22 October 2011
Well, I stopped by the hospital and saw Don today. He was sitting up and watching a little tv from his chair. He's moving from the bed to the chair, although once there, he'd prefer to stay.
We had a long talk about his surgery, and his daughter Lindsey was there to fill in missing details for me.
He was under the knife for about six hours. He had 5 arterial aneurysms. They pretty much opened him up wide from just under his sternum to the tops of his legs. They removed 4 arteries and replaced them with... I kid you not.... kevlar. Yes, Don has boat parts on his inside, too! He's also bulletproof, if they shoot him from the inside and aim only at his artery.
One of the arteries was supposed to be about 10mm, and it was 7 cm. That would be, in medical terms, bad. There is a 5th aneurysm, but they worked on it a bit, and they think they will probably only have to put in a stent, which could be done outpatient, and things will be fine there.
While we visited, he was told they have a room for him in the regular ward, so he is out of the ICU. This is better for visits, and means he is no doubt better all the time. He will be in for at least a week, and then he'll be on recovery at home, so he will definitely want visitors.
This could have been a really big deal. A good way to let you know how big is this-- If you have an aneurysm and it finally gives out, if you are not within spitting distance of a hospital, or in the process of being run over by an ambulance, they can't get to you in time to save you. You just bleed out that fast. Don (and all of us,) are very lucky that not only did he have a warning, but that he heeded that warning and got checked out. He was admitted and scheduled for surgery in about a 2 hour time frame. If you have ever tried to get hospitals to do something fast, you know what this meant.
Don is in high spirits, although he knows it is going to be quite a healing process. He's also going to have one hell of an impressive scar. He's very grateful for all the thoughts and well wishes. He has no problems having a few visitors, although you might want to call first. Lindsey is, for the moment, strictly enforcing his cell phone/email ban (Andrew couldn't take more than an hour of that.) He is at Edwards Hospital in Naperville.
Hope everyone is well; Don sends his best to all.
11 October 2011
05 October 2011
21 September 2011
02 August 2011
Well, that was a fun time!
You know, there is something that happens when we race in Harbor Springs. So far this year, we are #2 NOODs, 1st in the Michigan City race, and 1st over the finish in our section in The Mac. We go to Harbor Springs? We get our asses handed to us. WTH? This place is just haunted for Maskwa. We will eventually kick its ass.
Last year, on the best “Tour of the Harbor” we had ever done, we were handily in 1st place, cruising along at about 2.5 kts, sailing the little whippoorwills and eddies of air back and forth across the harbor. What do they do? We’ve got the best boat speed we had had all race, we’re ‘charging’ down the last leg to the finish, roughly 2 miles to go, and they abandon the race on us.
So, we went up this year to get our revenge.
Harbor Springs runs very hot/cold for Maskwa, usually cold. This year was no exception, and I’m not talking about the fantastic weather we had for sunbathing on Saturday.
The whole crew except for Don drove up on Friday at various times. Toke and Olga drove up early, Carly, Anna, and I went up midafternoon, and Jim, Nicole, and Manny came up on the late ‘train.’ We were ready and rarin’ to go when boat call came around.
Friday night we had an early evening, limiting ourselves to 1 trip to The Chart Room for a hummer, and then off to sleep.
As we motored out Saturday morning, the stillness of the water told us all we needed to know about how the race would be. Harbor Springs never has 10 kts and no waves. It is either dead calm or honking out of the west, right down the bay.
The R/C really wanted to get the race off; they made announcements on the radio that they were readying the start, and the zephyr would die out. The AP flag flew all day, and then eventually they abandoned the race. We did get quite a bit of good swimming in, got some sun, and sat around and told stories.
So we motored out to the mouth of the bay to see if we could find some wind to practice, and we had a beautiful sail with 10 knots of breeze, filling the kite nicely, as we practiced jibe after jibe to get ready for Saturday.
We did not have our normal crew for the race, and we certainly needed the practice. Toke and Olga have both sailed on Maskwa before, but for Toke it has been a few years while he’s been on the winning 40.7 Turning Point, and Olga has had quite a bit of time off from the boat.
