Some mornings, extricating your boat from the puzzle of rafted boats at I-LYA Bay Week is like playing Tetris in reverse.
At Bay Week in the Lake Erie Islands, the spinnakers are rainbow colored and Steve Perry wails late into the night.
The Inter-Lake Yachting Association's Bay Week regatta is as old-school as sailboat racing gets. The 118th edition of this event drew more than 100 boats—everything from windsurfers to multihulls to Tartan Tens—to the heart of the Lake Erie Islands: the town of Put-in-Bay on Ohio's South Bass Island.
Rather than actually file a protest, it's a lot easier to just whine about the rule breakers, the cheaters, and the indignant victims who only compound the rules-compliance problem.
This year, I've been involved in a handful of incidents on the racecourse that inspired me to write one of those "it's important to follow the racing rules and also to enforce them" manifestos. But I loathe those rants the same way I loathe teachers' pets, well intentioned though they may be, and I've resisted the urge to whine about the rule breakers, the cheaters, and the indignant victims who only compound the rules-compliance problem by failing to follow through with protests. This is the state of the game, and it doesn't seem to be changing.
A loose jib sheet scuttles a takedown and turns a second place into a seventh for Team Arethusa during the 2011 Swan 42 National Championship.
In any regatta decided by a tiebreaker, the losing team can usually find countless places where that one key point was missed. The author dwells on one such moment from the 2011 Swan 42 Nationals off Newport, R.I.
As we started the final day of the Swan 42 Nationals, there seemed to be little to gain for Team Arethusa and a lot to lose. We were tied for second, 18 points behind Ken Colburn’s crew on Apparition—who were sailing phenomenally well—and with a raft of boats in close proximity.
It was a remarkable day of sailing, three grueling races in a chamber-of-commerce southerly that touched 23 on occasion and never dropped below 16.
The ribs were excellent, and the sailing was mighty fine, too.
To many Clevelanders, Memorial Day means one thing: ribs. For years, the Great American Rib Cook Off took place on the grounds of Burke Lakefront Airport, near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. My claim to fame is performing at the jean-shorts-optional affair with my high-school band in 1999. The promoters left a sampling of award-winning ribs in the performers' trailer, and our guitarist couldn't resist trying every variety before we took the stage.
"What do you mean I don't know anything about rounding the leeward mark?"
What does one of the most explosive boxers in history have to offer regarding leeward mark roundings? More than you think.
Maybe you view the leeward mark the way a 20-year-old Mike Tyson viewed the boxing ring: an battlefield where you spend a minimum amount of time and inevitably depart with your hands held high in victory and your opponent(s) prostrate on the canvas awaiting medical attention. If so, read no further.
Race committees don't always do what you expect. When they throw you a curve ball, make sure your preconceived notions don't have a negative impact on your race.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the proverb regarding assumptions, about how the act of making them makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me.” I always thought it was fairly clever, and some good advice to boot, but I’d never really applied it to sailing. Calling tactics, after all, involves making countless assumptions—maybe you call them educated guesses—about the near-term future: Is the wind is going to shift direction? Is it going to increase, decrease, or stay steady? What are your opponents going to do over the next 30 seconds? Over the next 10 minutes?
In a shifty, unpredictable breeze, staying at the front of pack can be harder than getting there in the first place. One key is to minimize leverage, aka risk, when you can.
In looking at my results from Sunday’s frostbiting on Newport Harbort, it’s easy to pick out the 12th and 15th in the fourth and fifth races, respectively, as the biggest mistakes of the day. Top 10 scores in those two races would've vaulted me from ninth (of 26) to sixth. However, as I review the day, I actually think the main culprit was one of my better finishes, an eighth in Race 3. On paper it looks like a solid result. But in reality, it should’ve been a lot better.
The start of Race 2 of the International Rolex Regatta featured a starting line skewed to port, and then a very short port-tack fetch to a mark. Was the race committee was into the martinis early? Nope, that's business as usual at the IRR where most of the races are done on random-leg courses. It was crazy at times for the author and his teammates on Phil Lotz' Swan 42 Arethusa (far right), but it was also a lot of fun.
A trip to the International Rolex Regatta in St. Thomas reminded the author that there's more to sailing than upwind starts, square beats, and even runs.
Forrest Gump’s catch phrase about life being a box of chocolates is more than a bit overplayed at this stage. But there really isn’t a better way to describe the appeal of random-leg racing, which has always been a staple of the International Rolex Regatta, hosted each year in late March out of the St. Thomas YC in the U.S. Virgin Islands.