Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Ooh, feeling some pain

This whole sailing racing thing isn’t just fun and games

Oh, man. What isn’t aching is bruised, and what isn’t bruised is aching, and there’s a lot of me that’s both. Actually, most of the damage wasn’t done in Saturday’s race, in which the winds were light, but in Sunday’s Adams Cup practice session, in which the winds were variable from nothing to gale strength and at variable directions – such are conditions on a lake in the middle of the desert in the middle of winter.

The sailing club had a board meeting, but those of us who weren’t board members but only spouses of board members took JoAnn’s new J/24 (she only just got it and hasn’t figured out a good name for it, nor where all the lines go) out for a training session. We had Vicky on foredeck, Kari at mid, Margaret on trim, me at the helm, and Ken for a coach. JoAnn’s on the board, so she couldn’t join us because she had to be at the meeting.

We got in a lot of good work. It was also hard work for me as helmswoman, as the winds kept shifting and kept me busy. We got in some good upwind sailing, and we did some work with flying the spinnaker without a pole, although I had to cut that short when we got headed toward some nasty shallows. Then sailing out of that, there were some rocks to sail around. I hope that the reason we had to deal with the obstacles was that Ken planned that I would have to make command decisions – he never made any suggestions about course changes or anything like that. I spotted the danger and made the decisions about how to deal with it.

Coming back to the marina, I told Ken that I was getting tired. He asked the other crew members who would like to take over the helm. Margaret and Vicky both declined, but Kari did volunteer – she’s a real trouper. Unfortunately, conditions were dicey, and Kari’s own boat has a steering wheel rather than a tiller. She was game, but she also had difficulty adjusting to the concept of steering in the opposite direction to where one wants the boat to go. She was beginning to get the hang of it, but this wasn’t really the day for that kind of training – the wind swatted the boat down hard with a sudden sideways gust, and she kept up her game face, but she was at a loss what to do.

Sometime in the next two weeks, I want to get Kari out on the lake, in light air, with a tiller-steered boat. I know she can learn helm, because I saw the beginning of understanding this afternoon. There’s some undeveloped talent there; when the wind remained relatively steady, she could adjust nicely. She may not become part of the racing team, but I know she can learn basic helm. To a certain extent, I consider it essential that she learn this, to overcome whatever fear she may have picked up today.

Meanwhile, Rich loaned me some J/World videos. I’ve watched one, and I found it very informative. It covered some of the topics Ken covered with us Sunday, especially the issue of sail curvature that he spent a lot of time talking about with Vicky and Margaret. I’d really like to have as many of the prospective Adams Cup sailors as possible come together to watch these videos. I will have to warn people – my idea of housekeeping is worse than most bachelors’. Bring your own beer; Gerald will pop up some popcorn.


Anonymous Adrift at Sea said...

Sounds like you're off to a good start. Ken sounds like some of the better instructors I've sailed with. Great idea about getting Kari some low-pressure time on a tiller. I know a lot of sailors who started out on powerboats, and got large sailboats, but are terrified of tillers. I personally prefer tiller-steered sailboats, even on the larger ones. Movie night for the J/World videos sounds like a great way to build up the team.

Mon Jan 30, 09:03:00 AM MST  
Blogger Pat said...

Carol Anne was somewhere between amused and intimidated by the labels on the videos that said they were for intermediate to advanced sailors. (We also have some non-J-world sailing videos that are a little less intense with jam-packed explicit sailing footage.)

Mon Jan 30, 12:23:00 PM MST  

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