays, pickling the water maker, which we will not need this year, cleaning out the refrigerators and the bilge, putting up the new plastic enclosure to the cockpit for measurement for straps to tie it up out of the way in the rolled up position when needed and snaps to mate it with the sides of the dodger. Finally I did work on the solid cherry batten that holds up the ceiling in the salon, to accommodate the new hatch screen enclosure.

And arranging some sail dates, sending back the new stainless steel snubber line hook which was replaced with a smaller one that fits and holds onto the anchor line, reducing the cruising area of our insurance policy to save money and other boating related chores.