Sunday, April 25, 2010

Port A Regatta Day 2 - The Long Way Home

Once we got our young crew up from their bunks after a late night out in Port A, and those who had gone home for the night had returned... we quickly got the boat ready and set out from the Port A Marina to find the starting line. The instructions were vague. The starting line was straight across the channel from the observation deck. We Were ready and were in fine position when our starting flag dropped.

Un- fortunately, the committee's opinion of "straight across" and ours differed widely. We were over early! This means we had to turn back and make our way back to the real start line and cross again after the flag. This cost us mega-time! And we still weren't sure we had the right start line! Our strategy was to hug the red side of the channel as much as our draft allowed in order to avoid the ripping 2-3 kt current against us in the middle of the channel. We made our way past boat after boat. We got far ahead and there were few boats that caught us. Here is Passion with their "Marilyn" spinnaker flying proudly as they creep up the channel behind us.

I took the opportunity for a break in the shade. It was hot with very little wind at all, and going with it made it seem altogether still. After a while at the helm with the sun beating down, I welcomed the shade of the sails on deck.

There wasn't' much for the crew to do. We brought out the munchies as we neared the point where we would (hopefully) sail out into the bay.

Things were beginning to be a bit ridiculous! We looked behind us and saw that at this point, there were several boats that had dropped sails and were motoring towards home. It seemed as if there was no hope for a breeze. Just then, we got a breath and picked up speed enough to take us off towards marker #5.

The winds died down before we got there however and things looked very bleak. We were down to our last two beers. This could be the end... our very own "Three Hour Tour"... We heard the sound of an engine coming up behind us. Is it a dream? No, it's friend Larry on Windswept threatening to take our beer! Oh No Larry, we have none! What, says he... I have plenty and will lend the some. And so a plot was hatched to load the beer into a bucket and pass it from his boat to ours. The young ones were perked up with interest. We took delivery, said our thanks and good byes and Windswept motored on towards home and air conditioning...

Our spirits soared for a while. We had libations and a tight race with the little IC boat that had plagued us throughout the race today. It looked as if we would (eventually) make the mark before they did. The excitement soon passed however and our crew took to the deck.

Even die hard Steve was laid low by the ennui. This kind of "racing" if you can still call it that, is excruciating.

I took the helm to give poor Jacque a break. She took to this "breaking" right away. And she had no beer at all!

The best was young Brett... recovering from his night abroad in Port A. It was the perfect kind of race day for him. We spent hours... 6 + hours on the bay that day. Many boats dropped out. A few stayed the course and finished the race. There have been more strenuous trials, but few more trying.

We ended up with a solid third place in the end. We were happy to be one of the elite few who had finished the race. Sometimes you've just gotta take the long way home.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

2010 Port A Regatta Day 1

We were both excited to be doing the Annual CCYC Port A Regatta this year. Bruce had prepared the boat last year and then had back trouble which caused us to miss it. He was ready as we motored out of the slip... all the "non-essential" items had been offloaded. It was a beautiful crisp morning and promised to be perfect for sailing to Port A.

Bruce had watched the weather reports all week and early on we expected light winds, then the forecast cranked up a bit so Bruce chose to forgo flying the spinnaker. This turned out to be a bit of a mistake as we would have used it both days. We went out to the starting line and cruised around to test the winds. Melissa assumed her job early on. We'll make a sailor out of her yet!

The start was exciting! There were 8 boats in our start and we were in a fabulous position. It's difficult to get great start pictures sometimes as Bruce makes me work, but this was our gracious committee boat.

We were all enjoying the race and the guys never stopped tweaking the sails to get every little bit of speed they could. Unfortunately, by the time we had rounded the Bay marks and made it to the Channel, we had allowed our competition to get ahead. This was partly due to a bad call on a tack. Oh well, that's sailboat racing.

We had the pack closing in on us and we watched as the spinnaker fleet caught up and passed us in the Channel.

It's not usually much fun to be passed, but knowing that they were not our competition softened the blow. We waived as our friends ripped by us under the giant spinnakers!

Once safely into the Channel, there really wasn't much to do. The crew broke out the chips and "boat chicken" and chowed down. This attracted a flock of seagulls. These creatures have an uncanny ability to locate fried chicken. We finished our lunch and kicked back to enjoy a very nice sailboat ride.

We finished 5th. Not such a great showing, but we had fun. No sour grapes here! So much for offloading all of the water and amenities.

Much of our crew left for Corpus Christi after we docked. No reason to wait around for the awards when we weren't getting one. Bruce, Melissa, Brett and I stayed for the festivities. There was the usual CCYC catered party with live music and dinner. The food was mediocre but plentiful.

Coinci- dentally, there was a "dock party" going on as well in Port A. The local marina tenants were having a pot luck party that looked like a lot more fun... so we joined them. We knew many of these people as we used to keep our boat in Port A. We were warmly welcomed and enjoyed the impromptu jam session. There were several tenants who played various instruments. They were all very good!

We moved our party over to the Pavilion once the Port A Regatta party broke up. I became a groupie as I had nothing musical to contribute. They weren't opposed...

