Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Sailing and RunningMouth, too

Spring is here and spring sailing has begun.  It's time to catch up with friends on the water.

Southbound on Jordan Lake
Yesterday SOS posted a trip report from aboard his new charge, the Core Sound 17 Southbound  built by Ken Potts who is now in Australia.  According to SOS, after sailing Saturday there was camping onboard Saturday night,  and a 13-boat race with the Carolina Sailing Club on Sunday.  

Photo by SOS.  Taylor onboard.   A fast boat with a tent for camping.  Cruise it.  Race it.
Carolina Sailing Club,  Sunday regatta

Surprise!  RunningMouth (Jonathan Coble) was there, day-sailing his Sea Pearl 21.  Jon finished the WaterTribe Ultimate Florida Challenge of 2010 in an impressive 27days, 14hrs, and 35mins paddling and sailing his Kruger Sea Wind.   We missed him at this year's EC 2011.   Perhaps we will see him in the WaterTribe 2011 NC Challenge in September.

RunningMouth and crew aboard his Sea Pearl 21

Jordan Lake is a good place to catch up with sailing friends.  Check it out.

Monday, March 21, 2011

EC 2011: photo sharing

Photos from the Everglades Challenge 2011 are being shared.  Videos are being posted on the WaterTribe website and on YouTube.  I'll have time to add to that soon, I hope.  

The start and the finish were popular places for snapshots.  Here for example, Jarhead captured the arrival of battle-warn sea kayakers Sundance and Hammerstroke at the finish in Key Largo. 

Jarhead (Bill Fite) welcomes Sundance (James Connell)  and Hammerstroke (Will Schaet)
Evey challenger looks better after a hot shower, some sleep, and a good meal.  Jarhead kindly sent us the following photos of our own well-rested smiling faces.  (Thanks again, Bill.)  We in turn sent Bill a few photos for his collection.

DWSB, SOS, SandyBottom in Key Largo

Here are a few of those photos sent to Jarhead  ---who happens to be a WaterTribe legend, a tough competitor, an outstanding role model on and off the water,  and a pretty good party person.

Jarhead and Kiwibird at the finish line

Also, we sent Bill this "post card" cellphone snapshot of the finish line at sunset that included his Sea Pearl 21,  Moon Shadow.

Moon Shadow (with tan tent)
We are hoping Jarhead will give us a Class4-Doubles rematch in the WaterTribe's North Carolina Challenge 2011.  Here's a view of the long sleeve t-shirt that goes with participation in the NCC. 

KiwiBird and Jarhead

Friday, March 18, 2011

EC 2011: Brief Summary

The EC 2011 was a wonderful adventure aboard the Dawn Patrol. Alan (SOS) and I (DancesWithSandyBottom) were delighted to finish the EC in 2days 18hours 35minutes.  In the EC record book this is the fourth fastest time for Class4 (monohull sailboats).  The record in Class4 is 2days 8hrs 56min,  set in 2007 by Graham Byrnes and Randy Marshall aboard the EC22 Southern Skimmer.

While we were sailing, Steve Earley covered our progress via photos and reports on his outstanding blog, logofspartina.blogspot.com.   Thanks, Steve!   

Our new asymmetric spinnaker, bowsprit, and running backstays proved useful by adding 1-2 knots on two downwind runs. We took the opportunity to explore the limits of application of the new spinnaker. (More on that later.)  Thanks to Inner Banks Sails and Canvas in Oriental, NC, for making our Doyle APC spinnaker just-in-time for the EC.
Our B-and-B mizzen stays'l from Graham Byrnes also played an important role --as a jib!  Yes, a jib!  It's a bit flat for a spinnaker but the stays'l has many uses and we tried them all. We also used it wing-on-wing-on-wing. 

Wing on Wing on Wing thanks to the Stays'l

I could just hear the stays'l saying, "Hey wait! I'm a mizzen stays'l! What are you doing to me now?   This... doesn't... look... good......"

We sailed in the company of some world-class sailors in this year's EC and I am convinced there was also one aboard the Dawn Patrol; namely, Alan Stewart (SOS) who is a creative talented sailor, a great sailing companion, and the best son.  His experience in off-shore racing was important. Add that to the other advantages we had:  a good boat design, good sails, good oars, a dry cabin for naps on-the-go,  and non-stop forward movement.  We stopped for only 5-10 minutes at each of the three checkpoints.

Our greatest advantage was that we kept the boat moving forward all the time. The result was our 66.5 hour finish, 
              7 hours ahead of the 40-year-old 19' Lightning Hare on Fire  (crew of two),
            18 hours ahead of the brand new I-550 Hot Canary  (crew of two),
            42 hours ahead of the 19' Sea Pearl Moon Shadow (single-handed!),
            61 hours ahead of the 14' Blue Jay Mullet (single-handed!).  

