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. Dan
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. Dan USA 8411