Bill Jenkins - September 5, 2002
Eight boats crossed the line last night for the last TNT of the 2002 season. Six of the boats were 505s, of which 4 had coed crew, 1 was single handed, and 1 was manned by a crew that claimed to be coed but, on close inspection, proved to be otherwise. Sheryl and Dave Eberhart, Alane and Steve Schnelker, Denise and Dan Merino, and Maria and Bill Jenkins all managed to remain as couples for the length of an entire race. Bill McKinney sailed the ever-evolving Fever Pitch alone after failing to be joined by young John Billings who, rumor had it, would likely have beaten the pants off all of us. Then there is the sorry pairing of Geoff Nelson and Mark Kurzava who really wasnít a female in spite of what he/she claimed. The remaining two boats were comprised of Doug Dommermuth and crew sailing the FD, and two youth sailors on an I-14 skiff who will hopefully not lose their enthusiasm for performance dinghy sailing.
The weather wasnít so great. Humid, cloudy, occasional sprinkles. And while we waited in line to launch the boats, the wind seemed to die in earnest. But then the wind suddenly built again as we all hoisted mainsails. We congratulated ourselves for not giving up earlier.
The format of the last race of the year involves a downwind start and a reverse sequence of the fleet starting order. Since the 505s normally start early in the sequence, we had to wait until almost the end. It was nice to be in the starting area early for a change, with time to get things figured out and train the rookie crew. But it was still a drag having to wait so long. Iím surprised more people donít complain about it...
Anyway, Maria and I practiced some moves for a while, then cruised over to the lee of the docks to watch the earlier fleets and develop a plan for our start. We decided that we would drift down the line on starboard tack until the gun went off, then gybe to port and sail off. Not too radical. When the 505 fleetís turn came, we made a pass at the line to get the timing figured out, lined up at the near end, and went for it. The fleet split 50-50 with Schnelkers, Merinos, Nelson, and McKinney on the far end, and Eberharts and Jenkins along with the two oddball boats on the near end. Dave distracted me by yelling at the two of them, so I was actually surprised by the gun and stood there for a second, wondering why it had gone off so soon, before finally gybing and scooting across the line. Fortunately the other half of the fleet fared slightly worse so that Maria and I found ourselves out in front.
The FD set its chute and sailed on ahead to establish an unassailable lead. McKinney set his chute and took off after them. The I-14 set their chute, but didnít have much luck with it since Dave initiated a luffing match against them. Geoff and Mark also set theirs and pulled into the midst of the three remaining non-spin 505s. Maria and I sailed fast and rounded the first mark ahead of all but the FD and McKinney.
Early in the subsequent beat, McKinney stalled out while still trying to douse his spin gear, apparently not an easy task single-handed. Geoff and Mark also slowed way down on the beat and were soon in last place, a position they held until passing Dave during another of his luffing matches. Part way to the next mark, Maria and I looked back and realized the Schnelkers, Merinos, and McKinney still closely followed us.
The rest of the race, in spite of many zigs and zags around the bay, was mostly a parade of boats as the wind kept shifting around to make each leg a reach of some kind. The Schnelkers, staying close behind the Jenkins most of the race, finally tangled with a boat from another class early in the penultimate leg and dropped behind McKinney and the Merinos. In an incident that somehow involved a Santana 20, a large patch of kelp, and many tantalizing passing opportunities, the three were suddenly brought together at the final mark rounding. They came out of it in the same positions though, so the final finishing order was:
1. Doug Dommermuth (in an FD, set a chute)
2. Maria and Bill
3. Bill McKinney (set a chute)
4. Denise and Dan
5. Alane and Steve
6. Team Mystery I-14 (set a chute)
7. Mark and Geoff (set a chute)
8. Sheryl and Dave
The couples had a great time again, and remained very enthusiastic about coed sailing at dinner afterward
Bill Jenkins - August 29, 2002
Steve and Karl may have walked off with the coveted glass mug, but the real winners were the three wives/girlfriends who suffered the abuse and wet butts that we all know are required of any 505 competition. Besides the previously mentioned ringers, Noelle sailed with Mike, Helen sailed with Geoff, and, with the thickest skin, Maria sailed with me on Chris Stombergís BOB. Mike spent a few minutes scrambling to get the mast rigged up in his new Hamlin, but ran out of time and in the end pulled Taz out of his quiver for the evening.
