Nathan's Sailing Blog/Notes
Nathan Bossett is a San Francisco area racer and now cruiser on a variety of boats.
This blog will evolve in form over time. It's intended to preserve a blog format while keeping subjects/tags intact for sort/search. For now, the minimalist cms bloxsom is an excellent fit.
Sun, 14 Dec 2014
BYC Midwinters, Saturday and Sunday Dec 13-14 2014
We participated in both days, fully crewed on Saturday (James, Ryan, Daniel, and I) and doublehanded on Sunday (Mark L. and I).
On Saturday, we ran a little late and then the engine died halfway to the starting line. We started badly late and finished last but had a good chance to practice maneuvers with our new group.
On Sunday, we got a good pin end start but then split with the fleet and were proven badly wrong.
Thanks to the group for hanging in and managing to have fun. A few pictures from Sunday (and a couple of other boats Saturday) are over at Smugmug.
The Elise blog will have a few detailed notes later. For now, this picture of bay salad summarizes my feelings about the results this weekend.
GGYC Midwinters, Dec 4 2014
Elise was looking light on crew until Nat and I ran into Steve Katzman of Diane at the bakery while I was picking up a few sails from Bernal Heights. Carefully weighing the merits of boatwork vs going sailing, he hopped on with us.
A few pictures from the Golden Gate Midwinters. Crew Mark, Daniel, Steve , and Nathan. We were a little late to a really light air start because of misjudging the current. But, by the last mark we were the 1st Express 27 out of five. There, El Raton and Opa! split for the beach to get current relief. We liked the wind outside better, but spent some time under an Olson 40 and Express 37 getting blanketed and lost them. Absent those boats, it was probably slightly better to stay outside: we then split with the other two E27's to get over to the beach and probably lost a few second but still finished ahead. So a 3rd in division for us for the day.
Full size pics over at Elise GGYC Midwinters 2014 December.And few pictures from Serge on shore: (his full event gallery is at his Ultimate Yachtshots gallery.
Richmond Yacht Club (RYC) Interclub Oct 11, 2014
Richmond hosted this iteration of the Interclub series. Wysiwyg the Olson 30 was out with a bunch of regulars and me as pickup crew.
We won the start with perfect timing at the Committee boat end. Unfortunately, we popped the spinnaker on the second downwind and, on handicap, didn't do well for the race.
Still, some great crew work by the group in puffy conditions. Thanks to Hendrik for hosting.
Islander 36 Nationals, Oct 4 2014
Golden Gate Yacht Club hosted the 2014 Islander 36 Nationals. We had a pretty good turnout of 8 boats. I was on Kit Wiegman's Cassiopia. I've also sailed with Eric Mueller who brought his Serenity up from the South Bay looking sharp after her extended refit. We had an experienced crew of (besides Kit) Dan Primus, Mara Guttman, Jason Murray, Dave Barclay, and I. Though theoretically one design, the fleet does handicapping based on type of propeller and jib size. We were in the group with the fastest rating, owing many of the other boats time.
The wind was so light that we didn't even get our own postponement; we had to sit there watching the postponement that belonged to the event using the race deck before our committee. After lunch, the breeze picked up fairly suddenly to fun and warm light/medium conditions.
The first race was a triangular Central Bay tour: upwind from the GGYC to Blackaller on the way to the Golden Gate Bridge, then over to Hardingg Rock, down to Blossom Rock, and back up to finish. We had a slightly slow start and a bit of difficulty finding our upwind groove. Thereafter, we pulled out, were ahead by the windward mark after a nice layline call, and ultimately won by two minutes or so corrected.
The second race was a windward-leeward course between Blackaller and the Fort Mason buoy. In the event of a tied event, there would have been a third race. Solution: win the second race too.
Bonita Trip, YRA Season Closer 2014-09-28
For the second day of the Closer, the committee gave us a gatecrasher course: out to the approach buoy near Pt. Bonita (near the lighthouse), down to a mark in the bay roughly between Alcatraz and Berkeley, and then to finish. It's a simple course but if the wind gets too light it would be a pretty long trip.
For the second day, we had a full crew of 5, adding James Smith to the Saturday lineup. We swapped around vs Saturday, with Nathan running tactics versus driving, Nat driving vs foredeck, and David working foredeck vs tactics.
As for Saturday, staying to the right up to Belvedere Island was important to be out of the flood. After that, it was somewhat a matter of timing: the division was a bit spread out and the correct move (left, right, or middle) depended a bit on the timing of the shifts.
