Thursday, August 13, 2015

ILDR Update

The Ida Lewis Distance Race skippers meeting is tonight at 6 so we won't know the course until then. They have the Yellow Brick tracker website up and the double handed division is schedule to start around 12:30 tomorrow. Ryan Wilson has graciously agreed to serve as co-skipper for this race.

Ryan works the primary winch on Nirvana

We've done a lot of fully crewed racing together, including at least one Halifax and a Bermuda race on Nirvana, a beautiful maxi that was based out of Marblehead.

Nirvana on the starting line in Newport at the 2006 Bermuda Race

Sadly, her owner, Charlie Kiefer, passed away in December of 2013.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Ida Lewis Distance Race

To be perfectly honest, I have a major problem with this race. Any shorthanded sailor who knows me has probably heard me bitch about it. There are two races on the eastern seaboard that restrict Jeroboam from entering: Ida Lewis Distance Race (ILDR) and the Vineyard Race. They do so by setting rating restrictions on entries. Why? Because the organizers are more concerned with getting the party started post-race than they are attracting boats to their races.

ILDR even more absurdly may allow boats with a handicap slower than 128 sec/mile to enter but even if they do, they're required to race with a rating of 128. This means that they have zero interest in providing a fair competition to 56.7% of the registered PHRF boats in Narragansett Bay. I have never heard of another race doing this. ILDR is uniquely idiotic.

Any boat with a handicap lower than 128 can cross the starting line with a reasonable expectation of doing well among their peers. If they prepared their boat well, trained, studied the course’s tactical features and sail well, they might just win. Any boat with a handicap higher than 128 can cross the starting line knowing that they are at a distinct disadvantage to all the boats with a rating of 128 or less. It doesn’t matter how well prepared their boat is, or how hard they and their crew trained, or how well they sailed, their corrected time will not be reflective of their boat’s performance characteristics because the race committee don’t want them to win. They don’t want to employ the PHRF rating methodology to allow dissimilar boats to complete on a level field, only those with a rating of 128 or faster. All the others don’t deserve the same courtesy. They are subjected to different rules because ILDR has no interest in attracting them to their race. They would rather they stay home, or if they insist on entering, lose.

In their mind there are two classes of boat owners. The welcomed class of owners whose boats have a rating of 128 or faster. No need to apply for entry, just sign up and come on down. They’re happy to have them. The unwelcomed class owns boats whose rating is slower than 128. First they must apply for entry, submit a sailing resume and provide documentation of past racing performance. If, and only if, their entry is accepted, they are forced to race with a handicap that was not assigned to their boat by the regional authority, rather one that gives them a slim to zero chance of a fair competition. When scoring the race, the race committee will then proceed to break their own rule as stated in the Notice Of Race, section 5.2.a, “PHRF Boats will be scored based on ratings assigned by PHRF Association of Narragansett Bay.” No, the race committee will do no such thing for the unwelcome class of boats. Instead it will use a rating other than that assigned by the PHRF Association of Narragansett Bay. It will use the arbitrary rating of 128. If the unwelcomed class of entrants doesn’t like it, they can stay home and write blog posts like this one. Or in my case, borrow a boat from a friend that meets their idiotic rating cap.

I enjoy racing too much to simply boycott this race. Instead, I will do what I always do: try to prepare to a greater degree than my competition, study the course/weather/tactics longer and harder than my competition and sail to the best of my ability. And thank Mike Piper profusely for letting me enter his boat.

Race starts Friday, August 14 around noon and will likely finish sometime Saturday afternoon (the race committee will choose a course short enough based on the wind forecast so their precious post-race party starts on time). Here's the likely course they will select:

Here are the current entries.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Training on Great American IV

Rich and I have had some good training sessions on Great American IV since we brought it down from Maine last month. There are still lots of refining going on with the new electronics and autopilot but that's always the case.

Here's Rich with the very large, masthead asymetrical kite:

And some cockpit spaghetti:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Shorthanded Sailor Gathering

We had a fun outing at the Barrleman last night. It started with Ryan Wilson and I just wanting to get together to discuss our upcoming Ida Lewis campaign and ended up being a 15+ person gathering of some of our best sailing buddies and competitors.

To all who couldn't make it you were missed but we're planning another one this fall to send Joe Harris off in style. As most of you know, Joe is attempting a non-stop around the world record attempt, simultaneously fulfilling his life long goal to go all the way around. All of us have at one time or another thought about such an undertaking (and some people I know already have, like this guy and this guy!) so when one of us sets his mind to it, we need to support him every way we can. Through his adventures, we too shall live. Stay tuned for more details.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bermuda 1-2 Seamanship Award

I was notified recently that the Bermuda 1-2 race committee awarded the Seamanship Trophy to me following the rudder failure on Eagles Dare and subsequent 200 mile limp home to Newport.

From the Bermuda 1-2 Newport Awards Party Agenda:


At least two came to mind. We thought about Mike Schum and Mike Stevens on the
return leg with problems tacking and a sea cock leaking water both of which forced them to
retire however while returning to Newport the back stay let go and the mast fell down. No
one hurt but they had to cut the mast and rigging away. They were running low on fuel so
they pulled into Menempsha, Martha’s Vineyard.

However we settled on this one. He started out on the first leg on the start with the
spinnaker flying which was over powering the boat at times with at least one big round up
that we saw from the race committee boat. The result is that he ended up behind in his class.
Worked up to the lead about 200 nm out when the rudder post sheared off at the hull. Their
emergency rudder was a backup rudder hung off the stern on pintles. This emergency rudder
developed a crack near one of the gudgeons so he had to nurse the rudder and didn’t want to
push it. He started to think of other options if needed. For the longest time he could only
head for NJ but as he got closer to land the wind veered and he slowly worked his way right
into Narragansett Bay. He had to hand steer all the way back since there was no autopilot on
the emergency rudder. Anyone who has lost their autopilot will recognize the difficulty of
getting to the end by hand steering. Eagles Dare – Jonathan Green

Monday, July 20, 2015

Photos From Halifax Race Start

Florence took some great shots at the Halifax Race start:

Eagles Dare, flying the A1.5 
Just before the start

Alibi, also in the Double Handed Division