Well the Spring Series is a wrap. Today I have the final results of our racing this past Sunday, but first I would like to share my thoughts on the day (Scores after the story):
My Day As A Buccaneer
As most of you know, my sailing this spring was abruptly ended, before it even began, on the first day of the spring series when my boat was sadly T-Boned into String Theory, leaving me with a rather large hole in her bow. Ariel has been in drydock for repairs ever since. This past Sunday I was bound and determined to get a ride on a boat and get some sailing in before the series was over. Towards that end I showed up bright and early to the marina looking for a ride. Sadly, all of my Lightning brethren had full crew, so it was looking grim for your humble narrator. I hung around and helped the RC splash the committee boats hoping for a last minute reprieve. It was so bad even the RC did not have room for me! I was getting ready to call it a day and go home when all of a sudden I heard the voice of an angel. Buccaneer skipper Kyra Tallon asked me if I would like to sail on a Bucc. Oh yes! I quickly replied, I would love to. I have not sailed a Bucc since I was in high school, so it would be a real treat to sail one of these nimble and fun boats again.
As we left the dock, there was little to no breeze, so it looked like mother nature might thwart my hoped for afternoon of racing, but as we paddled up to the course a little breeze started to fill in. Before we knew it, we had 6-7 knots of generally east wind and got ready for the first start. Just then, to my wondering ears I heard the words I did not expect “Would you like to drive the first race?” Would I? Is the Pope Catholic? Before Kyra could change her mind I quickly grabbed the stick and started getting ready for the race. As I drove this boat I immediately noticed a few things. First, to say that the tiller is neutral is the understatement of the century. It really feels like you have nothing in your hand, as compared to a Lightning. Second, these boats accelerate like a Lambourghini. 0-60 in nothing flat. Lastly, it would be another gross understatement to say that they turn on a dime. More like turning on the head of a pin. I found all this hard to get used to, and spent most of the first race oversteering the boat through tacks so badly we would stop dead every time. I also, underestimated how quick they are and got to the line early and blew the start, letting Jeff Neurauter get the favored boat end of the line unchallenged. By the end of the first race I was glad that we had merely finished in an upright position with both of us still on board. We came in last.
For the second race, Kyra took over the helm, and I looked forward to learning a thing or two. Unfortunately I spent that whole race trying to find the controls I needed, and just get the kite up and down when it was necessary. I must have looked like a whole bevy of Keystone Cops all by my self out there. We were last again.
Lord knows why Kyra gave me back the tiller for the third race, but she did. I took the stick determined to get it right this time, and stop oversteering the boat and whatever else I was doing wrong. This time we did much better. My tacks got better and better as we went, and Kyra’s superior knowledge of the controls improved our overall boat handling. I still had issues now and again, however, as evidenced when I lost one of my shoes on a really sloppy tack that almost took me overboard. DOH! I found said shoe in the bilge, and manged to get it back on with out any further embarrassment, and we continued. We still finished last, but this time at least we were in shouting distance.
Once again I took the tiller for the last race as that configuration seemed to work best for us. This time we got to the start line at exactly the right moment and managed to slam the door at the boat end on Jeff, making him circle around and start late. Our tacks continued to get better, and I managed to keep my shoes on for the whole race. Not only that, but I managed to get my head out of the boat enough to start actually going the right direction, and play some tactics. None of it helped as we came in last again, but it was definitely a better all around effort.
One thing I noticed as we raced through-out the day was how dominating the Lightning fleet can be on the course. When they (we) are sailing down wind the other fleets can forget about crossing them. The wind shadow is ridiculous. By the end of the day I was cussing out my own fleet! The Lightnings really force the other fleets go directions they might not otherwise want to go. Oh well, I’m glad I am usually one of them!
In closing, I had a great time sailing with the Buccs on Sunday. It was a real eye opener for me, and a great experience. I highly recommend to anyone to try sailing a different class now and then. I would like to thank Kyra for taking me on and letting me drive on Sunday, I thoroughly enjoyed it. So after being Buccaneer for a day and all that it entailed, there is really only one thing left to say: Aaaaaarrrrrgh!
PS: Please don’t tell Ariel I cheated on her!
Here are the scores: