2011 Early Season Update: A Whimper and a Bang



Wednesday March 16, 2011 - As the 2011 race season gets underway, Krikkit already has a pair of early-season races in the can. The TCYC New Years Day race and Spring Tuneup had about 11 knots of wind for each day of racing. Unfortunately none of it actually showed up on New Years Day, and it all arrived -- all 22-plus knots of it -- for just the Spring Tuneup.

New Year's Day was at least a warm and convivial day, as we sat at anchor chatting and socializing with nearby boats. We had a full crew, with Simon, Flash, Jen, Chris Walker and Kevin White all onboard. But there was not so much as a whisper of breeze, and after waiting an hour-and-a-half, Race Committee abandoned the race.

After some last minute withdrawals due to illness and revised travel plans, the Spring Tuneup saw us heading out with a light crew of four including Simon, Chris W., Kate Urban, and Angelika Stenico, a new recruit from Austria. With no foredeck crew and Angelika bringing national-level 470 racing skills to the table, she drove the boat while Simon ran foredeck and Chris and Kate managed the pit and genoa. And boy, did we get a workout!


(Left: Krikkit charges out of False Creek on
New Year's Day,  
battle flags a-flyin')

       (Right: Kevin and Chris await the never-to-arrive wind on New Years Day)


With solid 20-plus knot winds, we braved to run the spinnaker and managed the first set and douse with only minor snafus (these being thanks to Simon's rusty foredeck skills). The second set was perfect, but then Simon, trying to avoid an extra gybe in the big winds, called for an improvised dead-downwind takedown. It was a call that would work fine in seven knots of breeze, but in the big breeze it allowed the chute to interact with the rig during the takedown. Result: one torn chute and we had to race the remaining three races with a spinnaker rating, but no spinnaker.

Still, Angelika was getting used to the boat, and without all the chute rigging and cleanup to take care of we were able to concentrate on our roundings and upwind speed, so that we were finishing the first leg within spitting distance of the leaders, and not losing too much on the downwinds. Net result: we beat Brinehog on one race when they blew a takedown and drove well past the leeward mark, and then we beat Lithium fair and square in the next race, thanks to some good calls on the shifts by Angelika. Presto ran an excellent clean regatta to take four bullets and the overall win, Brinehog pulled off a second and Ultraman was 3rd across the board. Unfortunately, we were all too busy sailing the boat to take photos!

Krikkit's big Tutti Frutti spinnaker is now at the sail loft being repaired, and I've got a new (okay, used) narrow-shouldered yellow spinnaker to try out on the boat as a spare/heavy-air spinnaker.

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