We came back to the harbor, enjoyed the free burgers and hot dogs that they serve up at the YC, and settled in for a night of tall tales, cocktails, and just general sailor-type hanging out.
At some point, towards the end of the night, while we were hanging out on the foredeck, my wallet decided to take an unannounced swim. It was never found, even though Aquaman went in and dove down in the morning to try to fetch it. Great.
So we motored out on Sunday, the wind whipping around us. Feast or Famine, that is what this weekend is all about.
First gun, and off we went! Rubbed right off onto the committee boat, so had to spin a fast 360, but came across the start line, and rapidly made up time. By the time we had reached the top of the course, we had easily passed the other slower boats in our section, and were working our way towards the front of the pack. Chasing down Sydney 38s is not easy!
We rounded the mark, and had a good set with the “Bear Face,” our heavy air ‘chute. Now we were going to be racing. Maskwa is a fun sail upwind, but with a tiny jib, it’s not our Forte. Downwind? Yes, baby, that’s where we come into our fun time.
We came out and got ready for our first jibe. Just like we practiced, right?
We lost the guy and skied the downhaul, sending the pole crashing into the forestay 2 inches from Carly’s head. That was way too close. We popped the halyard, and dropped the ‘chute half in the water, half on the boat, and reeled it in. We sent up the #2 again, and collected ourselves. That was certainly fun. By now we were almost on top of the mark, so we got ready to head upwind again. However, we had lost so much time on our section, we would never make it up for the rest of the race. We crossed the finish last, which really stunk after we had done so well the rest of the way. So much for race #1, time to reload and get ready for race #2.
For the rest of the day, we had no major problems. Our jibes went well, we had clean hoists and douses, but for some reason, we just did not have the boat speed we needed. The boat sailed well, we had no issues, the crew sailed well…. We just could not get speed up- or downwind. There are always days like that, but we couldn’t shake it.
We ended the regatta at the back of the pack. We passed a few boats here and there, but mostly we had our space as the pickle boat. Not that we really wanted it, but again… there will just be days like that. We still had fun, teased each other, got to see some boats fly by (Tsunami, a NYYC Swan 42, was there. Oh, is that a pretty boat to watch. I want one. Maybe two.)
Imedi and Natalie J, the 2 TP52s, were fun to watch zip around the racecourse. Boy, do they move. I’m sure they saw speeds of at least 17 kts or more, and in the puffs, probably pushing 20. We could hear them go by downwind!
We had a great crew, the boat was great… sometimes you just don’t make the day work. That is Harbor Springs in a nutshell.
Now we need to hear the story of Smokey’s Ribs of Harbor Springs.
20 July 2011
05 July 2011
What a great race!
The forecast for the Chicago - Michigan City – Chicago Regatta had been predicting 95F weather and high winds for a week, so we were all a little bit nervous when the weather was only in the 80s that day. Would the wind hold up? It would be nice to zip around the lake with 15+ knot winds for a 65 mile race.
Race start was at 1955, and we had the #1 up, with the JT ready for action. With the forecast winds, it was looking like a “Jib Top-o-Rama” kind of evening (and morning!) but we were looking for maximum speed.
We had a clean start, and good speed off the line, even though it seemed like the wind was dying off, just a little bit. After the first mile or so, we knew we would be able to hold the Reacher, so we readied that sail, hoisted, and accelerated away.
Rounding the crib, our slight course change made it just a little too difficult to hold the chute, and we were better off cracked off a bit with the #1, so we shifted gears back again, dropped the spinnaker, and continued with excellent boat speed. Free Agent and On Edge were both just off and behind our right stern, and Runaway and Michela were low of us, with Runaway having a slight edge in speed.
As night fell, the winds actually increased a little bit, and we shifted down to our #2 jib, still with a full main. The boat handles really well with a full main right up to 20+ knots of wind, so as long as we had the weight on the rail, we could still sail fast.
We held this basic configuration across the lake for most of the night, enjoying a great reach for the mark, but never getting to the point we could get our spinnaker up again, which would have given us even better boat speed. We were just too close to the wind to allow that, but the wind was nit anywhere near the angle we needed for the JT (which we stowed.)
