9/3/17 Last Beer-Can Race of the Season


Didn’t Hurt Anything But My Pride

The Forecast was for light easterly winds and was right on target. Although there was some wind at the dock, we saw mostly 2-5 kts out on the race course.  The RC proposed  waiting for more wind to develop but with the limited daylight there was not much support for that. Even with the light wind we were able to hold a course for our first mark (2) and saw up to 4.25 kts of boat speed. So maybe the wind was a little south of east (the course was 3). We then did a starboard spinnaker set and stayed on starboard tack for about 3/4 nm moving well to the north of the next mark (8) before gybing over to port tack. We stayed on port tack making 1-3 kts until about a 0.4 nm from Mark 8 when we were delighted to hear that the course was shortened to Mark 8.  We gybed back to starboard and set a course for the finish line. Unfortunately, I got confused and passed the finish mark on the wrong side. After we realized the error (with a little help from the CB), we had to get the spinnaker down, turn around, and sail back under main alone to the finish line and pass the mark on the correct side. This cost us about ten minutes, but as there was no one else in our class it didn’t hurt anything but my pride. The waves were small so we were able to keep sailing albeit slowly in the light wind.  Elapsed time for the shortened to 2.5 nm course was 1:27:03.

8/17/17 Beer Can Race #7

Beer Can Race 7


Last night’s BC was something of a first: It took over an hour and 22 minutes to complete a 1.25 nm straight line course.  Conditions for the race were inauspicious: a band of rain came through about 5PM, but since there was no thunder and lightning the CB decided to conduct a race.  The rain stopped before the race began leaving no wind.  I mean really no wind.  We were fairly close to the starting line before  our start and it took us about 15 minutes to get to the starting line.  There was a left over swell, not much but enough to keep the sails flapping and the wind sensors inoperative.  Even when there was a breath of wind, it was impossible to tell where it was coming from.  Not a ripple on the water and the sails just flopped back and forth.  Something like the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner.  We tried pointing the boat in the direction of Mark 3, the first mark for us, but that didn’t seem to work.  Eventually we found that heading toward Mark 4 produced a little motion, i.e., 0.05 to 0.2 kts, so we kept heading in this direction with the sails fairly loose and flopping. Trying to head more toward Mark 3 didn’t work although the sails shape didn’t particularly change.  After about 45 minutes, the CB shortened the course to Mark 3 for everyone.  This was the first mark for our division and the second mark for the other boats who also had to go around Mark 4.  A little bit later the wind started to come in and increased to 2 or 3 kts.  We could tell it was coming from Mark 3 so we started tacking toward the mark and after several tacks we crossed the finish line just ahead of the first boats in the other division.  My little Garmin GPS has a very small screen but it does record our track.  I looked at it after the race.  Rather than jump through a bunch of electronic hoops, I have simply sketched the track on the course map and taken a picture of that (see attachment).  The sketch shows that even when we didn’t know where the wind was coming from, we were heading in approximately the right direction early in the race because we found this gave the best motion.  The sail trim didn’t seem to matter much.  I have drawn a wavy line on the first “tack” because this is what the first part of the track looked like.  Also, you can see that going around Mark 4 didn’t increase the distance to be sailed much.  This is because Mark 3 was directly upwind.  In retrospect ,we should have had some yarn on the shrouds as they would have been a better indicator of the wind direction than our other sensors because  of the swell.  Also,  our wind seeker sail would probably have given a much better indication of wind direction than our other sails and also have provided more drive in the early part of the race.