Saturday, January 24, 2009

Best Race of the Year... so far

The WNR this week was very exciting! We had five boats in our start where in recent weeks there have been times that we were the only boat in our start. We had purpose! Steve and Bruce were lit up! It's fun for me to listen to their strategizing and plotting. It's also fun when we start out relatively even with the other boats and then gradually begin to pull ahead. This is what happened this week.

Cute Shoes is really a great little racer. We were ahead of most of our competition by the time we were out of the "gap" in the breakwater enclosing our marina area. We were in good position above the other boats and planned to stay there.

Once we were in the bay, we were going upwind on a starboard tack. We had two other boats to contend with. They were right behind us and to starboard. We had to climb up above them leaving them further behind and more to port in order to be able to tack. Steve did a great job of "eaking" up without pinching too much. We were able to gain the position we needed well before tacking was necessary.

I'm optomistic that winter will end soon. We've had nothing but mild days for the WNR's... oh we've had to bundle up, but not so much as to make it un-fun. The daylight is gradually staying longer into the race too, making it so much better. It's nice to be able to look out over the course and see where the other boats are instead of just knowing that they're out there somewhere in the murk.

We rounded mark #3 with only the larger boats on the course ahead of us. (Larger means faster) We had a very nice ride back to the barn surfing the waves and chatting. There's not much room for chatting on the upwind legs. Steve's much more PC than Captain Bligh, but it's still obvious that he takes this racing seriously and wants to win.

We had another exciting segment after we came back into the gap. We had three boats to beat and we pulled ahead. It was a great finish and we're thinking we did well to be on our way to a trophy this year!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Beautiful January Day

Sunday morning found us snuggled in the V-berth on the boat in the CC Marina. We had all day to get back home. Just Bruce and I. The morning dawned foggy. Bruce and I went out to breakfast and then came back to the boat went back to bed. When we woke up again, about 9:30... the fog was gone and the sun was shining brilliantly and the winds were light. We dashed out of the marina to enjoy the day!

We spent it drowsing along. All was quiet and beautiful out there. The winds dropped to nothing and I watched Bruce faunch around until he could stand it no longer and started the engine. I got some reading done, we listened to music, we watched the birds diving and floating around. This past two weeks have been such a whirl, it was nice to get back to us.
When we got back to Port Aransas, we spent an hour or so putting everything away and packing stuff off into the van to be brought home. By the time we were done we were starving. Of course it was the perfect time for a visit to the Port A Beach Lodge for a burger and fries. The view from the porch there was beautiful as always. We enjoyed a lazy dinner and came back home to reality. I'm recharged for another busy week!

MORF Party 2009

We sent Mark and Laura off to get ready for the annual MORF party which was set for Saturday night at 7:00 pm. This is the reason we brought the boat to CC. The party was at Joe's Crab Shack. Bruce and I switched out the headsail and put the boat back in order and ran home to shower and change. We just made it back to the marina in time for the party.
The party room filled up fast with familiar faces. Our sailing community is small and close knit. I've only met one sailor here that I really didn't like. His name was Barry Brown. He was rude, condescinding, and a sailing "elitist". He did it forever one day when Bruce and I were walking down the dock. Barry noticed that we had a new bimini on our boat. This thing cost a lot of money and we were happy and proud of it. "Yes we do! Isn't it great!?" Barry said "yeah that'll make your boat go faster...". I never got over that and it kept piling up. This year, Barry passed away. His obituary spoke of a very different man than the one we knew. Now I'm not changing my opinion of the man, I try not to be a hypocrite... but I really wish we knew the Barry in the obit. Sailing in CC would have been better for it. Anyway, they renamed the Competition Cup in his memory. This is the award given yearly to the boat that wins the most points overall. Barry lived to win this award. Now, it will be his forever.

The party was so great this year. All of our old bunch was there, including Karl and Jan. They've been off cruising for nearly a year and have recently come back for a 6 month stay. Saturday night was the first we've seen of them and it was a treat. We got a chance to hear some of their stories about cruising. We had a full table of friends just like old times before they left.

Cute shoes won second place for participation. This means that Steve has taken his boat out to participate in the second most Wednesday night races. It's doesn't say much for the other racers in town as Steve didn't even start until after mid-year. We've got to get those people out sailing.

Cruisers Weekend

Bruce and I invited my brother Mark and his fiance, Laura to sail with us from Port Aransas to Corpus Christi Marina. We had put off the decision on going until Saturday morning waiting on the weather reports to agree with one another. Finally, we got a clear report that, although not stellar... was acceptable. We were to expect high 60's and light winds with overcast skies. We met at the CC Marina to leave cars. We drove out to Port A and got on our way.

We are really hoping that Laura takes to sailing. I know Mark enjoys it and it would be great if she got interested. I'ld like to see Mark and Laura with a boat of their own some day. Anyway, it was a nice relaxing ride over. Laura took the wheel for a while. She's a natural!

