Captain's Log: Stardate 10466.3
“Set!”

That one little word makes all the difference in the world. It's usually spoken by a brave, knowledgeable soul during times of intense crisis. When something must be done but it looks like it just can’t be done, someone saying “Set!” will calm those involved. What must be done, but looks like can’t be done, will get done. That someone will be a hero. That someone will save us all.

I believe Lt. Saavik said something similar as she entered the USS Reliant's prefix code, starting the chain of events that ultimately saved the Enterprise in the 2nd Star Trek film, “Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan.”

In last week’s Wednesday night’s race, our Enterprise was clearly in the lead, performing extremely well upwind. The cockpit team did a superb job. In fact, everyone did a superb job. No mess ups. All performing as one would expect from the officers on the flagship of the Federation.

… Until the first spinnaker launch, where after hoisting the spinnaker halyard, Commander Dave yelled out, like a gallant knight riding in on a white horse, that single word we all needed to hear: “Set!”

We're all at ease. Things are going to be fine. We have a hero on board and he’s got it under control. He’s confident, bold, and able to do what needs to be done to save the Enterprise, the crew, and the race.

… and then, as the spinnaker filled with air, it dropped down the mast and into the water.

Fuck.

I won’t go into further details, but commendations should go out to the entire crew for getting everything back to normal as quickly as possible. How much time did we lose? 30 seconds? 50 seconds? A minute?

We lost 2nd Place to Surcease by 42 seconds. And unlike previous log entries, at least this time we know exactly where it happened.

Um . . . It also could have been Richard's 35-second late start.

Oh well, it was a blast anyway.

Captain’s Log: Stardate 10464.4
“I was checking the radar on the Weather Channel and there was a large red blob of severe storms moving across Western Long Island Sound. Did you see it?”

That was the question posed to me by the gentleman on the Race Committee boat after we finished the CIYC Distance Race. That would be the Distance Race that ran in Western Long Island Sound.

Part of me wanted to say “No, sunny skies and light winds the whole time,” but from the beaten look of the crew and the fact that every square inch of the Enterprise was waterlogged, I thought my answer of “Duh!” pretty much covered it.

After reaching the first and only mark in record time, the wind increased further and we performed a sail change. Then the wind died down and we performed another sail change. Then the wind picked up beyond 45 and we had no sail. Then it clocked down again and we did a sail change. Then it picked up and we did another. And another… We lost count after five – all within a few minutes of each other and all while getting soaked.

On board were Commander Dave (yes he showed despite numerous claims that his wife wouldn’t allow it – Kurt, you should learn from him), Commander Jory (who promised to make up for every missed Wednesday by doing every weekend I can think of), Lt. Mitch (taking care of some amazing sandwiches for everyone), Lt. Patty (who still thinks we should have gone spinnaker in 40+ winds), Ensign Jane (who we simply refuse to call by her real name), Ensign Roman (who now wants to race in all conditions – including a blizzard) and, for her final tour of duty on board the Enterprise, Ensign Lefty (I won’t go into details about her time in the head, but sonar did pick up several sharks tailing us and we received a satisfactory explanation about why the silver pants didn’t make the trip.)

The race ended with some windward-leeward dueling with the Forza (the same ship that caused our hull breech last year.) They spent a lot of time and effort to make sure that we were to finish just behind them, which was fine with us as we knew we’d correct to over 40 minutes ahead. We approached the finish line and were welcomed with clearing skies and high-kicking dancers on the USS Exuberance. After some calculations, we ended up in Third Place for the race.

Another trophy on the shelf and another great experience with an amazing crew.

Captain’s Log: Stardate 10463.3
All day yesterday I kept saying to myself, if I ever meet Mother Nature, I will not hesitate to slap the miserable bitch. After 5 races already cancelled and the forecast calling for scattered thunderstorms with winds starting in the Northwest at 5-10 and shifting to the South 5-10 (which usually translates to zilch on Eastchester Bay as the two “fight it out”,) I thought we were in for Number 6.

But not for Commander Jory’s first night back! We wouldn’t have it. So, I brewed up a stew of human hair and a bat’s wing, chanted fifteen American Indian sayings, sacrificed a virgin (Note to Police: that smell from the dumpster is none of your concern – move along) and smoked a 4-inch joint (OK, the last one was just a bonus) – and sure enough, the wind was steady out of the South, the sky was clearing and the temperature held at a comfortable 72 degrees.

Problem is, there’s four races to go and I don’t know of any other virgins.