The Lightning. Going upwind, the Lightning Hare on Fire was the fasted Class4 boat. However, we took the 30 knot headwinds on day2 inside the protection of Pine Island Sound while they were being battered by the same front out in the big waves of the Gulf of Mexico. At CP2 they stopped to sleep. We never stopped to sleep, kept the boat moving except for a few minutes at each checkpoint, and took turns at the helm to allow 1-2 hour naps. The great crew of Hare on Fire,  Per Lorentzen (DonKeyHoTey) and Tom Dyll (MicroTom), said it reminded them of the fable of the tortoise and the hare.  Tom said, "I realized we were the hare."    We had a great time sharing stories with Per and Tom in Key Largo.

The I-550. In strong headwinds the tender I-550 had a reef in when we did not need any reefs. In that case we sailed past the Goudgeon brothers' I-550 Hot Canary. The Dawn Patrol also had the advantage when rowing and in quickly lowering/raising masts for bridges at CP1. We lowered/raised our masts and sails in 5-10 minutes, whereas the I-550 requires much longer. Also, Mead and Jan anchored Hot Canary sometimes for rest/sleep.  Look out! They'll be back next year for a perfect run.

The Sea Pearl. Bill Fite (Jarhead) single-handed Moon Shadow this year in the EC.   In the 2010 EC, Bill  and Jonathan Arthur aboard Moon Shadow finished first in Class4 with 2days 10 hrs 27 min. Also, he and William Denton finished first in Class4 aboard Moon Shadow in the 2010 WaterTribe North Carolina Challenge. 

The Blue Jay.   This was Channing (DancesWithMullet) Boswell's third EC fnish.  Channing has certainly proven his ability to single-hand and succeed in a very small sailboat.

The Class 5 Multi-Hulls.  Overall,  the Dawn Patrol  was the third boat to finish the EC.  The overall fastest boat this year was Randy Smyth's (SewSew's) unique speed machine Sizzor finishing in 1day 16hrs 14 mins.  Randy describes Sizzor  as being a home-built, self-designed trimaran 21' x 20' x Fun.   Again this year, he had two Subway sandwiches strapped to the boom.  That's all he needed.   The tornado catamaran flown by Jamie Livingston (Bumpy) and Kenny Pierce (Machoman) finished a mere 20 minutes after Randy.  Those two boats were neck-and-neck the whole way.  Last year Jamie and Kenny set the all-time overall record at 1day 2hrs 12mins in EC2010.   That record was not broken this year largely due to headwinds.

The other 7 boats in Class4 encountered problems and did not make it all the way to Key Largo.  

Overall, only 30 of 71 starting boats finished EC2011 in Key Largo.  The EC is unpredictable:  parts break, electronics die, leaks appear, minor injuries occur,  illness strikes, weather fronts roll through,  etc.  Most everyone was in need of anti-monkey butt powder. IronBob inhaled some nuts (he was quickly ok.)  DogsLife was hit by pneumonia and fever.   Things happen.

The faster a boat covers the distance,  the less likely the boat is to be hit by multiple weather fronts and other problems.

On the Dawn Patrol we had to replace a broken downhaul line on our rudder while at CP2.  And, the weather threw us a few curves: too much wind, too little wind,  and even fog.  Until we reached Florida Bay, staying warm was our biggest challenge.  On the other hand the tidal currents we encountered this year were always flowing in a favorable direction. That was entirely unplanned unexpected good fortune.

The best part of the EC is gathering with kindred spirits in small boats to share the adventure.  

The EC is also a wonderful adventure because the waters from Tampa to Key Largo are beautiful.  Florida Bay stands out as unique, amazing, beautiful, mysterious and a little tricky.  Some day I hope to slowly cruise the entire EC route.   The Everglades National Park is so beautiful.  Does it really make sense to race through it... offshore... at night?!

I am planning to post many further details, photos and videos here on this blog in the not-to-distant future.  We have some excellent videos and photos.  The EC is primarily a personal challenge; only secondarily is it a race.  The most interesting stories are usually about the personal challenge.  

The Start on Tampa Bay at Ft. DeSoto

Our GPS Track (left to right is north to south)



Mizzen Stays'l  used as a Jib

Spinnaker run across Florida Bay:  good winds, glassy water  -- wow

At the Finish Line in Key Largo

The next WaterTribe event will be the 2011 NC Challenge in September -- looking forward to that!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Spinnaker for the Dawn Patrol

The Dawn Patrol now has an asymmetrical spinnaker and removable bowsprit.   The system was designed by SOS who built and installed the bowsprit.  The new sail is a red and white, 138 sq. ft.,   Doyle "Asymmetrical Power Cruiser" spinnaker constructed by Mark Weinheimer at
Inner Banks Sail and Canvas in Oriental, NC.

Asymmetrical removable bowsprit

Like Pinocchio