22 July 2013

2013 Chicago to Mackinac (Part #2)

Hi all!

So we all got down to the boat early on Saturday, to finish the prep work, and launch out to the lake.

Even though this was an 'early Mac,' we were ready to go. Kate and Mary Ellen had the food prep out of the way, Steve spent the morning tensioning the rig, we gave the waterline a good scrubbing, took some photos, all the usual stuff.

It was actually a relaxed morning. Loved ones came and saw us off. It was relaxed because we had done the majority of the prep work the days before. Maskwa was ready, and so was her crew.

Kristin and I had used the deck snorkel to get the bottom scrubbed, we rebuilt winches, cleaned and lubed them, checking for telltale shiny wear marks; everyone pitched in to scrub the boat from stem to stern, so we would have a clean house (to start out with, at least.) Gear was organized, sails were repaired, fitting were adjusted, the works.

We had a good section, although as I explained in post #1 on the Mac, there was a good chance if they scored the race as Off Wind, we would be at a disadvantage.

We motored out, passed in review of Navy Pier, turned to pass the check in boat, and then it was just us and the lake. Oh, and 300 other boat. And a Coast Guard Cutter. I am sure I am missing something.
Motoring out

We had 3 Mac "Virgins" on board. Mary Ellen, who has taken over for Carly as our bow girl, has been doing a great job calling the starts, and was on board for her first Mac. Kate, who came to us off and on last season, really started sailing hard this season, and won a good spot with her main trimming and positive attitude, and we invited our good friend Dave "Sabu" (a.k.a. Single Banger, a.k.a. Two Stroke, ) G, who comes to us from Denver just for this race. He has been sailing the NOOD Regattas with us for years, did a Tri-State a few years back. He sails his Sanata 22, Zen Tuna on the lakes in Colorado, provides excellent all around sailing skills, and is funny as hell.

Great crew to sail with!

We had our crew brief on the way out as we motored, and then we settled in and spent some time thinking about sailing.

The approach to the start went well, we had clear air, and away we went! We had bled off a little too much speed right before the start, thinking we were a hair early in the lighter winds (nothing like being over early in a 333 mile race!) and Crazy Diamond popped past us, but the rest of our section was low of us and not terribly fast.

We spent the rest of Saturday enjoying a fresh breeze out of almost exactly the direction we wanted to go, of course. But we were planning on a lull moving over the lake; pretty much every forecast had that included, so we wanted to be as far north in the lake as we could. We just did not have as much boat speed as we wanted. More is almost always better!
finally on the high side!

trimming from the low side
Slowly the boats that would finish ahead of us after 72 hours were working their way past us in the first hours after the start. Once we were up the lake, the solidified those positions, as the fresh breezes were coming from the north end of the lake, so they would get them earlier than we would.
Nite Hawk

In addition to all of that, we never saw greater than 10kts of wind the entire voyage. Usually some place in there we get a good breeze... we are a spinnaker boat, and we need some downhill sailing to really make hay. I think we had the chute up for a total of... oh... 4 hours?
1st Mac!!
Obviously not enough!

Saturday ended with us still moving along at a decent pace, but a little too far West of Rhumb for my taste... but we were concentrating on north, and that is where we went.

More to come, more to come!
preparing for the night...