Wednesday, August 12, 2009

RC 1, This is RC 2, Can you Pick up the Leeward Mark, Good Buddy?

Low tide at Willamette Park in Portland was around seven p.m. tonight. When the girls and I got down to the club, about four, the mudflats were exposed and the girls went exploring, mucking around, screeching and giggling at the sensation of stepping in the silty tidal flats.

By the time we left for home, just before nine, the tide had swung around, covering up the flats and heading for high ground. Well, as high as it gets in August, anyway. Interesting fact I learned recently; the weather and streamflow folks who predict waterflows for use in managing the hydroelectric power system, divide the water year into fourteen segments. There are the regular twelve months, but then April and August are split in half, owing to the rapid changes that occur those months. In August flows are dropping quickly and in April they are rising.

I hadn't planned to go the club tonight. After work I took the girls to get a new battery for Kris's motorcycle. She apparently left her key on, which meant the headlight stayed on, and the battery was completely drained.

Fortunately, the Harley store swapped it with me for no charge. On the way home the girls requested to go to the sailing club. Joyeux! Or something. We stopped by the house so M could put on her jeans. She was wearing shorts and explained that she just feels "better if the fish can't bite my legs."

I picked up a sixer of Anchor Steam and cracked a couple while watching them play on the boat launch. Things were pretty quiet until around 5:30 when the Wednesday racers began to show. The first Thistle to launch ran into problems. As the boat slid into the water, off it's trailer supports, and began to drift sideways, the car driver tried asking the crew if the "Anderson bales" were closed. His window was shut to their side, so they couldn't hear him. By the time the window was opened and the communication succeeded, the boat had begun to drift back up the ramp, hovering perpendicularly over the submerged trailer.

As the driver pulled up the ramp the rear support rose up and caught the boat sideways, resulting in much "Woah!" -ing and "Wait!" -ing. After backing the trailer back into the water, the boat floated free and the team inspected for damage.

End result was that the formerly closed Anderson Bales were now open, in a bad way. So, the boat was reloaded and the Ho'opono Aukai was put away for the evening.

Not too much later, I got recruited to help with the Race Committee. Since I have my boater card, the girls and I went along on RC 2 and set the starting line. I drove and the girls operated the air horn, while we all assisted with flags.

It was my first RC experience and I found it to be pretty fun. We had four groups sailing in 12+ kts of wind. The Thistle fleet had nine participants and the there were about fifteen other boats split into nearly equal fleets of V 15s, Snipes, and Lido 14s.

Fortunately, I had spent some time catching rays on the signal bridge during my Navy stint, so the concept of flags for communication wasn't completely foreign to me.

The one thing I still don't quite get is the course setting. Apparently there was the starting line, which doubled as the finish line, and then there were both windward and leeward marks. So how the hell did the fleet do a triangle when we put the TM up on the back of the whaler?

I guess I'll find out soon enough, since I'll be doing it all weekend long at Yale Lake, just SW of Mt St. Helens in ten days at the Al Morris Regatta.

Wienies on the water showed again and we enjoyed two W.O.W.s and one Screamin' Weenie.

It was a good night.


tillerman said...

Ahah. I sense that you are a target of the good old sailing club ploy of "let's get this new member out on the committee boat so he can see how much fun the racing is and then we can persuade him to come out racing with us."

Shannon Clune said...

Did you ever find out what that big pipe dumping into the river near where you guys were anchored is for? Hint, it isn't natures own pure spring water....

Greg and Kris said...

So, Westside Big Pipe has an outflow at WSC?

Pat said...

It would seem hard to do a triangle without a reach (wing) mark, although some clubs might just designate some pre-existing mark (such as a nav buoy) for the purpose.

Many clubs have their Sailing Instructions and Notices of Race on their web sites, often with course maps.

Theoretically, race committee boats should come with instructions and copies of any NORs, SIs, race maps, etc. -- unless the racing is very casual.

Greg and Kris said...

Thanks, Pat. I'll look around for that stuff. I recall there being a third buoy out there in the river; must have been how they worked it.