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Two (2!) TNT Reports from Dan Merino

August 14, 2003

It had been over two years since Denise had been on a 505. No matter 
though, we smoked the entire fleet. Of course no other 505's showed 
up... and we didn't actually start a race. But we did manage to 
get around the course without capsizing, and as of today are still 
married. Now that's what I consider a great race with your spouse...
The original plan was to get out on the water an hour early and 
give Denise a refresher course, but like most good plans there's 
always a glitch... in our case a 15th month named Kyle. After getting 
him settled in with our good friend Nancy we hit the water with 
about 10 minutes before the first start. The time enabled me to 
go over the minimum required to tack the boat and set/douse the 
chute with Denise, and to re-rig the items I had screwed up while the boat was on the trailer.
Earlier I had signed up us up for the 505 start, however after not 
seeing another 505 being rigged, I quickly added us to the Handicap 
dinghy class as well (there was only one boat signed up on that 
sheet). Face with the realization that we would not have a start 
I breathed a sigh of relief secretly thinking "Our marriage won't be in jeapordy tonight".
We watched as the keelboats started and figuring there was no time 
like the present, we crossed the start line about a minute behind 
them. Denise commented earlier (as we were leaving the dock) that 
she thought she had already been bruised by the boat so anytime 
I called for a tack, her response was "Do we have to"? Never the 
less we tacked up the course and held off launching the chute on 
the first tight reach. On the run however the chute went up and 
things went fairly smoothly. We spent much of the race grinding 
down the keelboats (passing most of them).
During the second down wind the wind shifted way north and we found ourselves sailing on 
starboard and by the lee. I told Denise I think we should gybe to 
which she replied her standard "Do we have to?" She went on to ask 
what we would have to do in order to gybe. I then went into a step-by-step 
procedure of what would have to happen. I glanced at her quickly, 
just as she gave me a look as if asking me to repeat it again!
 but this time in english. I finished my presentation with "Never mind".
Other than a few comical tacks, and having Doug blow by us 
to weather on the next beat things were pretty happy on board. We 
made a miniscule gain on Doug on the final downwind and finished 
up the race with big smiles on our faces. The wind was warm and 
enough to trap throughout the race even though we didn't attempt 
it. Depending on the state of Denise's bruises and availability 
of babysitters you may see us on the line next week.


August 21, 2003

Three 505s and an FD lined up for the last TNT of 2003. Earlier 
in the day it looked like no one would sail, however a late rally 
from Team Trash sparked interest. Upon arriving at the club at 5:20 
pm I still did not have crew (yup, the guy who can't seem 
to understand why people can't find crew) but decided to rig up 
and sail alone if need be. Geoff seemed to be having a similar problem 
because his regular crew was a no show, fortunately for him though, 
a French speaking, non sailor type woman was there to step up to 
the plate (and here I thought it was Mark Kurzava's job to get 
women to sail with us). John and regular crew John Jr. were already 
rigging when I arrived. A quick run through the club yielded no 
potential 505 crews so I opted to sail alone, that is until I launched. 
As I put the boat in the water, Sally Lyons (former Capri 14 fleet 
captain) happened to be walking by. I asked if she could pull the 
dolly onto the beach as I sailed out, then asked if she wanted to 
crew to which she replied "Sure, why not?"
As we left the beach I gave her a quick rundown of where everything 
was located: Jib sheets, spin sheets, pole launcher. She 
interrupted be to let me know she had never flown a spinnaker before 
to which I replied "Well tonight's a good night to learn".
The Thistle fleet called for their customary final TNT downwind 
start with a reverse starting order, however the course length was 
questionable since the wind was extremely light. As our starting 
signal sounded, Kitty and FD Doug tried to roll each other while 
we sailed deep and towards the mark with Trash directly behind us.
Their initial luffing matched allowed us to squeak out a small but 
comfortable lead heading towards 7. The next upwind both Kitty and 
Doug put on an impressive charge, with Doug eventually taking the 
lead on the second half of the beat. Towards the windward mark it 
got difficult to keep clear air as all the boats that started before 
us were now heading for the same mark (some now setting chutes) 
in the light air. Doug rounded first, followed by us with Kitty 
nipping at our heels. Kitty took us high and at one point drove 
over us, but somehow we managed to keep our lead all the way to 
the leeward mark. That is until I pulled a bonehead move and hit 
the leeward mark. Kitty offered their snickering condolences and 
they sailed away leaving us to do our penalty turn. After finally 
getting around the mark without hitting it we began our upwind beat.
The wind had gotten lighter so we shifter gears and began focusing 
on puffs and more pressure. We must have done a good job because 
half way up the beat we were right behind Kitty. John planted a 
killer tack on us forcing us to tack away. I wasn't amused and 
muttered items to that effect, however upon thinking about it for 
a second I remembered that's what racing is all about. At our 
next crossing at the windward layline we had developed a boat length 
lead and planted a tack on Kitty rounding ahead of them at the mark.
Meanwhile Doug was already half way down the next reach. It looked 
like the wind had gone so light that many boats were dropping their 
chutes. I contemplated the same thing however Sally assured me that 
she thought the wind would come back up... and she was right! 
We seemed to carry our own private puff all the way to the leewar
d mark while passing boats to leeward, including Doug. As we rounded 
the leeward mark we were treated to a spectacular sunset heading 
for . Once again it was tricky trying to stay in clear air 
with all the other boats being funneled into chicken cove, but we 
managed to round first and hold our lead to the downwind finish in the dark.
Special thanks to Sally Lyons for being my last minute crew.

USA 8411