After that, it was a trip across Richardson bay with the goal of getting to the Marin shore near the sewage plant and sailing along it past Yellow Bluff and to the Golden Gate.
Once near the North Tower, we stayed close to the shore because the flood was full strength 50 yards or so out. We dodged into each little bit of shelter behind an outcropping. The final bay before Pt. Bonita is tricky because while the current looks tempting there's often no wind all the way in. So, we skipped that one.
Passing Pt. Bonita close by, we took a hard right to stay along the shore. Further out, there was less wind and more current. That gained us some distance.
From Bonita back into the bay, we took a short hop on starboard tack out to the middle of the channel. Then we gybed earlier than most of the others, heading back toward the bridge in good current and reasonable wind. The wind built as we got back into the bay and we were able to drive almost DDW with very good speed because of the help from the waves. There wasn't enough wind to let us plane and justify heading up; we were just a displacement boat rolling along at 7.5 kts or so.
By the leeward mark, we'd caught back up to Levitation II and passed him in the rounding. After that, it was just a straight shot back up along the windward side of Angel Island and to the finish. We did a good job on trim, which gave us one less tack than Levitation II and gained us more distance.
Conclusions: We had trouble getting moving or pointing for the first 1/2 hour or so. I made one bad tactical call which took us a few boatlenths too far inshore on the Marin side and left is with no air for a while. Trim and boatspeed were excellent from there, although we had trouble getting our tacks timed properly and approach+exit angles quite right.
YRA Season Closer 2014-09-27
Elise's first event after a delayed return from SHTP was the YRA Season Closer run by Corinthian Yacht Club. It's a two day event with starts and finishes in front of the CYC. It was a bit of a challenge to get out as a dredge was completely blocking the channel. Fortunately, it was set up and willing to move.
Saturday we ran with a crew of four: Nat, Mark, Nathan, and new crew David Bennett. The conditions were fairly light but building to about 14 by the end of the race. The course was a bay tour: CYC to Blackaller between the cityfront and the bridge, down to Blossom Rock down towards the Bay Bridge, up to Little Harding, and back to CYC to finish.
In a significant flood, staying right along the Marin County shore was important up past Belvedere Island and then upwind courses up through Richardson's Bay. It turned out that in spite of a predicted flood, there wasn't actually that much current in the main Golden Gate channel, so a simple layline to Blackaller was sufficient. The breeze rose and fell a few times but it was just a matter of monitoring heel and trim to keep up.
From Blackaller to Blossom was a spinnaker leg. A bit of current avoidance in the shadow of Alactraz helped but it was mainly a search for wind.
The trip back up to Little Harding was mostly hard on the wind with occasional cracking off. Up next to Angel Island, we saw the usual pattern of a lift on port tack which made it ultimately wasy to lay the mark. The challenge was being efficient in puffy conditions and facing waves.
The final leg from Little Harding to CYC was pretty much a straight without too much in the way of tactical finesse. We wanted to enjoy the flooding current for as long as possible but not risk being carried past the finish line if the breeze became too light in Racoon Strait.
Boatspeed and trim were excellent. We had an awkward start when I (as driver) was a little unsure as to the directions coming from tactician and bow about distances to the starting line. Once started, we were pointing with and keeping up with the crowd except for Motorcycle Irene who stretched on everyone. Sailhandling was pretty smooth and other than being over early and a trip to the right on the first windward leg that we shouldn't have made (all the way up at the bridge, going past layline to Blackaller) it wasn't bad for a first race after SHTP and first time for this four crew working together.
Half Moon Bay Cruise 2014-09-06
A friend, Bridgitt Ahern, has just been concluding some coastal navigation classes at Club Nautique. As a final exam, they run a cruise up to Drake's Bay or down to Half Moon Bay with an instructor boat and a few student boats following. Bridgitt recruited some sailing friends as her crew for the exercise. Unfortunately, we wound up unable to use the trip as her exam but did the cruise and exercises anyway. It was a really fun group with diverse backgrounds: Bridgitt, a veteran cruiser, someone just back from the Clipper round the world race (Sarah Lloyd), and me.
The conditions were light enough that we steamed or motor-sailed significant portions of each leg. Still, we got in some good sailing in conditions which topped out at around 10 kts of breeze except inside Pt. Bonita. We had tight reach conditions for most of the trips there and back with occasional beating. Our particular group was of three boats total though there was another group doing the same thing from a different branch of Club Nautique. With more than one boat on the trip, of course we were racing: in spite of having less waterline than the instructor boat and significantly inferior sails versus the other student boat, we managed to be faster on all points of sail. Trim matters!
The conditions in Half Moon Bay for our overnight were beautiful: calm and warm. It took us two tries to set the hook properly; our first attempt was under sail and we didn't have enough force to dig it in. After that, we had a great dinner and good night of sleep. The trip back was equally enjoyable and the breeze picked up as we got closer to the gate. Back on the bay, as usual there was more than enough.
Oakland Yacht Club Sweet Sixteen 2014-09-03
This Wednesday was the final race of the 2014 OYC Sweet Sixteen. On Cassiopia, Kit Wiegman's Islander 36, we were in the lead for the series by a few points. The principal competition (a pair of Wyliecats) were the main concern, but so long as we didn't lose to Green Onions by more than a few places we had the series in hand.
The conditions were great for a conclusion to the evening and series: warm and 7-10kts at peak. The course was a windward leeward with a subsequent jog in past the tip of Government Island, finishing back at OYC.
Our trim was good in spite of some sailhandling issues. The downwind was generally a broad to tight reach rather than a deep run and we were slightly faster than the Wylies boat for boat, more so downwind than upwind. We managed to keep our bow out in front even though they owe us significant time. Gun, series, dinner on a beatiful evening.
Oakland Yacht Club Sweet Sixteen 2014-08-27
The second-to-last race in the Oakland Yacht Club Sweet 16 for 2014 featured lighter but steady breeze and an early sunset. Back on Cassiopia after a week hiatus sailing nonspinnaker on sistership Renaissance, we raced slightly shorthanded against a mixed group.
The boat we had to do well against was Wyliecat 30 Green Onions, which handed us a few defeats earlier in the series. The other Wyliecat, Whirlwind, missed a few races and suffered in the standings for that. We had managed to finish consistently ahead of the Santana 34 Choices which also owed us time.
On a spinnaker-carrying sloop, we were glad to see that the conditions favored the use of our spinnaker downwind. Some of the previous races had been reach parades in which the extra sail area we're handicapped for didn't come into meaningful play.
Given the shorter days in the later part of the season, the race was only a single windward-leeward lap. Choices and Green Onions managed an early lead but we were able to hold our own up the windward leg, passing Choices 2/3 of the way up to the windward mark mainly on trim and boathandling. We've been carrying our boom slightly higher and leech slightly looser than in the past after a tuning session with Sylvain of UK sails.
The downwind was deep enough that we were able to run beneath Green Onions and pass her boat for boat. After that, we stretched out on everyone and finished minutes ahead boat for boat even though we were owed significant time.
A great evening on the water in the waning part of summer: gentle breeze and warm air.
(Pic of Spirit of Freedom inlcuded because of the sunset- they were racing in a different division)
Oakland Yacht Club Sweet Sixteen 2014-08-20
OYC's Sweet Sixteen evening series is a great way to unwind mid-week. Our normal ride, Kit Wiegman's Islander 36 Cassiopia, was taking the week off while Kit was away. Rather than spend the evening dry, we took out sister ship Renaissance (aka "The House").
Rather than sail spinnaker division against dissimilar boats such as Wyliecats, we elected to sail non-spinnaker against another Islander 36, Sabre 34, and some similar things.
We started mid-line with good speed and position. We stretched out boat for boat out on everyone, including the Jenneau 409 which owed us almost a minute per mile. On the last windward leg he eventually caught us boat for boat, but we still won by a minute on corrected time.
Drake's Bay Cruise (same weekend as YRA race there) 2014-08-18
San Francisco YRA runs an annual race to Drake's Bay. This year, instead of racing, Steve Douglass and I cruised his Islander 36 Renaissance up to Drake's Bay and camped. The race on Saturday is from Corinthian Yacht Club to Drake's Bay, honoring the Duxbury Reef marker. From Duxbury Reef on, the breeze was very light and we motored the last 16 miles or so. Pictured are a few of the earlier finishers (ID 35 Dark and Stormy and Express 27 Elan in extremely light air approaching the finish.
We rafted up with some friends from an Express 37 (Elan) and a Dogpatch 26 (Moonshine). Good fun and food.
At night, the USCG had authorized the group to fire off flares as a practice. We didn't have any but just watched the show. Unfortunately, one landed in the dry grass of the hillside and burned a big ring of grass. No serious damage though.