My crew, however... did have some musical talent. Brett was offered a guitar and he took it right up. Then out came the keyboard, and he tried his hand(s) at that as well.

Everyone got in on the jammin'! Melissa got brave and grabbed the bongo. She did a marvelous job too! It was such a treat. We had no idea that our evening would turn out so well. We knew that some of our dock mates played guitar, but when we kept our boat here, we were always in bed long before these musical interludes began. We never knew what we were missing! The party broke up at about 11 pm and the young 'uns, Melissa and Brett left for the bars. We never heard them come in but reports in the morning were of a fabulous time being had by all.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday Night Race

The weather has finally come around and we're getting on track for the Wednesday night races. Clay has even begun to come out and join us for our weekly romp around the marks.

The start this week wasn't spectacular but we were coming up fast on the boats in the lead.

Brett is becoming our foredeck man by default and knows his duties. He even makes suggestions now and then which shows that he's thinking about it. He looks forward to knowing why he's doing what he's doing!

Bruce joins Brett on foredeck while I took the helm for the downwind leg. It didn't help us much. For some unexplained reason, Elan was slow tonight.

Once the sails were set, our crew brought out the beverages and enjoyed the view while we watched the boats far ahead move towards the finish.

All was not lost, however... we were out on the Bay... on a Wednesday... with people we enjoy... doing what we love... and the view was grand! Not a bad way to go!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Family Day

The girls came to town to join the Birthday festivities for Nathan and Laura. We had some free time together while Bruce was at a Sail Seminar on Saturday. We hit the road and found ourselves in Port Aransas at the Port A Beach Club for lunch.

It was Sand Fest weekend and we thought we would be smart and leave our car where it was and walk the beach to the Sand Fest area.

Long story short, we never made it as far as Sand Fest, but we had a great time "not" getting there. The day was beautiful if a bit cool.

I don't think I've ever seen this beach so full of people. Everyone was well behaved with all of their beach paraphernalia spread out. There were kites flying all along the beach. The pics do not do the kites justice!

We enjoyed the walk as we took pictures and laughed a lot.

This poor specimen is the only sand castle we found, but at least we did find one... of course it's a perfect opportunity for a "feet" picture. Don't groan... it's catching on!

I was so happy to have both of my girls home for a visit. I enjoy every minute of their company when we're together. We see how other families interact with one another, and we appreciate what we have even more.

We gave up on finding the Sand Fest as we looked down the beach and saw people, but no sign of the exhibits. We did have some shopping to do...

We had already wrapped up our gifts for Laura, but had nothing for Nate. We hit the shops. No sense in making it boring... we had some fun with the hats. It's been a long time since I was thrown out of an establishment for playing with the hats!

But we had to risk it! They were fabulous, but we must press on.

Brittney was playing with my new I Phone and wouldn't give it back! I've become addicted... but I'm not worried, this too shall pass. We danced our way through the shops until we had found what we were looking for, then raced back home to dress for the evening.

We were to meet Mark, Laura, Charles and Annette at the boat and Bruce was late getting out of his seminar. I had planned to wear Capri pants but the girls vetoed everything in my closet but this one dress that made me look about 12 years old. They even did my hair. We were a bit late getting there. And then, the girls had to take more pictures!

Everyone was on the boat when we arrived. Annette was sketching. She really is good. She just starts sketching whatever in in front of her... where ever she happens to be. It's kind of neat.

I had planned to bring out some drinks and maybe a snack or two, but our day had not made that possible. I scrambled below to find some beverages for everyone. Luckily, we had something on board.

The wind was blowing and with our shortened time, we thought about ditching the sailboat ride, but everyone got busy and got it going. I could do nothing in this dress...

We took a nice motor around the marina area. The waves were pretty tossy even inside the gap so we gave up all thought of raising sail and going out, even for a short jaunt. We took our wind beating and went back to the slip.

There was still time left to get Laura to open her presents. What to get the girl who has everything...? Sailing gear! Laura and Mark have some unused sailing lessons to do this summer. Bruce and I are trying to encourage her to get into sailing... I found the most lovely sailing shoes that I thought would be perfect for her. And they were!

And what would a Sailor Girl do without a nice new pair of sailing gloves! Well, now we don't have to find out! She's all set. Well if it wasn't what she was expecting exactly, she gave a good show of appreciation. I was happy.

We left the boat to attend the Wine Tasting event at the Bay Yacht Club. We had scored a coup in having a guy from the new Specs come out and talk while we tasted the wines. They had chosen 6 lovely wines for us. It was very informative and I found one wine that we will definitely buy.

We left there as soon as the tasting was over and went over to have dinner at Water Street Oyster Bar. I must say that it's been a while since I had anything really spectacular there, but this night reset the bar. They had a tuna in a wasabi vinaigrette with feta cheese on top that was to-die-for. I don't know what was going on at the other end of the table, but we had fun on our end.

We had a nice little brownie with ice cream in honor of Laura's birthday. She was so touchingly surprised and honored. We sang the birthday song and she blew out the candle and it was all over. This long wonderful day was at an end. We said our goodbyes and spent the drive home happily re-hashing the days events. It was a good day...