02 August 2011

Harbor Springs Recap

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?

Um. Not.

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.