Captain’s Log: Stardate 10574.2
Last night, while flying my shuttle home, I engaged my new Blackberry communicator and called the home of our esteemed First Officer.

“Hey,” I said. “How are you?”
“Good.” He replied.
“Haven’t heard from you in a while. Are you in for the Fall Series?”
“You’re asking the wrong person . . .” And then, somewhat muffled through his telephone receiver, I heard “Hon, can I go do the Fall Series on the 8th and 9th?” in a tone of voice that had me rethink the importance of the institution of marriage. “Yes, the 8th and the 9th.”
A pause. A dreadfully long pause. In fact, I wasn’t quite sure what I’d hear next. Could be anything from an “OK, dear” to a gunshot.
And then: “OK, I’m in. as long as we’re going spinnaker.”

And yes, we are. Today, I sent on our entry for the Enterprise, spinnaker division, for the Fall Series, our final mission for the season. Before I spend a few months planning out winter projects and getting sail quotes for Pentex or Carbon Fiber headsails, the brave crew of the Enterprise (minus a few) will face October weather and push the boat as fast as it can go with a smaller headsail (I’m requesting a rating change of +3.)

Among the returning crew will be Ensign Sid, who claims that not only will he try and bring on a new crewman, but also a couple of his lady friends to fill the position of “eye candy.”

So, if I blush when Lt. Mitch asks how my mast bend is, you’ll know why.

Captain’s Log: Stardate 10571.8
Ever since I first named a boat “Enterprise,” I have endeavored, over many years, to attached common Star Trek terminology with common sailing terminology. For example, the bridge is the cockpit, warp drive are sails, impulse drive is the engine, a warp factor is a knot, and so on. They have become second nature to us, so much so that when I say we’re moving at Warp 7.2, everyone on board knows exactly what I mean. Yet, after all those years, I have never come up with an equal meaning for “ejecting the warp core’ – Until this past weekend.

The first race of the Sayers Series was pretty much a non-event. The storms that were to be considered a far-reaching arm of Tropical Storm Ophelia instead were so far east that what was left in our end of Long Island Sound was nothing more than a humid windless heap of air. I know I’ve talked about windless days before, but for the first time the little flywheel at the top of the mast wasn’t moving at all. 0.00 knots of breeze. On board was myself, Commander Jory, Lt. Kurt and Lt. Kurt’s daughter Claire, who is delightful and as cute as a button, and don’t get me wrong here, but after a hour or two of “Do you know what?” questions, I felt like I was watching a Trojans commercial.

For the second race, Kurt and Claire had to go home, so it was just Jory and I for this one. At the time we dropped the mooring, it was blowing a steady 9 knots. That, and a 3-point PHRF adjustment for being doublehanded had us believing it was going to be a great race. So, then came the starts, and 9 knots grew to 12. 12 grew to 15. 15 grew to 16. And before our start, 16 grew to 17-18. All of a sudden, two people became an issue.

White caps formed on the bay. And we really gave it our all, despite how much we were getting terribly overpowered. How I dreamed we had Kurt back on board. That is, if Dave, Mitch, Richard, Ryan, Bill, Phil, Sid, Ozzy, Dave Z, Lefty, Roman, Patty, Kay all came with him. At this point, I would have taken Jerry Finger.

Then came the gusts. In no time at all, the repair job I did on the genoa was history. The tear increased. Pieces of Kevlar delaminating from the starboard side of the sail starting coming off and scattered into the bay. We had no choice but to drop out of the race.

We returned to the mooring, took the sail down (or what was left of it), and raised the Quantum Dacron #3 for the Fall Series. It’s a little smaller, but if there’s a lot of wind, it will be better for us anyway.

We then took the remnants of the Kevlar sail ashore and “ejected the warp core” right into the dumpster in the center of the club’s parking lot.

Captain’s Log: Stardate 10570.7
For the last Wednesday Night race of the season, I knew we’d be a little short on crew. Ensign Ryan has been inundated with work and helping out his gulf-coast family, Ensign Sid would be busy with all the women in his life (ex-girlfriend, new girlfriend, mother, etc.), and Ensigns Lefty and Sharon, despite showing an interest in joining us, did not make it out to a single race this season – so why should the last one be any different? But my question is: Where the phuck did Phil phlee to? Seven weeks ago, Ensign Phil took a three-week vacation to Europe and apparently never returned. Did Phil phorget about the phantastically phun times we have racing the Enterprise?

Phil, please pick up a fone, let us know you’re phine and ready to race in the Phall Series. Or at least send a phreaking e-mail.

