Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Bruce and I spent the Thanksgiving Holiday with Melissa and Brittney at their place in San Antonio this year. We packed up all the food and drove up on Wednesday night. I made some Wassail first thing. Melissa's cat must not see too much stove usage here as she seemed fascinated!

We had no agenda on Thursday morning. I threw ingredients for bread into the bread machine and got the ham going in the crock pot. Then we messed around taking pictures for a while. These are my favorites...
Brittney...

Melissa...
Bruce and I...

Melissa bought some wonderful pies from the Junior League's restraunt. Brittney did all the cooking. Layla begged non-stop. I think she thinks that if she "sits", she'll get a reward.

About the time we were all getting really hungry... it was all ready to eat. One last picture and we dove in. It's always a shame that I can't eat more than I do. It was all so good.
Friday morning, the girls and I talked Bruce into staying home while we went out shopping. Melissa showed him how to work the cable TV and we were off!
We loaded up the BMW with some stuff Melissa wanted to donate to the Salvation Army. There is still a truckload left in the garage but every little bit counts!
We took all of Bruce's cash and left him alone and happy watching football.
He didn't realize when he volunteered for this job, that he would be dogsitting! Oh well... it's better than following the three of us through 9 hours of serious shopping! It was fun spending the day with the girls doing "girl stuff". I really enjoyed the time with my little girls and my wonderful husband. This year's Thanksgiving holiday was peaceful and happy... for which I am truely thankful!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

BYC Turkey Day Regatta... First Place Goes to Elan for 150 Class

Saturday morning dawned bright and beautiful with a light breeze. It promised to be a great day on Corpus Christi Bay for the Annual BYC Turkey Day Regatta.

Elan was crewed by Bruce and I along with Steve and a (hopefully) new crew- member, Brett. Bruce would so love to have a steady crew to race Elan.

The first race of the day was very short. The race committee put out orange markers for the boats to round instead of using the normal fixed markers. We made a headsail change right before the start of the race as it looked like the winds were going to increase. The smaller headsail cost us bigtime on the downwind leg of the race. We were walked all over by Warrior.

The guys trimmed the sails non stop but we were really oinking with that small headsail.

We had a bit of a wait between races as the slowest boat in the spinaker fleet took forever to come in. This gave us plenty of time to change back over to the bigger headsail. It seemed as if the winds had lessened somewhat and we really needed the extra power. This time it was important for us to sit the rail.

Each tack with that big sail was loud and exciting. Our new crewmember seemed to thrive on the parts that I could do without! Brett was perfectly happy with the frenzy of the tacks and close calls at the mark with other boats closing in.

We did much better the second race. It was nice to be out in front. We didn't think it was enough to correct out into first however, so the guys really spent all their energy on tweaking the sails to get all they could out of what we had.

Bruce let me sail the downwind leg on the second race while he and the other guys worked on the foredeck. This suited me fine. I think I did a pretty good job on walking over the top of Warrior. We were first across the line but with the handicap... who knows how we actually did.

There was a long gap between the second and third race... again waiting on that one boat to make it back in. We snacked and sailed around and generally enjoyed being out on the bay on such a fine day.

The last boat came in and they started the third race before we could get back around to the start line. We were over 20 seconds late crossing the line for the last race. We weren't the only ones however... The third race was similar to the second.

We had the sails trimmed and sat on the rail. We did end up changing our sail trim tactics on the downwind race to the finish as the winds were dying. We crossed the line and thought we would be solidly in second place. Bruce was happy!

It had been a long day. Brett took the wheel as we sailed back into the gap and prepared to drop sails. We got back to the slip and had some drinks while we talked the race over again. We were nearly late to the dinner which I thought started at 7 pm but we found out... by reading the race rules... that it was to start at 5:30.

After a rushed toilette... Bruce and I met Brett over at the BYC Clubhouse. Steve went home to spend time with his wife... who was sorely missed this day. We introduced Brett to the club and had a great chili dinner. Finally it came time for the race results. Somehow, we had pulled off a First Place in our fleet! Wow! What a complete surprise this was. Bruce was thrilled. There have been races in the past year that we have taken home trophies... but this was the first one we really felt we proud about. We had stiff competition out there and came out the victor! What a great day.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Beautiful Fall Evenings on the Bay

We got lucky again this week with a near carbon copy of last Wednesday's race... except maybe there were a few more boats out tonight. The sun went down before the start but the twilight was so deep pink/purple/blue, it was not missed.



Passion was race committee and they have their own way of doing things. They don't need to ditch the race... their Santa Cruz 50 goes so fast around the marks, they start all the boats, then rush around the course and are there at the finish to call time for the other racers.


Bruce cleaned the bottom of Elan and we got a pretty good start.



The winds were out of the north/northeast so it was a spinaker run to the first mark after leaving the gap. We were not in the spinaker fleet however so these boats quickly caught up with us.



And passed us by...



Leaving us in the dark to make our lonely way around the marks.



The winds were very light and became less and less as we rounded #2 and then #10.



By the time we got to 10 it was very dark. We couldn't even see it on this moonless night. We felt our way around until we finally spotted it very close. Steve thought we were headed for the barn, but no! We had one more lap around #2 before heading in.



We were going under 2 kts and thought it would take us another 2 hours to drift in. But we made it in right about 8pm. It had been a fun evening laughing about stupid things with friends. My kind of sailing for sure.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Shrimp Boil a Success!

