Saturday, January 24, 2009
Well, it is over, Acura Key West Race Week Presented By Nautica 2009. Dave Eames and his crew aboard Lightning Rod finished off the series in 2nd overall. But we will get to that in a bit below.
Dave did a great job putting everything together. The house was great, Bill Grady's cooking was good and entertaining. The weather, though quite cold, with a bit of a rain squall line one day, was cooperative. The competition was as good as it could get. So now for the awards:
Day 1: Div 3, PHRF 4, Nautica Watches Day , First Lightning Rod
Day 2: Div 3, PHRF 4, Sperry Top-Sider Day, First, Lightning Rod
Day 3: Div 3, PHRF 4, Mount Gay Rum Day, Second, Lightning Rod
Day 4: Div 3, PHRF 4, Lewmar Day, First, Lightning Rod
Day 5: Div 3, PHRF 4, Acura Day, Third, Lightning Rod
WEEKLY TROPHY (OVERALL POSITION)
Division 3, PHRF 4, Second, Lightning Rod
CREW RECOGNITION AWARDS
"Baby Needs New Shoes Award": Deborah Deats, for her tumble on Day 1 down the companion way hatch. The event proved to be a lesson in communication as the US Coast Guard, Local EMT services, and a nearby hospital all needed to care for the girl.
"1 Scotch, 1 Bourbon, 1 Beer Award": Cute Daniel. His interest in dance (see above), mocha hotties, and boxing proved to be informative and entertaining. Who else could get a female Key West Police Officer to say "Stop it, settle down, get in the car, or your going to jail" and "Have fun!" all in the same situation.
"Milli Vanilli Award" : Jerry Deray. The same song, mincing words, strumming a six string, not quite priceless.
"Team Award" : Scott Mitchell and Glenn Purcell. Just a month before they were asking "Why are we practicing poleless sets?" 25 Weather mark roundings...13 port tack approaches.
"I Cannot Grow A Third Hand Out of My Ass, Craig, I Can't Even Try Award": Hunter Riddle. Trimming jib, tacking jib, setting main, flying sheet, pumping main, playing guy. Oh yeah, tactician.
"Every Body Loves Grady Award" : William "Shady" Grady. Tactful, delightful, an acquired taste. Grady was our roadside representitive, providing commentary on everything, mostly stuff he had no knowledge of, but commentary nonetheless.
"Falling On Deaf Ears Award" : William "Billy Ray" Rackley. "Bill".."Huh?" "Bill!"..."Huh?" "BILL!!!"..."Ready to tack?" Seriously, Billy Ray was a grinder's grinder.
"The Sails Are Up, Shut Up And Drive Award" : Gina Coulter. Damn girl, we nee a bigger boat if you gonna pull the sail up that fast! Gina also rode with Deborah in the ambulance and stayed in the emergency room with her.
"Current Events Award": Craig Wilusz: In the final race, Craig, on port approach slammed into a tack at the top mark inside a starboard tacker. The guy on starboard owed Lightning Rod one and was letting the team in, however, the current coming down didn't agree. A quick spin avoiding the mark, the crew picking up the movement, cleared us and we rounded right behind, passing the starboard tacker at the hoist. Practice your poleless sets, ya'll
"ROCKSTAR OF THE WEEK AWARD" : Stu Juengst. This guy had it on. On the final day of racing, Friday. Stu was picked up by the team aboard Santa Cruz 1. A brand new out of the box Santa Cruz 37 in Division 1, IRC 2. This was the SC37's debut to the world of yacht racing, even getting the tuning guide written as the boat sailed around the course, attracting the attention of the press and other types of media. Stu replaced Tim Kernan, of Kernan Yacht Design (he designed the Santa Cruz 37) as sewer and rail meat. Stu is the only member of Fort Walton Yacht Club and the Piney Wood Redneck Yacht Club to have ever sailed in IRC.
"All I Want To Do Is Trophy Out At Key West Award" : Dave Eames. He did it. getting a daily trophy every single day at Acura Key West Race Week Presented By Nautica. The enitre crew is proud of his accomplishment. Take a breather and relax now, Dave. All you gotta do now is win the next big event.
To all of you who cheered us on, thank you for your support, it meant a lot to us. Your texts, emails, phone calls, and messages all made the week more special. It gave us something to talk about other than the racing. To those that jeered, well, thanks for that too. We never entered the event trying to prove something, it just happened to end up that way.
From the team and crew for the sailing vessel Lightning Rod,
"Slap some lipstick on that boy and take him downtown!"
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Glenn and Scott have performed flawlessly. Every launch and every douse has been perfect. we have two pit people and when Deborah was injured, after winning the race, Gina stepped in today and performed every bit as flawlessly, not just in the pit, but helping to identify problems before they were problems and helping the tactics guys with where are fleet and others are on the course and what is happening to them. The "alley", which is the middle of the boat is getting last mention because not only has their work been flawless, other than the winch they haven't enjoyed too much drama. Rackley and Jerry worked the alley today while Stu and Rackley worked it yesterday. They do their job and get on the rail to yells of "Hike Bitches" from Craig. As with all the crew work I've seen on LR this week, it is every bit as professional as on the Farr 40s I watched last year that gave me key West fever. When the LR crew hikes their shoulders are out, their paws are in the air, legs kicked our for every ounce of counter balance they can provide. We all like to win.