We got some good views of wildlife- but too far out for cellphone pictures. Harbor dolphins, a very close-up view of a sunfish, a dogfish, and on Sunday a whale that just kept breeching every 10 or 20 seconds for minutes.
Encinal Twilight Series #2
The second race in the 2014 Encinal twilight series featured upper #1 range breeze and a windward mark which could be just fetched from the starting line.
We thought we owed everyone in the division time, but it turns out that two out of seven owe us a small amount of time. Fortunately, most of the division started at the wrong end of the line and our boatspeed and pointing were excellent. We were even able to pull out steadily on Lorraine Salmon's Merit 25 Dominatrix upwind. Usually she has a significant advantage on the upwinds and My Tahoe Too needs to earn her time on the deep downwind angles.
We got the gun and corrected out well ahead of everyone. Great race!
I forgot the camera during the race, so here are a few pictures of what our chef (Ben Westenberg) whipped up afterwards. Plus the birthday cake my parents had shipped out and arrived late but fresh.
Richmond Yacht Club Wednesday Night
In spring/summer, Richmond Yacht Club hosts a series of Wednesday evening races. They're informally conducted and mainly a chance to unwind followed by dinner.
We took Hendrik and Colin's Olson 30 Wysiwyg out and had several Express 27's and a few heavier boats to compete against in our group. The course was from the RYC breakwater out to Southampton Shoal and back.
We flew a #3 the whole way but would have been better off with a #1 for the first 15 minutes or so along the Richmond shore. The #3 was the appropriate choice for most of the upwind, though. Compared to the other boats nearby, we had a much better handle on trimming the boat up versus last time. We also had a clean spinnaker set and gybes.
I'm not sure what the scoring system was but we were one of the first few boats back. Nice evening!
BVBC Monday Night Madness 1
The first Bay View Boat Club Monday Night Madness started in very light air and picked up to light-medium by the finish. The Santana 35 Breakout started out with a pretty full crew (some boats were light). The fleet attracted a couple of first-timers (for the event) including one of the BAADS boats. BAADS=Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors, a charity.
Breakout was scratch boat, as usual. After a bad current call (turned out the ebb had already switched completely to a flood), we lost Capo Gato (a Nonsuch cat) boat for boat. The rest of the fleet capitalized and was right on our heels.
A tight reach leg against the rising flood let us gain back some time and the next beat let us regain second on corrected time.
Resin Regatta, SFYC, Day 2 (Sunday)
Full size pics of Elise the Express 27's SFYC Resin Regatta 2014 are in the usual place (both days together).
For Sunday of the San Francisco Yacht Club's Resin Regatta, we had a full crew (vs Saturday's one-body-short racing). It was also Mike Sowa's last day on Elise for a while as he's due for a job transfer out of the area.
Joining us were James, Aaron, and Chris in a team which worked surprisingly well together as a first time performance. It was only a two race day and we got lucky with a first race featuring 8-12 kt winds, allowing us to get into the rythm of tacks and gybes.
We finished right in the middle of the fleet in each race (4 out of 7, Wile not having returned for Sunday). In each race, we had a great start followed by either a boatspeed or sail handling problem, followed by gaining back a couple of boats.
We had consistently good spinnaker handling, gaining distance on each downwind and cleanly executing a variety of douses.
Image note: There was a nice red, white, and blue set of spinnakers ahead of us at one finish, balanced by a somewhat more varied bunch behind us.
Resin Regatta, SFYC, Day 1 (Saturday)
Full size pics of Elise the Express 27's SFYC Resin Regatta 2014 are in the usual place (both days together).
The SFYC Resin Regatta was a Saturday/Sunday event on the Berkeley Circle. Saturday we had Nat, Mark, and Nathan as regulars and Chris as a welcome guest. The breeze was up all day for three races of thorough workout: #3 from the start of the first race and building from there. The courses were windward-leeward: the first two being two laps and finishing to leeward with the final race containing an extra windward leg. We had a fleet of 8 Express 27's, the expected turnout. Our finishes were 5, 7, 5 (with the last race probably really being a 4 if our assumption about one boat not properly returning to the starting area after a recall pans out).
Good starts, reasonable boatspeed given our shorthanded (4 people and light weight for the conditions) state. A satisfactory day with a few dramatic boathandling errors, one of which led to losing a spinnaker sheet.