Back to last night: We had a nice start, rode the tide a bit and had a nice little tacking duel with the Tolosians to the first mark. We had a few problems here and there (Thanks, Patty) but did cross the finish line first. Regardless of final standing, it was a fun and exciting race. The Enterprise was flying.

We have seven for the Distance Race this weekend and we’re ready to go. As expected, none of the crew were interested in positions, strategy, who we’re racing against, etc. But, much time and effort has been put into the discussion of breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks. The forecast does call for a chance of scattered thunderstorms, and I can sense a genuine concern from the crew. Yes, they are worried.

Not for the storms -- If we have enough Cheez Doodles for the trip.

Captain’s Log: Stardate 10461.4
I must have changed the stations on my car radio a dozen times, desperately hoping to find a weather report that didn’t include the words “severe” and “dangerous” in the thunderstorm warning that was in effect. No such luck, and additionally, I heard uplifting phrases like “70mph wind gusts”, “1.5-inch hail”, and helpful tips on what to do when surrounded by multiple occurrences of surface-to-ground lightning (which, by the way, is to crouch down on your knees – probably as close as one could physically get to kissing your ass goodbye.)

But we wanted to race. Everybody wanted to race. We’ve had more cancellations than a CBS sitcom. Sitting on the porch, I flipped on my weather radio and heard the Emergency Alert Broadcast System tones.

Here’s how badly I wanted to race: Briefly, in my mind, I said to myself, “Oh please let this be Al-Qaeda.”

It was windy, clearing up and other racers put on their foulies and headed out to their boats. They’re so brave.

Or so stupid.

We went out and after ten minutes of motoring to the starting areas decided we were not going to race. The clouds got darker, lightning started flashing, and we just as quickly headed home to the comfort of the porch.

About 20 or so boats did start and braved the conditions, but, when Division 6 was a half mile from the finish, the lightning increased and the captain of the committee boat called it quits. All races abandoned. Frankly, I was impressed that he stayed out there as long as he did.

Kudos to Commander Dave, Lt. Mitch, Lt. Kurt, Lt. Patty and Ensign Bill for giving it a shot when others wouldn’t dare to show. Missing in action was Ensign Yejide – no phone call, no email, nothing. With all due respect to the Beatles, we are beginning not to believe in Yejide.


Captain’s Log: Stardate 10460.5
Just after the conclusion of the Women Skipper’s Race (we’ll get to that in a bit,) we arrived at the clubhouse for the usual generous helping of war stories, beer and barbecued food. There, in the parking lot, was the USS Eagle’s Captain Bivona’s Mazda Miata with about 80% of its surface area covered with wet clothes. Oh no . . .

Oh yes. During the race, on the downwind leg, the helmswoman on the Eagle saw the fleet move towards the left side of the race course and decided that it was the proper direction to turn the boat. Standing on the right side of the boat, trimming chute and, at least for the moment, proud of the work his crew was doing, stood Captain Ernie. Unfortunately, the helmswomen did not realize that turning left would change the wind angle. Ernie did know this, but it was too late. The Eagle jibed. Usually with an uncontrolled jibe, the boom has been known to swing – sometimes very quickly – from one side of the boat to the other. This time was no different, however during the swing, the boom grabbed a passenger along the way. In true Three-Stooges style, Ernie was swung off the deck and was hanging over the waters of Eastchester Bay, for what he claims was 10-20 seconds, until dropping into the murky depths of what some swear to be a toxic combination of salt water, chemicals and sewerage.

Though no official charges of mutiny have been filed, Star Fleet Command is investigating as to why his crew did not pull the boom back in over the ship during those 10-20 seconds.

Our race wasn’t as eventful. We had a fairly competitive start (as competitive as I wanted it to be without myself or Richard on the helm) and performed excellently towards the upwind mark in heavy wind conditions. Our helmswoman, Lt. Patty, took on her own command style by letting the crew interpret what she wanted when she would yell out out phrases such as “I’m not comfortable with this!.” Our downwind legs were well-executed with two wing-on-wing sets. Commanders Dave and Jory both found it amazing how much easier it was to do wing-on-wing compared to setting a spinnaker while Lt. Mitch did a fantastic job of handling the control lines.

The short race concluded with a game of chicken against an approaching barge which cost us our standing. We crossed the line in third, correcting over the boat that crossed second, but lost over three boats that finished behind us. All in all though, a great race and a great day on the water.

Finally, many thanks to Commander Dave and Lt. Mitch for their help during a morning cruise with some high-ranking Federation officials. They had a wonderful sail and we have once again cemented our standing as the flagship of the Federation.