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2669Re: Race report: Ithaca Rendezvous

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  • David
    Sep 1, 2011
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      Notes to self:
      - always wear the tether. Always.
      - wear a PFD that actually floats
      - wear the waterproof VHF on my person--a communication device that can actually be used while in the water
      - if a boat is trailing, ready to lend assistance, and I am being dragged to the point of exhaustion let the damn boat go and get picked up by the other guy.

      --- In Weta-Trimarans@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Stephens" <richard@...> wrote:
      > I am getting way behind with my regatta reports! Just too busy sailing and
      > having so much fun...
      > Six boats attended the Rendezvous at Ithaca, NY last month. The locals, Ben,
      > Keith, Clare and myself, were joined by Remi from Baltimore MD and Bill from
      > Albany NY. In addition, a prospective Weta sailor, Carl, sailed in Clare's
      > place on Saturday.
      > On the Saturday, we had a S breeze around 10 that built up to a solid 20 kts
      > in the afternoon. Our picnic destination, Taughannock State Park, was 5
      > miles downwind from Ithaca, and it took no time at all to get there. As we
      > approached the park, some strong gusts were coming in from the West. This
      > was only Carl's second time on the boat, and he was having a great time as
      > the Weta planed across the lake, up till the point where he fell off the
      > back of the boat. Then things were not so fun! Regrettably, I did not set
      > him up with the tether (this stronger wind was not forecast). Here is Carl's
      > description of the incident.
      > "I move out on the trampoline and I edge myself toward the stern, trying to
      > lift the bow out of the water, since it seems to be dragging. I am thinking
      > that I have to be careful not to fall off, when all of a sudden I am
      > falling into the water off the edge I didn't realize was there. I am
      > holding onto the tiller. I land in the water and grab for the gennaker sheet
      > which is the only line I can reach. I am immediately dragged behind the
      > boat. I realize the tiller is broken loose from the rudder, so I try to pull
      > myself up to the boat and when I reach the transom, I throw the tiller into
      > the cockpit, but I am unable to hold on. I fall back to hang on to the
      > spinnaker sheet and am being dragged behind the boat. I see that Ben has
      > turned back. I try to fiddle with the steering with my body, but it does
      > nothing. At one point I pull on the spinnaker sheet and sheet in the sail,
      > and the boat turns downwind on its own. Now I am able to hold on a little
      > more easily, but I realize I have no other steering. At one point I get
      > back to the transom to try to grab the metal clamp attached to the rudder,
      > and I find I can steer somewhat, although the clamp is bent badly. I cannot
      > reach any of the other lines, but with a couple more tries I eventually do
      > reach the main sheet and uncleat it. Then I pull in the main sheet, and
      > unhook the main, but the mainsail simply slams up against the starboard
      > shroud and the boat lurches forward.
      > After several minutes, Ben circles the boat and I ask him what I should do,
      > but I can't hear his response. I see Taughannock point at a distance. I am
      > headed directly toward the point. I am thinking that I must try to go toward
      > the beach. I am thinking I will never be able to hold on if I miss
      > Taughannock, but I have no idea how I can possibly stop once I get there.
      > Ben is behind me and I am trying to get back toward the boat because now I
      > am worried about going so fast that I will drown because my mouth is under
      > water most of the time. I try rolling on my back, but it isn't much better.
      > I try pulling on the gennaker sheet again, and I notice it definitely slows
      > down as I head more down wind, when I release the tension on the starboard
      > sheet, it turns toward the wind and speeds up. At one point I notice the
      > bow diving under the waves, and the stern lifting up about 1 foot or more,
      > and I wonder if I were to release the boat if it would pitchpole.
      > I am afraid of letting go, because the boat will simply keep sailing until
      > it crash lands on the beach. Since I am pretty much under control, but
      > tired, I decide to continue a bit more. At one point I can feel my shorts
      > coming loose and I think I might lose them, but turning downwind again slows
      > me down and I am able to save them. I have the GPS and phone in a pouch
      > around my neck; my life vest is still uninflated. At one point, I get quite
      > desperate and try again to get on the boat, but I get completely tangled
      > with the lines around my neck and I am worried I will strangle. I untangle
      > the lines and hold on.
      > All of a sudden two boats approach on my right and ask if I need help. One
      > is a blue motorboat; the other a white sailboat, motoring. On the sailboat a
      > man is asking if I need help. I say yes, and he immediately jumps in the
      > water about 10 feet from me. I try to slow the boat, but I am moving away
      > fast. He takes two quick strokes and catches me. I grab his hand and pull
      > him up to the transom, and he hauls himself into the boat in a few seconds.
      > I pull myself up to the transom again and tell him we must first furl the
      > gennaker - the green lines in the cockpit. He searches for green lines. I
      > tell him to uncleat the line and pull. He furls the gennaker and the boat
      > slows down. Then he pulls me in, kicking all the while, and I flip my pouch
      > full of cell phone and GPS and water into the boat, and slide in behind
      > them. We scramble to insert the tiller into the rudder and find that there
      > isn't much leverage; the metal clamp is sufficient to steer the boat. I
      > re-attach the main sheet, and adjust the jib. The rescuer asks if I am OK,
      > and I say yes. He says he will jump off, and I thank him as he leaves. I
      > never got his name."
      > Well, you can imagine that Carl, who is near retirement age, was a bit
      > shaken by the experience. I think, if I had given him the tether, he would
      > have been able to get back on the boat much more easily. We had a spare
      > rudder/tiller available, and I was able to fix the broken tiller quite
      > easily with some epoxy and a bit of fiberglass cloth, so there was no harm
      > done.
      > At the park, we lifted the boats up onto the grass to keep them out of the
      > waves, which were on-shore. We were joined by some of our families, while I
      > grilled some of my famous Tandoori chicken. The sail back north into the
      > building wind was a lot of fun, and we fully hiked out for almost the whole
      > way. Understandably, Carl did not feel up to sailing back, so Remi and I got
      > a lift up to the park and double-handed the boat back to the club, arriving
      > as it was getting dark. That evening, we joined in the "Pirates Night"
      > celebrations at the club, were all the kids dress up as pirates and play
      > games, and we have a bonfire and fireworks.
      > On Sunday, we planned some informal racing, and Dave Filiberto kindly agreed
      > to be a one-man race committee for us. The winds were light, around 6-8
      > knots, and gradually died away to the merest zephyr, but we managed to
      > complete four races around a 1/2 mile windward-leeward course. Clare got
      > three out four 1sts, Keith was able to beat her in one race and came second,
      > I was third. Remi invited a friend who lives in Ithaca to sail with him, and
      > was double-handed in all except one race.
      > We all enjoyed meeting other Weta sailors, and it was valuable for people
      > new to the boat to sail with a more experienced fleet. My only regret is
      > that Carl decided he won't be joining our fleet, but other than that I think
      > the weekend was a great success. In fact we are going to get together again
      > soon on the Hudson River (more info coming...).
      > Richard.
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