Bruce and I, along with good friends Mark and Brenda, were the cooks for this week's BYC Dinner. We signed up weeks ago and made an offhand plan to do a shrimp boil. Mark was turning over and over in his mind, a way to logistically get all of the food done at one time. We had received RSVPs for 55 people. Brenda and I got all the groceries in the morning to go with the 30 lbs of shrimp Bruce brought from the Polly Anna on Friday.

I've never cooked for this number of people before but it made sense to just multiply out the normal recipe to cover about 60 servings.

30 lbs. shrimp heads on
16 lbs. small red potatos
6 lbs. medium white onions
15 lbs. link sausage
72 half ears of cob corn
6 bags of shrimp boil seasoning
6 large lemons quartered

We all piled into the BYC ketchen to cut up the ingredients and prepare the fixin's. Brenda presented us with aprons she had made. They were too cute! We were stylin'!

Mark was pretty much in charge of the plan after the prep work was done. Bruce helped him out back on the three propane cookers. They piled in the vegies along with the seasonings first. There was a mountain of potatos.
Shortly into the evening, we were surprised by the arrival of our old friends Karl and Jan. What a surprise that they were the last minute additions to the RSVP list. It was so good to see them again.

We all worked like crazy to keep things going between the kitchen and the boiling pots. Brenda was stationed inside, Mark outside with Bruce's help, and I buzzed back and forth.
Dinner time was closing in, the guests had all arrived. We had exactly the number of people present as had RSVP'd. A triumph I can assure you! Finally all of the vegies were done and keeping warm in the kitchen, the bread was warming and the salad was laid out. It was time to put on the 30 lbs of shrimp.
The shrimps cooked fast and we brought them in amidst OOohs and AAahhs! We set up our serving line and the croud formed a line. Our final worry was that there would not be enough of something. We filled the plates one by one... The line filed down as did the noise. By the time we had everyone fed, it was practically silent in the room. Everyone was happily munching away.
We had plenty of everything and even more shrimp than we needed. I took the shrimp bowl around and offered heaping second helpings. Finally it was our turn to eat. The guys fell upon the shrimp pile with gusto! It was very fresh and delicious. Thanks Polly Anna!
After dinner, the party cranked up and we had lots of kudos from everyone. I don't remember such a fuss being made over any other dinner to date. Maybe it really was great! Anyway, we had happy tummies, leftovers but not too many, and the club made a few bucks to top off what I would definately call... a SUCCESS!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

We're BAAAAAACK!

Bruce recently moved our boat, Elan, back to the Corpus Christi Marina. This means that we can once again, be a part of the Wednesday night race scene.



Jacquie and Steve have joined us as faithful crew. They met us down at the docks on Wednesday to take her out! Bruce had the boat all ready when we got there.



Good thing, too! Due to the recent time change, the races start at 5:30 and it gets dark fast! Being out of the Wednesday night loop for many weeks, it was nice to see some new faces. This boat is from Bequia, which is one of the islands in the Grenadines, that we had the pleasure of visiting back in 2003.



We sailed around inside the breakwater testing sail trim and greeting the other boaters.



This week was the first of the month race when no boats are allowed to fly their spinaker. There is a social afterwards in an attempt to foster new sailors. Bruce and I will have to get serious about bringing out new people.



It was a beautiful light wind evening with no stress!

There were only two starts but with different courses. This means we get to see where the other boats are only for a short period.

It wasn't long before we lost sight of all but the running lights on our competition. I can see that we need to get back into the swing of things. We were second to last across the finish line. That's OK though... we had a longer time out on the moonlit bay. The orange moon began to rise near our finish and it lit up the bay and the marina as we made our way to the CC Yacht club to chat with other racers and have a burger. Bruce and I stayed on board Elan for the night. Then it was up and back home to dress for work in the morning.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Watching the Youth of America in Action

Bruce and I were invited to join John on Wet Express to help him in hosting a group of parent spectators for the 2010 Cressy Trophy event. It was the ISSA High School Singlehanded Championship... we got the t-shirt!

The day was beautiful as we set out to pick up the parents at the CCYC dock.

There were 9 regions and each sent two kids for each of two fleets... total 36 little lasers.

The company that makes these little one design racers provided the brand new boats. They were all rigged and ready when we arrived.

We picked up our 5 passengers and motored out the gap towards the race course. The CCYC provided us with a cooler full of lunches and drinks for our trouble.

We found ourselves a spot to anchor beside the course and settled in for the event. The judges were speeding around the course watching for any transgression on the part of the racers. I learned that these light little boats can be manipulated into going faster by rocking or skulling with the rudder and this is a big no-no. So there are judges motoring along with the sailors to keep an eye on any would-be cheaters.

There were two starts to each of the 7 races we saw. There is a series of horn blows that tells the boats how far they are from the start. Here they are all lined up and ready to go. video

I got some great shots of the competition and had a lot of fun watching these serious young people compete.

They all seemed very focused and it would be nice to see this in our local schools. The parents of these kids were surprised to find that we didn't have high school sailing teams with our obvious resources. Sailing brings a lot into a kid's life and teaches them many valuable life lessons. Wake up Corpus Christi! This national event didn't even make the newspaper!

Enough of ranting... last shot here is of the official coaches boat, committee boat and support boat. Great job out there volunteers!