Besides bringing to bear the experience of a year sailing together, the Top Ringers also shamelessly took advantage of being the only boat to actually make it to the starting line on time. They were followed a few minutes later by Helen and Geoff, and a little after that by Maria and me.
Noelle and Mike opted for one of those no-see-um starts, an advanced maneuver that launched them into second place, hot on the heals of TR. Unable to hold on, Noelle and Mike dropped into 4th at the first mark, never to be seen again until they skipped the last mark and again catapulted into 2nd place. An amazing comeback, but they failed to capitalize by missing the finish line completely.
But back to the race. TR rounded the first mark in first place and never looked back. Helen and Geoff rounded in second place followed by Maria and me. And then, as mentioned , Noelle and Mike. Maria and I, quick to look for any advantage, were the first to deploy the jib in a wing-and-wing configuration. (No spinnakers were used in this race.) This helped close the gap, but it was not until a flawlessly executed gybe at ď1Ē, followed by truly awesome speed on the reach around Bahia Pt, that we were able to pass Helen and Geoff. Then the chase was on to catch the Top Ringers.
Showing their desperation at BOBís rapid approach, Karl jumped out on the trapeze for a rather unsporting burst of speed. Content to patiently await our opportunity to pass, Maria perched gamely on the weather rail, jib sheet clenched tightly in hand for stability. I spent about 3 minutes straight let hiking before remembering why Lasers are such a pain to sail. After that, we fell back to plan B: wait patiently and drink more beer. (Note to Dan: itís easier to drink while sailing if you find a comfortable position on the rail and donít worry too much about keeping the boat flat.)
Anyway, plan B was only partially successful since we were able to down a few beers, but our patience was never rewarded with a chance to pass the Top Ringers. TR finished first, BOB finished second, White Trash took third. Kudos to Noelle for their tactical brilliance and quick thinking. If not for missing the finish line, they would have taken 2nd and changed the entire picture (Iím sure the RC was not aware of any of their shortcuts...).
Next week will be the last TNT of the year, sailed backwards according to long standing tradition. Much to the shock and surprise of the veterans present, the wives/girlfriends apparently had just enough to drink at the bar afterward to forget the agony they had just endured and offered to do it all again next week for the big finale. Must be a female thing Ė just like childbirth, they soon forget the pain and are eager to go through it all again. So it looks like the same group will be out again next week, maybe with some more boats?...
Steve Schnelker - June 20, 2002
Report to come...meanwhile, check out the photos!
John Billings - June 6, 2002Bill McKinney was on his way down from work as I rigged the Kitty. John3 had his last few days of class so it was Team McKitty on the line, well almost. We were 10 seconds late. Except for Taz, who was on the line, everybody was way late one way or another. Most of the fleet started with the Thistles or later!
As it was (disclosed later) Taz was raked for 15+ knots and appeared to park just after the start on starboard. At the time that surprised me, because those new sails of Mikes were shown to be fast, when tuning with Kitty heading out to the beginning of the 2002 B2B. Team McKitty had most things set, except that the RAM was not functional for about half of the first beat. We had one flat main foil.
To my knowledge, McKitty had absolutely the largest valid lead on the majority of the fleet in TNT history. It was agreed later that the start sequence was started early.
As we did start in front of the Thistle fleet, it was required that we not get passed in what was to be almost perfect light air racing for them. We were also concerned that Weasel may reel us in, but they were no where to be seen as we rounded the weather mark.
There is some history here, as when Team Kitty took her only first in the windy, Saturday NOODS race 3, we took a rather tangled up swim on the final leg, while wire-reaching to the finish in 18+ knots. Weasel chewed up two of three legs in a very short time and I was not interested in spotting Team Weasel that type of opportunity again. I hoped we could contain our enthusiasm for the six pack Bill provided. This time, we were 60 pounds and a six pack on the heavy side in light air, with a multi-minute lead.
A Mark went well, so Bill popped two cold ones and reminded me that we had to finish them prior to Mark 1. I complied and the set seemed to go very, very well. We didnít notice the wrap at the top of the sail until Dave busted us as we passed the Tower. There was some real racing in the pack back there, but we didnít spend much time looking, except to keep ourselves between the pack and the next mark. Some scuttlebutt came up in the casual de-brief afterward that TGIF might have been more kinetic that Taz would have liked. All I can say is, light air s$*ks.
