Thursday, July 3, 2014

It's Not Lazy, It's Fast!

Skipper says he's not laying down on the job
We had a good race the other night.  It was a pursuit race, where Sunfish and Lasers and Day Sailers and Flying Scots all race together.  Because we have such little sails, we get a head start on the bigger boats that have fancy jibs and spinnakers and big giant main sails. It's kind of scary and fun at the same time.

Sunfish 79461 and her skipper are really fast. They came in 5th at Winter Camp this year, and they like to race in the pursuit races. Me and Skipper try to keep up with them, but we never can.  Anyway, Skipper and I got an awesome start, right next to Sunfish 79461. They were faster than us, but Skipper and I did everything we know how to keep up with them.  I even let skipper mess with my outhaul to see if we could go any faster.  When they turned, we turned. At one point, Skipper's sail adjustments let me point higher than them, and by the first mark, we were ahead!

They did better than us on the second upwind leg, plus we got caught up with a bunch of Flying Scots at the second upwind mark and Sunfish 79461 got a huge lead on us. They were low, in front of the Scots, and we were behind them.  Just then, Skipper leaned down and whispered "Watch, the Scot's are going to steal their wind. We'll go high and go right around everybody." Sure enough, the Scots all popped up their big spinnakers and Sunfish 79461 slowed down to a crawl. Then Skipper said "I'm going to  try something". and he laid down on the deck and grabbed my boom right at the tack, where it connects with my gaff, and swung my boom way out. I thought he was crazy, or at least very sleepy. All of a sudden, we were not only gaining on Sunfish 79461, we actually passed a couple of Flying Scots along the way!

 Skippers new way of laying on the deck made us go really fast, and we caught up with Sunfish 79461. They beat us at the finish line by half a boatlength.  My bow was even with her skipper, and we were going faster. If the race had been 20 yards longer we would have beaten them. It was our best finish against Sunfish 79461 ever!

Skipper says that laying on the deck lets him get his weight more forward so that my transom doesn't drag any water. And it lets him have more control over the heeling to windward that I do on downwind legs.  Other skippers are laughing at him. They're asking him if he wants a pillow, and telling him to sleep after the race, and to stop laying down on the job.  But we know that it's not lazy, it's fast.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

High Maintenance Boats

Meeting the newest member of the fleet

After our race the other night, rather than go straight back to the beach, Skipper took a detour through the mooring field.  The Scots and Day Sailers who didn't race were resting at their moorings.

Then Skipper pulled up to a lovely yellow Flying Scot who I had not seen before. She looked almost new. Her yellow and blue hull matched my yellow and blue sails, and her fresh paint glowed in the setting sun. Her sheets were all coiled neatly around her boom, and her lines were all in order. She introduced herself as Flying Scot 652, and said that she was pleased to meet me, and sorry to hear that I'd been sick, and asked how the racing went at Winter Camp.  How did she know all that about me?  how did she know I was at Winter Camp? How did she know I was sick? Only the boats at Winter Camp knew I was sick.  And they didn't get to Summer Camp until after I did so they couldn't have gossiped.

I was about to freak out. Is this some kind of magic boat? Did she stalk me at Winter Camp? Can she read minds?  Then Skipper let me in on the secret. He had told her everything. All about me, all about the Harlot, and all about Mrs. Skipper's plot. He told her everything because FS652 is the newest member of our fleet family!

FS652 told me about this Nice Man who takes old Flying Scots and fixes them up like new. She said that she sat alone and neglected for many years until the Nice Man took her and fixed her up. He gave her new fittings, patched dings, replaced rotted wood, faired her hull and put a new coat of paint on her. Then he and the Skipper traded boats. The Nice Man gave Skipper FS652 and took the Harlot away.

FS652 said that she doesn't want to take any time away from Skipper and me, and that she's just glad to be part of a loving fleet family again. She's going to race with him on Sundays, when Sunfish don't race, and I can race with him on Wednesdays, Saturdays and in traveling regattas. She's content to just stay home on the lake. As a matter of fact, when I raced this week, she was there, right in the front of the mooring field, cheering me on!

Skipper told me that he couldn't have two high maintenance boats on his hands, so he had to do something. That something was getting rid of the Harlot.  He turned Mrs Skipper's suggestion on its head. Instead of getting rid of me for a new Sunfish, he patched me up, got rid of the Harlot and got a friendly new Scot instead.

I don't know what "High Maintenance" means, but I think it's a compliment, so I'll just keep right on being Skipper's "High Maintenance" boat.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Harlot is Gone!

GONE!
Last week I tried to tell the Harlot about Mrs. Skipper's plot to get rid of us. The Harlot didn't want to hear about it.  She said Skipper promised to fix her up and sail her a lot, and if he was going to get rid of anyone it was me. She said I was leaky and waterlogged, and that he only putting stopgap patches on me so he could get rid of me!

I think she was jealous because Skipper had told her that he was going to fix her up, but he fixed me up instead. She said all Skipper has done so far is to give her a couple of new blocks and some line. He didn't fix the soft spot on her deck, and he didn't fair and paint her lumpy bottom, and she said it was all my fault!