After a bit, she got bored with it and she gave the wheel back to Bruce. Mark and Laura both have the new i-phone. His black for "groom"... hers white for "bride". I know, I know... they're sickly sweet! Since they got the two phones they are constantly on the internet. I did get to see some of the wedding stuff she has planned. They're so goofy. Imagine it... out on a sailboat in the bay, drifting slowly along more out of habit than from actual wind... and these two are cruising... THE NET!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Interesting "tern" of events...

This Wednesday night saw us in our usual positions aboard Cute Shoes for the weekly race. The weather was mild... I've been successfully holding off the high winds and brutal (for us) cold weather by doing a little light voodoo. I had no camera along on this trip, which always promises that there will be something eventful to snap a photo of, that I miss!!! This time was no different.

We had a postponed start so that more boats could make it out in time. I guess the cool weather has everyone's blood flowing a little slowly. We were the only boat in the first start. Pazuzu, our usual competitor chose to go in the "all sails" division. This meant that although we didn't have an exciting finish... we did come in first in our class. Oh well... we'll take it. Steve thought we did well over all against the other boats.

Ok, so why the bird picture? Well, after we made the turn around the last mark, we were settling the sails when a bird, floundering around in the dark, somehow found our boat as a landing place. The bird, a tern such as the one in this picture, stopped over on the seat and found a perch atop of the outboard motor for a while. The bird seemed disoriented when he landed but soon seemed to get his bearings and was happy to just sit there enjoying the ride. He flew away when it became necessary for Jacquie to move towards him to trim the main sail by moving the traveller. Our little visitor flew off into the dark night leaving us to wonder about him in an interesting "tern" of events

Saturday, January 10, 2009

First Wednesday Night Race of 2009!

We went out with Cute Shoes for our first race of the year. Plenty of boats turned out as the weather was mild for January. We were in the first start with one other boat... a J24 called Pazuzu. We started 5 minutes before the next group which included a J44, a J30, a Catalina 400 and 40 ft Curandero. The start wasn't the most exciting ever with only one other boat starting with us, but the competition is still serious for Cute Shoes and we made a good start.

We went out the gap and headed for mark #10. The boat made good time with Steve tweaking trim. The evening was mild and it seems as if we are seeing sunset a bit later, so the dark part of the race came later. This allows us to enjoy the contrasting colors of the green bay and the marvelous sunsets. We were passed by the J44 on our way to the first mark but no other boats caught us. We rounded the second mark at #19 without being passed. Steve was lit up! The downwind leg of the race to the gap was up for grabs as Curandero slowly overtook us to squeak through the gap just ahead of us causing a flurry of excitement at the inside cans. We trimmed for speed and sat on the rail to the finish with two more tacks before the line. We wait weeks to find out our finish rank but we think we did very well this week.

New Year is off and running!

New Year's weekend was a time for Bruce and I to wind down from all of the frenzy of the holidays. It had been a long stretch of partys, work events, shopping, planning... I took off the Friday after New Year's Day to make a 4 day weekend to spend with my patient and wonderful husband. We had nothing on our agenda but spending time together on the boat.

The weather did not cooperate however... We woke up on New Year's Day and had our coffee at home. We did some shopping and made our way out to the boat. The only thing we did of much note was to drive out to the Beach Bar to have a delicious burger. They were very busy so this took over 2 hours. We found out that they had been closed for 3 weeks and had only reopened that day. The view was great as always and we had time on our hands so we weren't too upset to sit there so long.

We spent the night on the boat and awoke in the morning on Friday to a solid fog that hung on until well after noon. We lazed around the marina...took a walk around in the quiet that a fog imposes. I did some reading below in the V-berth while Bruce puttered around and cleaned the deck topside. I had some big unwinding to do and took it very seriously. Bruce gave me a free pass.

The sun came out on Friday afternoon and we took the opportunity to get some sailing in. I took a shower aboard and blowdried my hair "cruiser style". We sailed up and down the ship channel while Bruce tried out his new (to him) technora blade jib. (you saw this sail on the Christmas Day blog entry) He did some sail trim adjustments and tacked back and forth making sure it was going to work for our boat. The verdict is in... it's a keeper!

We were buzzed by a mysterious big red boat. They passed us slowing down and yelling "Happy New Year" We responded in kind, figuring they were just some drunk kids out joy riding in daddy's boat... they turned and came back for another pass and yelled my name! Upon closer inspection we found it to be Dave Behave! He's everywhere fun is to be had. Bruce credits Dave for our current happy life. Had it not been for Dave befriending Bruce when he first came to Corpus Christi, we would never have met. We are forever in his debt.

Friday night was another spent in time suspended. We had rain but were warm and dry in our v-berth cocoon. The wind was howling however and the day didn't hold much promise for sailing fun. We cancelled our plans with Mark and Laura for a day sail and decided to call it and go home to catch up on things there. We did take a walk around the marina and visit with friends Steve and Ann who had sailed over from CC. They've done some cruising and are always fun to talk to. While sitting on their catamaran, I was treated to a pelican's toilette! This is one of the best things about boating. You're closer to nature and privy to some wonderful nature moments. Check out this beauty!

The rest of our weekend was spent doing chores at home and taking advantage of some year end sales. I felt rested and restored after this 4 day intelude of laziness. This is good, because once I went back to work on Monday, it was off and running!