Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tanzer 16--Never underestimate the power of last place

Tanzer 16--Never underestimate the power of last place -- May 25, 2017 It was the second night of racing this season, and we probably sailed our best three races since we began racing three years ago.  Races one and three weren't our wind--too light, but we kept the stern up, Tony kept the boat moving, our tacks were crisp, and we stayed with the fleet.  We finished in the middle.  The second race was the most interesting.

We were messing about and got a lousy start.  That's us, the orange boat, on port tack.  At this point there were nine boats racing and we were ninth.  That meant we would get nine points.  The interesting thing about racing sailboats is that you get nine points if you come in a close last or a way back dead last.

It was actually quite a bit worse than this not to scale drawing would

We looked up and asked ourselves, "Do you see more wind on the starboard side of the channel?  Yes, and less current too."  So we decided, "What the hell, we are already last, nine points is nine points lose by a little or lose by a lot--last is last."  We stayed on port tack and sailed away from the fleet who were busy covering one another.

We got more wind.  Less current.  We wanted to tack on the rhumb line but decided to stay high of the mark since the current was running strong.  Two of the lead boats tacked to soon and had to make two extra tacks.  Then we headed for the mark on starboard tack got a lift. The fleet (now on port tack) got headed.

A three knot current shoved the early tackers below the mark.  We held on
longer and then the lift carried us around the mark on a close reach.  We
made up more time.

So we turned the corner in fourth place.  Then the wind shifted for a dead down wind run to the finish line and we stole enough air from the spinnakers ahead of us to save time on another boat.

Don't get me wrong.  It's always better to be out in front covering the competition, but last place can have it's own advantages.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Tanzer 16 -- It's always something--spinnaker pole

Tanzer 16 -- It's always something--spinnaker pole -- May 21, 2017  The spinnaker pole is a pretty simple device--piece of aluminum tubing.  Hook in the middle.  Spring loaded snap hook on each end. Worked flawlessly for two years.  All of a sudden it jams.  No reason.  No grit, dirt or salt inside. Teflon spray doesn't help.  Of course the end that jams is the one with the pressed fitting not the one held in by a screw.

Solution:  Disassemble.  Cut through the aluminum by not the plastic plug.  Sand all the pieces with 220 grit (it takes a lot of sanding).  Lubricate with Teflon.  Reassemble.  Seems to work.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Tanzer 16, Little Fixes, jib sheet cleat, tiller

Tanzer 16, Little Fixes, jib sheet cleat, tiller, May 20, 2017 -- This is the first winter that we did almost nothing to the boat.  Two little modifications have made it just a little easier to sail.

Cam cleats were added to each side of the pedestal making it easy for crew to cleat off the jib without a line running across the cockpit.  Thus freeing up more time to fiddle with other little adjustments.

Saw this idea in photos from a Craig's List post.  That boat had a factory
pedestal and mounted them on the top.  This works fine.  (Yes! It is a busy
little centerboard cap, but all that hardware makes it easier to single-hand
and race.  My Catalina 22 has many less lines than my Tanzer 16.

And, silly as it seems, we needed to fuss with the length of the tiller.  We brought it back to normal length and moved the hiking stick forward a bit.  All this in an effort to get the weight forward on upwind beats.  (More about this later when we review out last race.)

Shortened the tiller back to normal length, and, just cause I
had a can handy, added some rubber grip paint to the end.

We are still not happy with our handling of the spinnaker--but we are getting closer.  The next thing we try will be to shorten the retrieval sock or eliminate it altogether.  If we want to use this sail in our short races, it has to go up and come down quickly and easily.  Last week we did not use the spinnaker and gained on the two Harpoons that used up a lot of time getting their chutes up and down.

The sail works great.  We are just too slow--in short races
that is really a big problem.  It we want to use it, we need
to get it up and pulling in less than 30 seconds.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Tanzer 16--Rain--Rain--Rain--Drying sails

Tanzer 16--Rain--Rain--Rain--Drying sails -- May 12, 2017  Sails are expensive, I like mine to look nice.  That means drying them out to prevent formation of our state flower, mildew.  Hate those little black spots.  So before we went sailing yesterday I cleaned the shop.

It rained like crazy, but worth it. We had one of those rare days when the wind was blowing 10 knots, but the water was flat.  We put the boat on a broad reach and flew up the bay.  We practiced weight placement on a beat, a run, and a broad reach.  Weight forward on a beat and reach definitely improve speed and shorten tacking time.

Now the clean up.  Sails, bags, rain gear spread out on the floor--glad we didn't fly the spinnaker.

After our tests, we decided to shorten the tiller back to its original length.

Thinking about modifying the way we launch the spinnaker--more later along with new jib sheet cleats on the pedestal.

Dry sails stay new looking a lot longer.

Cut the tiller back to its original length.  The extra five inches was good for
single handing--but not so swell with a crew.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Tanzer 16, First Race of 2017, 4 boats and lightening

Tanzer 16, First Race of 2017, 4 boats and lightening -- May 5, 2017 -- There are old sailors and there are bold sailors.  It seems there are also lucky sailors.  The weather was great until 1300--then the humidity rose sharply; the clouds built up quickly.   It was certain that a rare Puget Sound thunderstorm was on its way.  (Once spent a very long summer at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri --  I know what a thunderstorm feels like and how it smells when it is building.)

By 1500 it was rumbling all over the county and by 1600 trees were falling and power was going out. We make our go no go decision for racing about 1630.  I am willing to sail in the rain. I am willing to sail in rain and too much wind (up to a point) and I am willing to sail in rain with no wind.  I am not willing to sit on the water with a 23-foot aluminum stick up in the air during a lightening storm.  (A day later, the news said that a motorcycle rider was hit by lightening and killed during the peak of the storm.)

There was lots of chatter all afternoon on email -- "Go?"  "No go?"  "Maybe I will go down do the dock and see."

This strike was a couple of miles south of our race course.

In the end four dinghies showed up along with the committee boat.  They found a little crack in the storm and got in three races.

I think Garner Miller took this picture.  I was home
waiting for the lights to go out.

In the words of Fleet Captain, Jim Findley, "4 brave diehard sailors got in 3 dinghy races between the lightning storms. There is a thin line between brave and stupid. I THINK  we were on the brave side of the line.  Jim."

A picture taken later in the evening -- after the race, shown below.  So we are starting the first series with a DNS and at least 15 points at five points per race -- Oh well, it was the right decision for us.

Posted by KOMO-TV.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Tanzer 16 Dinghy Dock --added a roller

Tanzer 16 Dinghy Dock --added a roller--May 1, 2017  Spent all winter (and spring that felt like winter--it has been the wettest winter/spring in 126 years) thinking about how to make the dinghy dock easier to get the 400 lb+ Tanzer up on the bunks.  I probably went down and looked at it five times, but couldn't come up with a plan.

Since the boat is going in the water in two days, I finally sucked it up and went down there in the rain with some string, sticks, and a measuring tape.  The only improvement I could think of was to add another roller.  It's the one with the lighter color wood.  Dinked around and determined the height and position of the roller.  Then I was able to make it at home.

The roller might be 1/2-inch high (we can remove the spacer between the 2 x 8's if we need to).  We won't really know until we pull the boat up on the dock.  Wish me luck--oh yeah, they are predicting lightening for our first race on Thursday.  Luckily the marina has a bar.

Besides adding the roller, all the screws were tightened or replaced and some
cleats were added to fasten down the boat cover.  Yes, when the boat is on
the cradle it touches the Lido.  Or almost touches.