2669Re: Race report: Ithaca Rendezvous
- Sep 1, 2011Notes 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
> 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...).
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