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...
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Yep, Key West, it is here. Saturday's practice day saw more boats come out to play. Some Swan 42's, J-80's, a Benne 36.7 and 40, and an all familiar boat Man-O-War, the J35 out of Singing River Yacht Club, Mississippi bounced around the water this afternoon. The J35 showed some love by giving a big GYA shout out to us "Go GYA!!!" as we sailed upwind together.
Practice was fairly intense today. We counted approximately a eight takedowns, a nine sets, maybe twenty tacks, and around thirty or so gybes. Winds were between 14 and 20 knots. Seas definately dropping down a bit as compared to the last couple of days. Working the foredeck to a pulp was the mission today. Communication started working itself through with "Hike Bitches!" , "Tack Bitches", and"Gybe Bitches" . Terminolgy is still under development for hoists types and mark douces. Cute Daniel, as seen in the picture, is having a blast! No matter what we throw at the lad, we still can't get him to wipe that goofy smile off his face.
Regardless, of Daniel's inablilty to turn his frown upside down, everybody got a workout. Dave spent some time working the main upwind, switching off the helm to Craig every once in awhile. Dave also developed some gybing style as he trims and gybes the main downwind. Dave is having a blast taking time to sail his boat. Per the usual, Grady's food is outstanding. Ham steaks in the morning, grilled sandwiches for lunch, shrimp premaviera for dinner. He is a reall assest to the team taking time to help out with laundry tasks as well. He is slowly getting into the groove, even breaking out his Kwanza shirt tonight to go out on the town. So out on the town it is, Mojitos, Mojitos, Mojitos!!!!! GO PWRYC!
Friday, January 16, 2009
Of course it is not all fun and games like back at the shop..... The guys sent me this picture so I could keep my head on the boat and not worry about what is going on back home. Don't they look like they have everything under control?
The sailing is just fantastic. There is nothing to calm the mind and the soul like concentrating on getting every last bit of speed out of a boat in 20-30 knots. Lightning Rod is an amazing boat, she just feels so nimble now with her new bottom. I can't wait to try her with our good sails.
I took a walk on Duval Street tonight and had a great time watching people and just relaxing. I bought a few cigars from a street vendor and indulged in my two or three times per year cigar habit. The cigars are hand rolled here in Key West and the one I smoked was very good.
We are expecting more of the same weather tomorrow. If the forecast is right we may want to wait until early afternoon for it to lay down a little.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Today was a good day. We all woke up to Grady's story about sneaking up on Jerry with cooking spray at night, and decided to eat breakfast instead of hearing the rest of the story. Some of the gang took off to find bikes to rent or find the boat, while others fished around "the compound" and found some bikes on their own. More on this later as ingenuity was required to get the bicycles in working order (Winn-Dixie lighter fluid replacing chain oil) and with some added flair. Our next door neighbors are not only nice, but also helpful in emergencies as Urgent Care is right next door! Perfect! Lunch was served, again with more gradyisms, and we went sailing. Sailing was wonderful, 20 knots TWS, surfing off pebble rollers around eight knots or so. Dave, really taking to the wave pattern well. Of course a mishap was requried and our new megamaxi jib sheet cover came undone from the core at the splice. Glenn, ever so helpful, now has another project.
After sailing we took the time to make minor adjustments to the boat while a Swan 42 was getting it's mast stepped in our slip. The guys on the 42 were real nice, and made way as soon as the rig was somewhat secure. We unloaded the boat with some help from local yard workers who seemd to cheer on each other to keep up morale. A friendly bunch once you get Grady away from them.
Some rig re-tuning, some taping, and the mighty Lightning Rod slumbers away Thursday evening to the hum of the industrial dehumidifier.
Grady came through again with dinner of ribs, stir fried vegtables, and seemingly semi-boiled potatos. Somewhare around here is some Key Lime Pie with Scott's name on it, wait, RedStripe for Scott and Key Lime Pie for every one else!
Friday looks to be a bit more breezy with some computer models forcasting winds as high as twenty-six knots! More blade sailing and chicken chute gybing makes for a happy bunch.
Racing begins Monday, with more practicing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday so stay tuned ya'll!!! LOVE, PWRYC
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
We got here just in time to keep Grady from being arrested by the airport security for loitering.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Next it was time to put the mast up on the boat. The mast was so close to the power lines i found it scary and everybody thought I was too careful to insist we move the boat a little bit away from the lines.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Lunch was leftover pork roast sandwiches that were great. After lunch Grady and Glenn emptied and cleaned the power boat. Jerry and I took care of more radio work including fixing some equipment. We also did a lot of work on the house again today. The Hot Tub is working perfectly and is hot. We had some issues with the cable and partially resolved them, but some of the work will belong to ComCast. We also installed a wireless router for all of our hi-tech crew.
In the afternoon we went out to the bight and made arrangements for dockage during race week. We were not comfortable with our arrangements at Stock Island. Conch Harbor in the bight is very expensive, I just cringed, but we will be there for all the festivities this way and we'll have access to parking, showers and a swimming pool. Jerry and I went for a swim to ensure that the facilities are of a quality fitting our crew. They are much too nice but our crew will have to suffer through them!
Tonight we had a fabulous chicken salad for dinner and some really good Key Lime pie for dessert. Rough life.