On tactics Craig and Hunter have performed, well, up to 6 points in four races standards, there just isn't much better you can do.
Key West Race Week is FUN!
By now, everyone is all aware of Deb's damage. Here is what it looked like after she got all cleaned up. She is doing a whole lot better, and is walking around on crutches, making the time to get sympathy hugs from Italians, the French, some Swedes, a couple of Norweigians, and the list goes on and on and on. Deborah has become quite popular.
So today, as far as sailing goes, was "just plain nuts". Chaos around the race course. One of the new big boats a Custom 41 "XS" with a negative six PHRF lost it's rig ( running backs are not as much fun as some people think).
Jerry Deray gets the save of the day. One minute and forty seconds before the first start we had a override on the starboard primary, on port tack , in seventeen knots of wind, with a line up of starboard tackers approaching the line. Not good. Craig called for the trimmers to pull straight up on the sheet to clear the overide. The trimmers followed, and the override came out just fine, but also pulling up the Lewmar winch drum up with it! It bounced off the deck, Jerry caught the drum, one handed under the lifeline outside the rail, OVER THE WATER! Gina collected split rings, pawl springs, races, and bearings from the deck. Quick responses by Craig and Glenn got a snatch block to the rail to lead the jib sheet to a secondary on the cabin top. Jerry and Bill got jamming along, Dave, calm and quiet throughout the carnage, tacked, and Lightning Rod was off. A bullet!
Race Two found "the Rod" leading the fleet around the marks again, Seven mile race, five legs, W/L's (1.3 mile legs, with a bit longer final upwind beat. Going around the final gate found Dave and the gang ahead of the other S2 9.1, but not enough time on the MAC 30 Carribean Soul II. Decisons had to be made. Hunter, Craig, and Dave had to come up with a game plan. Split with the S2 and attack the MAC? Tight cover the S2 and screw the MAC? Loose cover the S2 and make on the MAC? We chose door number 3. Loose covering the other S2 allowed us some time on the MAC, however the other S2, who got real aggressive on the beat, gained and got 16 seconds ahead. The S2's had a battle, a battle to the finish, spliting tacks, grinding away, and actually leaving the MAC behind. The final three tacks brought the S2's on approach to the line, with "the Rod" gunning for a port/starboard leading into the line. The boys from Conneticut, pulled it off, luffing up and into the line, crossing seven seconds ahead of Lightning Rod. A second for FWYC.
Points were lined up in Dave's favor as the previous race found the other S2 with a third, and the MAC a second. Score for Tuesday, Lightning Rod (1,2) three points, Elysium, the other S2 (3,1) four points, MAC 30 (2,3) five points. Lightning Rod the victor! Another Daily Trophy for Dave, another smile on his face, and another check to write! Going into Wednesday finds the Piney Wood Yacht Club bunch in first with six points, the other S2 second with eight points, and the MAC 30 third with twelve points. We are only 40% into a ten race series with no throwouts, so not much breathing room. Cheer us on folks, the crew needs it!
Monday, January 19, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Last night we piled eight people into the Dave's truck to anxiously await the arrival of Welome Gina. She arrived safely to the welcoming banner made of paper towels and a missing letter "Wel*ome Gina." All of us (nine now) loaded up for a little Green Parroting, mojitos at Willie T's, and a quick stop at the local drag queen bar. Had a very interesting evening trying to identify it's, he's or she's. After a few dances Craig finally figured out that his dance partner, a 6'6" amazon woman was really an it and Daniels mocha hottie was definately an it too. Scott helped Grady donate his chest hair to a group of young women on a Southern Bachelorette Party. Gina and Deborah passed on the mechanical bull riding but have both mastered the mechanical chair at the house (see previous chair video for a look at the wild ride).
Sunday's wind was very light, yet we were able get even more jibing and tacking practice in before heading back to the boatyard for final preparations going into battle. Dave feels confident and is anticipating the following week's events. Deborah took the opportunity to try her hand as a delivery captain taking Lightning Road to her new upscale digs for the week. Along the way , she took command and tow of a J-80 with engine trouble. Lightning Rod's new spot comes with the added perks of pool, showers, and only one block away from the party tent.
Scott and Glenn were dismal failures at applying the Acura stickers and had to request new ones from headquarters since one was on crooked and the other went to visit the local lobsters.
Most of the crew attended a racing tactics seminar and then had their first taste of Mt. Gay and German beer. Dave and Craig called it an early night at went home to more of Grady's good cookin' ... chicken breast, salad and key lime pie. Everyone is atwitter with anticipation for tomorrows events. The forecast keeps changing, however all the models show winds in the twentys and high teens. So hang on folks, it will now be interesting for sure...