I did catch a few good pictures of Nat and Mark Lazar conducting a windward takedown: preparing, pulling the pole off while Nat pushes the guy out to keep the spinnaker full, and then stowing the pole while Nat prepares to pull the spinnaker down to port. Not shown: Chris releasing the guy so Nat can gather the foot and Mark releasing the halyard to let it tumble into her hands.
Richmond Yacht Club Interclub Series #1
Hendrik took us out for the first RYC interclub of the season on his and Colin Moore's Olson 30 Wysiwyg. We had a fresh bottom job and a mixed PHRF fleet which included another Olson 30 to play with.
The event started out with a blaze (on the horizon, over near Marin) but our final result was less exciting. We had trouble pointing and with boatspeed upwind. Downwind, we were only a little faster than the Hawkfarm in our division- not enough to earn our handicap.
Light to medium air and a mostly out of the current course should have made it easy to get together. We should take a serious look at mast rake and tune. This was the boat's first race other than casual weeknight events in several years so it may take a little while to shake off the dust.
Encinal Twilight Series #1
Spring is here with the start of the Encinal Yacht Club Spring Twilight Series on alternate Fridays. It's a nice break after work. This week featured clear and fairly warm conditions for the actual race but the cold rain immediately before explains Steve's bundling up.
On Steve Douglass' Capri 25My Tahoo Too, we're the rabbit in our division this year: we owe everyone time. The conditions were steady but not excessive #1 weather with long starboard tacks but not a reach parade up to the windward mark and a nice spinnaker leg down.
We owed significant time to everyone but think we made it for a first place.
March 30 was the second attempt at the ZYC Challenge. Nat Criou had been trying to get me to race my house and Serge decided it would be fun to procure a perpetual trophy. It was conceived as a singlehanded event out to the lightship and back. It wound up challenged in both ways: weather and tide made the lightship attempt inadvisable in the amount of time we had and I had invited a few folks along.
The boats which made it to the starting line were Elise the Express 27 (Nathalie Criou), Red Sky the Olson 34 (Brian Boschma) and my own Amel Maramu Echappee. The unpleasantness of the weather during the shorthanded event the previous day cost us a competitor or two as did an engine problem. The final course agreed upon was starting at Mason, passing near Anita Rock, heading to the Berkeley Circle (XOC), rounding Treasure Island, and passing under the Bay Bridge to finish.
Echappee is not as nimble as Elise or Red Sky tacking upwind although I was pleasantly surprised with boatspeed. By Anite, Red Sky and Elise were quite far ahead.
We only flew one spinnaker downwind (from the mizzen) and had to point quite high to carry it because it was rigged asymmetrically. For the future, I have to get blocks, lines, and winches set up to run spinnakers.
On the plus side, we we were flying four sails (our competition only 2, which is hardly even trying). We also had excellent meat and vegetarian tacos as well as guacemole and other necessities of racing life (courtesy of Ben). Thanks to the group (Steve, Mara, Ben) for a great time and to Nat+Serge for kicking it off.
Pics taken by me except the one of Echappee, which was taken by Nat from Elise. Full size ZYC Challenge Pictures are at the usual place.
GGYC Seaweed Soup Regatta
Full size GGYC Midwinters Pictures from Adventura, Catalina 30 are in the usual place.
GGYC hosts a monthly midwinters on the first Saturday of the month. I haven't done it in a few years but Adventure, a Cal 30, was in need of crew.
It's a mixed division; the rating spread is from about 129 (Express 27) to about 180 (the Cal 30) and including some odd pairings like a couple of IOD's. Our focus was on Stratocaster (J32, owner's previous boat was the Santana 35 Spirit of Elvis), Capo Gato (a Nonsuch cat boat), and a Cal 29.
Adventure's owner being absent, Tim Marsolais took the helm and asked me to run tactics. We had a fun and willing group. There was an initial postponement to allow the wind to arrive but after that there was plenty of breeze.
The course was a couple of laps up and down the cityfront as a windward leeward. The current was just in the process of changing over from a flood to an ebb, which gave us the chance to make some great gains against Stratocaster and Capo Gato as they didn't seem to notice the changeover soon enough during the second lap.
Boatspeed was good and our sailhandling was adequate- could have been better if the group had time to practice this particular lineup. We made no serious mistakes and the kite work was fine. We were particularly pleased to be keeping up with the J-32 and the Nonsuch boat for boat when the J-32 owed us a lot of time. We finished 4th on corrected time, behind the Express 27 and the two IOD's. Given the strong current, the Express was probably untouchable. I don't have much experience racing PHRF against IOD's so I'm not sure how well we're expected to do against them.
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