We dealt with the ultra light 2 man Thistle, and way back from the final mark the 5o5 fleet had made up about 4 minutes on us, but we crossed first, took the win and never looked back!
Oh, yea, the start was about 5:55 p.m., not 6:30. I notice that this caused much hand ringing for some boats. I recommend we start all sequences at 6:05 p.m. when we do the deed. Many people start timing the start as they leave work...
Steve Schnelker - May 30, 2002I arrived early to ensure my TGIF repairs were completed after our experiences in Long Beach. I had re-run the jib halyard after an unrigging "accident" so we were good to go. I went ahead and began hoisting the jib, only to have the halyard tail come off and once again lose the jib halyard out of the mast. Now, instead of a leisurely rigging of TGIF's sails, I had to drop the rig and re-run the jib halyard and re-rig with 45 minutes to go. Fortunately, about this time Karl arrived and we completed re-rigging TGIF with plenty of time to spare. I probably should say 'almost' completed because that's what we actually did (more later).
After hooking up the outhaul while out on the water (That's fun you should try it sometime), we felt ready to start. A southerly breeze had built to provide some good trapezing conditions - we knew the race committee would give us a nice long course to sail in these conditions. Just before our class flag went up we glanced at the tower to see course 80, once around (4 marks). Nice choice, guys.
We had a slow start, and saw Taz coming at us on port - got their attention and a failed attempt at a leebow caused them to foul us - we didn't hear from them again.
We headed to mark 1, which was the first mark. I know this because I asked Karl about 15 times to make sure I was going to the right mark. Everyone else headed to mark A. That was neat to watch. However, we did not round first as Kitty had a pretty good lead on us since the start. We rounded mark 1 and set the kite, hoping to reel in Kitty on the downwind. So much for that plan - we doused right away when we realized that we neglected to rig the topping lift during our emergency re-rig in the lot. We had it fixed by the time we were even with the clubhouse, and amazingly we did not get passed by McBob or Taz. A quick re-set and we were off and racing. Kitty was a ways down from us so we focused on making sure we stayed in the clear of McBob's wind shadow. We were successful in this and we caught up to Kitty a bit on the downwind.
After rounding the leeward mark, we started to really focus on trying to get Kitty since we typically can eke out some speed upwind in trapezing conditions. As we worked over to the right corner we wanted to make sure we tacked in the clear before Kitty headed to the mark - a big header appeared and we went - we expected to see Kitty go, but they decided to stay out to the right - we got lifted all the way to the mark and that was the race. We planed down to T, doused early and basked in the glory of a victory snatched from the jaws of defeat. Total racing time: 30 minutes.
See y'all next Thursday!
Bill Jenkins - May 23, 2002Weasel (Dan Merino and Bill Jenkins), TGIF (Steve Schnelker and Karl Liebat), and Taz (Mike Jue and Ben Wood) were all on the starting line last night, showing the flag for Fleet 3. TGIF and Taz got great starts and pulled away fast. Weasel was a little late, missed the first shift and crossed behind them both. Taz attempted a tight cover on Weasel at the first crossing, but Weasel dodged away to the left while Taz continued right and into a lull. The rest of the first beat was a battle between TGIF and Weasel, with TGIF using all itís tricks to keep the Weasel in itís hole. But a missed layline let Weasel slip ahead at the first weather mark, never to be seen again.
At the first leeward mark, Dan and Bill swapped positions to give Dan some stick time in anticipation of a tough regatta this weekend off Mission Beach. Dan did a great job holding onto his lead for the remaining two laps. Team Thank-God-Im-a-Weasel (Dan and Karl) wonít be a pushover this weekend for those of you staying in town.
Steve and I will hit the road tonight, with the real TGIF, headed for the ABYC regatta, hopefully to be joined by Chris Stomberg and Mike Jue teaming up in BOB. Looking forward to swapping stories with everyone next week.
ps, Iíll be bringing some extra Tank Talks back with me this weekend. These are for prospective 5o5íers only, so if you know anyone who is thinking of getting into the class and might be interested in reading about it, let me know and Iíll give him/her a copy. This was a really great issue and would be valuable for someone trying to make the decision to commit to the class.
Last year's TNT ReportsThey can be found here