I told her that it's not my fault that I got sick and needed emergency surgery. Skipper had to fix me before the racing season started. She said "What about MY racing season? Good luck with your next skipper".

So that was where it stood when I left Summer Camp to go to spend the weekend with my friends from Winter Camp. When I finally got back to Summer Camp, I noticed that the spot where the Harlot dry sails was empty. I didn't think anything of it, because Skipper has a mooring for her, and I thought "Oh she's just out on the mooring". Then when we went out to race, I couldn't find her slimy green hull in the mooring field either.

I asked Skipper about it. He said not to worry, that everything would reveal itself in good time. I got scared. Maybe he was doing what Mrs Skipper said. Get rid of both me and the Harlot and buy a new Sunfish.

Oh no.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Bickering Our Way Through a Regatta



Would you believe me if I told you that these two pictures were taken within two hours of each other?  Skipper and I tried some big racing this weekend.  We went to the Sunfish Regional Championships.  Skipper told me not to expect much, because there were a lot of heavy hitters there.   He must have been fibbing, because a lot of the boats there were my friends from winter camp, and none of them are heavy, and they're all nice boats, none of them hit.

I also met some boats that I've never met before, and they were all nice too. In fact I met two very nice boats from New York who told me about sailing on giant lakes that are as big as all of Narragansett Bay. I can't imagine that much water without salt in it.

Anyway, it was a two day regatta. There is never any wind in New England in the morning, but they decided to send us out anyway. We got out to the racecourse and drifted around the course for the first race. Then the referees decided to wait until the wind came, so we waited for two hours for it to come back.  Then it all came at once, and it brought its evil friend, the waves.  My hull still hurts from all the pounding.

A sad sight.
She wanted to get in the water so bad.
Skipper and I were frustrated.  He kept fiddling with my sail, and he knows that I don't like that. To get him back I decided not to point.  He fiddled with my sail some more, so I pulled my outhaul line out of the cleat. Then I disconnected my mainsheet from my bridle. Nothing stopped his fiddling, so then I just decided to go slow.


So the second day, the referees decided to make us go out earlier. Now remember, New England has no wind in the morning.  So we hung around on the beach.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

For two hours!







Then they sent us out.
How to sail in the morning in New England

Then the wind and those evil waves woke up and decided to show their faces.  The wind was calmer than the first day, but the waves were just as grumpy.  Apparently Skipper's idea of sailing through waves is to make me do belly flops over them. Then he started fiddling with my sail again.  Then he had the gall to yell at me for going slow!

I'm so mad at him that I'm not going to talk to him.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

An Unexpected Enemy

She's coming for me
While I was recovering from my surgery, I overheard something.  Something that I thought I'd never hear, coming from someone I never thought would say it. Someone who I thought was a friend.

What I overheard was Mrs Skipper telling Skipper that it was a waste of time working on a junker boat, and that he should get rid of it.  For a while I was cheering her on, thinking that she was talking about the Harlot. She was, but then I found out she was talking about ME TOO! She was trying to convince Skipper to sell both of us and buy a new Sunfish!

Skipper can't get rid of me! I've been with him longer than she has! He knows me inside and out! Literally! He knows when I am about to capsize. He knows when I'm leaking and getting bloated. I know how he sails and all of his habits. I know when he's going to tack before he does! He just cured me of terminal leakiness! He can't get rid of me!

Skipper has to keep me! and to keep me, that means he has to keep the Harlot too, because if he gets rid of one of us, the other is vulnerable. Skipper to keep us. Both of us. Together we're stronger. I've got to get  message to the Harlot! We boats have got to stick together!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Does This Leak make Me Look Fat? Part VI: I'm Healed!

The leaks are sealed and the cracks are gone! 

When skipper took me home a few weeks ago, I thought I was a goner.  I had a horrible leak that just kept getting worse. Skipper took me to specialists, who gave up on me. They said I was done for.  But skipper would have none of it.  He propped me up on my trailer, ground out all of the rotted glass, and patched me up good as new.  he even did some cosmetic surgery around my cockpit. Now that all of the sanding and painting are done, I have no leaks, some fresh fiberglass around my cockpit cheeks, and a new coat of gelcoat.

I feel like a new boat! I can't wait to go racing!  

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Complications!

Look Ma, Just one cavity!
Remember the cosmetic work that Skipper was going to do for me? Well this is what he found.  There were some pretty big gelcoat cracks in the back corners of my cockpit. Skipper thought that they were just gelcoat cracks and was going to patch them.  When he sanded through the gelcoat, he found that on one side, there was only a single layer of fiberglass in my deck! He put his finger through it. By the time he removed all of the thin flaky fiberglass, there was this giant hole in my deck.  After that, he decided to inspect the fiberglass on the other side too, just to make sure that there the fiberglass on that side wasn't paper thin.

 Skipper spent some time laying in new fiberglass to cover the hole on my starboard side, then put some on the port side too "just in case". He said that his fat butt puts a lot of stress there, so he wanted to shore it up as much as he could.

Skipper has spent a lot of time working on my various maladies, so I guess that I'm not going to be a goner after all!