Eric and I had a really great time at Loose on the Neuse.
We left the house shortly after 6:00am and arrived just before 10:00am on Saturday. Several sailors walked over to welcome us. A few we knew, a few more we recognized. Amazing how more knew me by name then I knew them.
We rigged. It was rather warm and I worried if the Farmer John wetsuit would be too warm. But I wore it as I knew it would be better to be a bit warm than cold. We left the beach about 11:50 for 12:00 first signal. A bit late for my 10 minute early type personality, but as we were the third start, I expected us to be OK on time. As we got away from the shoreline, the first wave came over the tramp. No problem. The wetsuit was good. Then as we got further out, the wind/wave action picked up. My arms were wet, and starting to indicate a tendency towards cold. As we got closer to the signal boat (under motor, not yet at anchor), I wasn't getting more comfortable. Then as we round the boat and headed back into the wind, I was downright cold. I said "I'm cold" (High Level Communication at its best). Eric asked if we needed to go to shore for more gear. I said "Yes" (More high level communication). We went to shore. I grabbed a wetsuit jacket, a second pair of gloves, and cotton for my ears. As we headed back out, it looked as if the races had not yet started. We go to the signal boat just as the first start class flag went up. I was comfortable. I later found out that another couple of boats had headed back to shore for more gear, a few others had to quit early due to the cold, and even a few others stayed out for the duration but come back quite cold.
We placed 2nd and then 1st against three Hobie 18s. I will turn the results into US Sailing for Portsmouth data on the 2-up boat. The first race, I did not trap out. The second race, I started trapping out. Sailing the waves was neat. Just enough wave to practice on, not so much that the bows buried. There were a few times that as a wave rolled out from under us, the transom went down so much, it was as if we stopped. I got into the rhythm of moving forward then back staying in sync with the waves. I also did much better in the second race sailing the jib loose. With the 16-1 magic box, you can really slacken the forestay, and treat the jib like a spinnaker.
We were smoking the fleet in the third race when to my wondering trapped out eyes I dropped into the water with the mainsail, jib and mast. As I broke surface, my first thought was I was going to be dragged back under water as I was attached to the trapeze. I forgot, the boat doesn't move without a sail. My second thought was to swim around to the back and start the derigging process so as to minimize damage - not damage the main. I cheerfully waved the other boats by (we are fine). This is the third time in two years I've been demasted, and I am becoming quite familiar with the routine. But wait, I was still attached. Swam back to the side, de-attached from the dog bone, and swam back around to the back. (What's wrong with this picture?)
After a few moments of fumbling in the water, I brightened up and realized I could be more effective on the boat instead of in the water. I actually hauled myself back up on the boat - I have learned a technique or two from my many capsizes. I go to the front of the boat, and push the bow down and hoist self up. (Howard told me that trick a few years back.)
So I got up on the boat, looked down at the mast and was momentarily nonplused. The mast was bent into an "L". Well, that's a new one. And along the bend of the "L" the bolt rope was town clean away from the main. OUCH. Still, let's minimize damage. I unwrapped the main halyard and tried to "push" it up the mast. (Another Oh Oh coming). We could not get the Howard hook of the mast. So, how to fit a L shaped main system on the tramp without more damage. We tried. We incurred more damage. We did get the jib, mast foot base, and wind indicator off without damage. At one point, I dropped back into the water. When I went to haul myself back up, I was too tired to raise myself enough for the Trapeze harness hardware to clear the boat. I continue to improve my mental facilities. I removed the harness.
Amazing how the mind works through the little details. If you do this enough, you learn what to do to minimize damage. We still got a lot of learning.
Also amazing how far you can drift in heavy winds while trying to figure out how to position for towing. The tow back to shore was long and slow. I ended up laying across the portion of mast laying along the cross bar to hold the mast down to stop the mast from bouncing against the hull. It was quite a comfortable ride. I was not at all hot and not at all cold. Sometimes, I do make good decisions.
We got to shore, hauled the mast up the beach, with help. We had to unbend the mast to loosen the hold on the halyard. This, of course, broke the mast. That was OK. It was a goner anyway. As I was coiling up the trapeze lines, I noticed the white plastic trapeze bungee hook was still attached to the dog bone system. The Trapeze bungee had broken. I didn't realize that I hadn't needed to detach from that. More discoveries awaited. As I removed the boom, Eric noticed the cleat had torn from the rivets on the mast rotation limiter. Hmmm.....
Well, the amazing thing is we could have rigged another mast. We had a full spare boat. But we were not in the mood. We packed up the boats, headed over to Sailcraft Marina for a Barbeque dinner and raffle drawings. We got a very nice Splash Jacket. Got back to the campgrounds around 9:00pm and packed it in.
Sunday morning, we woke to light, patchy wind on the water. We hooked up the trailer and headed home to work on home chores the rest of the day. On the drive home it occurred to us that perhaps if the rivets failed, and the rotation limiter gave such that the mast quick swung over as we were fully trapped/hiked out going full speed in 14 knots of wind, maybe the mast might just complain a bit. Then with the 16 to 1 magic box tension holding the mast, maybe it just wasn't to pleased with the situation. We called Frank, and, yup, that would do it.... We later learned that there were no races Sunday morning, not enough wind.
The rest of the story;
This weekend is October Boys at Kerr Lake, and I am still psyched to kick butt. But I will be doing so on my old boat, as I cannot brave damage to the new boat so soon after the mast attack. Eric is on RC. Not because of a no mast situation, we have a replacement mast already. Rather, we were short on RC, and as Eric can serve on RC and still count as an Isotope as he has not yet served RC at Kerr this year, he had signed up last week to help with RC. This is the real reason the mast broke. Cuz Eric planned to quite sailing the boat a week early. So for those of you contemplating not sailing this weekend, don't go there. Your boat will retaliate, some way, some time, some how.
Three years ago, maybe four, Eric bought a newer Isotope, and I was to get the older one. Before we took possession of the boat, we sailed at Oriental. "My" boat is destroyed. History repeats itself. We buy a new boat, before we take possession, we sail the "to be passed to me" boat practically at Oriental, and we do major damage. So it's official. Eric is getting the new boat. I'm getting the broken boat once the Meldau's make it better than it was before, stronger, lighter, stiffer, faster. Course, we did take a nice long look at the Pirate Boat on Sunday. Nice trailer under that Pirate boat.
Sailing Social At O'Mulligans Sept 26.
50th Annual Banquet, Nov 11, The Preserve, Jordan Lake,
Celebrate with us