A few miles out of Michigan City, the wind had lightened enough that we went back to the #1, and dropped the #2 down the hatch to clear the decks. We followed our progress with the GPS, so that we’d be ready to make our call in, and decide what we needed to do tactically to round the mark fast and head back even faster. We flipped the gear so that we’d be ready for the spinnaker on the broad reach we would have for the 3rd leg (Michigan City – Hammond,) and listened to the radios.
2 miles out, we heard Eagle’s Wings 1 mile call in. This was pretty good! After a 30 mile race, we were only 1 mile behind a well sailed Section 1 boat, that owed us a good 45+ seconds/mile. Not that they are in our section, but it’s a good yardstick to measure ourselves and our performance. We heard Runaway, who owed us quite a bit of time, as one of the fastest boats in our section, call in as I went down to make our own call in. We were right behind her in the dark.
We were still regularly hitting numbers of 7.5 to 8.5 knots, so the night had been an excellent sprint. It was midnight, we had started at basically 8PM, and we were already across the lake!
We rounded the turning mark in a tack, fell off, and… well… still too high to carry the spinnaker. Ouch, this was getting funny. We had just made a 150 degree course change, and the wind changed to once again be just a bit too far forward to carry the sails that would make us our fastest— essentially, our biggest advantage had to remain unused at this point.
So, we settled in to trying to pick off the boats that were just ahead of us. We had a sprit boat that had been taking us up, had passed us, and we were chasing it down, our goal to pass it at some point. The funny part was this boat is Night Hawk, a boat that rates quite a bit faster than we do, but we did a good job trying to keep up with her!
Eventually the wind came around again, and it looked like we would be able to send up our Spinnaker, so we got her ready, knowing we’d be strapped in pretty tight, but the speed advantage would probably be something we could make the most of.
For the next 7 miles, we would regularly carry 8.5 knots with the chute up, but it was a very harrowing ride at 0200 in the dark. The Main Sail was basically just giving us a little push, and everything was being driven by a strapped in spinnaker. We could barely hold our course to the mark, which we could not see, especially since it is an unlit buoy. Who the heck decided that? Of course, we were still sailing fast, and if we needed to, Don could just feather up, we’d flap the spin a little bit, and then off we’d go again.
Rounding the Crib to start the final leg just before dawn was breaking, we could hear the boats making their 1 mile call in from the finish. Lots of section 1 and 2 boats. We were about 2 miles from the finish and we heard Runaway call in. We could not recall how much time they would owe us, so we knew it would be close. It seemed as if nobody had passed us in the night; certainly nobody in our section. We had passed Princess M as we headed to the crib, and Jahazi the J120 was right in front of us rounding the Crib. They had sailed too high, and were just not fast enough deeper downwind to make efficient us of their big a-sail.
We did a little fast sailing, and passed Jahazi (which rates 21 seconds faster than us) just a mile from the finish. I made our call-in, and we just worked at maximizing our speed over the last few hundred feet. Jahazi never caught us, and it was a happy crew that took the finish 8 hours and 44 minutes after the start.
We had sailed all night, and except for catnaps on the rail, pretty much nobody slept. Everyone put their energy into the race, and we knew we had sailed well. After getting the finish times, we had corrected over Runaway by nearly 2 minutes.
First Place feels really nice.
02 July 2011
12 June 2011
07 June 2011
04 June 2011
27 May 2011
There was some delay in the airport on Wednesday, so it is good that we did not plan on getting out on the water.
However, the following is the plan for Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday, looks like some rain later in the day. I will be at the boat by 10:00am. Plan on tuning the rig, and fixing some items and then hopefully the weather will allow some sailing time in the afternoon. A little rain will not stop the sailing. Bring foul gear.
Sunday, I have some family commitments in the morning so will get down to the harbor about 1:30pm. Plan on sailing shortly after arrival, since most work will have been completed on Saturday. Supposed to be sunny with moderate temperatures. Should be a good day to shake out the wrinkles.
Will have a plan for the remaining days of sailing as we ramp up for the season. We can discuss over the weekend.
Wednesday will be our first beercan. Hopefully we can get a full crew for some racing .
See you on Sat/Sun.