Enough of that before my spell-check overheats. Back to last night:

Even with the far-reaching arms of Ophelia threatening our area, the conditions were close to perfect for the race. 11-13 knots of breeze, a few gusts here and there, no rain and lit marks make for a great combination on a Wednesday Night. Our start was about two to three seconds away from being absolutely perfect – and a big part of that is due to the crew’s quick sail handling. I had a hunch it would be good because we had speed and were right at the committee boat (the favored end), but I knew for sure when, as we blew past, someone on board the committee boat said “Damn, Edd. Nice start. Way to go.” And when Captain Coar of USS Chaika came over to me afterwards and said that we “owned the start.”

Our upwind tacks went fine and our spinnaker sets were well-executed for being a little short on crew and in the dark.

But on the second upwind leg, I heard a new sound from the warp engines – a fluttering of sorts. A quick scan confirmed my fears – a small tear on the leech. Unfortunately, in 12 knots of breeze and gusts up to 17, little tears don’t stay little for long. We were in a new race now – how fast can we make it to the upwind mark before this thing rips in half? So we pushed the Enterprise as much as we could. Another gust, another inch. It was torture.

We rounded the mark and set the chute – rolling up the genoa and its nice, new, 18-inch tear. I can do some repairs for the Sayers Series and the Fall Series, but it’s now a definite that there will be a new headsail in the Enterprise’s future (so much a definite that I almost wasn’t welcome home last night.)

We finished the race and headed home. We have a lot of learning to do, but we are getting there. Despite the standings, it was a great Wednesday Night season for us. Thanks to all for your dedication and hard work.

Captain’s Log: Stardate 10568.8
It all started with a no-show subspace (email) message from Lt. Kurt, who now seems determined to end his Starfleet career on a low note by missing two races in a row. Something about his sister and how she wasn’t selling any of her art. Of course, with gas prices in the mid-$3 range and heating costs this winter expected to rise 71%, I’m sure buying art is first on everyone’s minds. Thankfully, Yeoman Dave Z and Crewman Mike came out to help with the ship. Note to Lt. Kurt: You owe us the Fall Series now. Plan to be there.

Commander Dave, Commander Richard and I were the first on board – so Richard was quickly strapped into the mast chair for a 60-foot climb. Once the second halyard was on him, you could very quietly hear Richard whimper “I’m not comfortable with this . . .” Luckily, Commander Jory came out a few moments later to save Richard from his fears. All I can say is -- if Richard could handle the main half as fast as he got himself out of that chair, we’d be sailing much better this season. If you blinked, you missed it.

After some time on the mooring replacing what broke last week, we cranked up to full impulse to get out to the race course on time. Before the start, we missed the sound signal for the Prep (there was none) and took a lot of time getting the jib up. We headed back towards the start, dipped below for thirty seconds, came around and went for it. I knew it was going to be close, but there were two other boats leeward and ahead who were going to have a bigger problem.

But, thanks to their white hulls and our larger than life Starfleet graphics, we, and we alone, were called over early. (I spoke with the committee afterwards and asked how, to which I received shrugs and “I don’t know”s.) Ugh.

We went to the west side of the course, hoping that the tide and the changing wind direction would give us an advantage. I could say it was genius tactical maneuvering, but the reality is, the rest of the fleet went to the east side and we took a shot. It paid off. By the end of the first windward leg, we were crossing tacks with USS Chaika, USS Exhilaration and the Romulan ship, Matriarch. (Apparently using cloaking technology by sailing in the dark without any running lights – we protested.)

Great spinnaker sets, douses and tacks helped us gain position, although somewhere along the line, the command “Ready About!”, especially during cross tacks, was misinterpreted as an invitation for discussion instead of actually getting ready to tack.) Thanks to our rating, we were still in the back of the fleet. Nevertheless, it was great to be in front of others on the water.

Captain’s Log: Stardate 10566.8
MSNBC is calling it “The Wrath of Katrina”, which at first glance did seem kind of Star Trek-y and trivialized the event, but after the latest reports of what could be thousands dead and billions of dollars worth of damage to parts of Mississippi, Alabama and the city of New Orleans, “Wrath” does seem like the right word.

We’re just starting to hear from friends from the New Orleans area who have made it to higher ground or have relocated temporarily to other states. Complete homes and belongings gone. According to a housekeeper at a friend’s home, “The water is seven blocks away. The area looks like Beirut. Looting everywhere. No power. I have enough food for seven days. After that, I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Today, on behalf of the crew of the Enterprise, I’ll be making a donation to AmeriCares to help in the relief efforts for those most devastated by the storm, providing them with the very things that we all usually take for granted: Food. Water. Medicine. Shelter.

And though it seems silly to talk about racing during such tragedy, it is what we do, and it was the more tranquil remnants of Katrina that moved through our area yesterday – winds upwards of 50mph and the possibility of tornadoes had cancelled launch service for the day. At race time, it had calmed down to a 18-20mph breeze, with gusts around 25. Nothing compared to what hit the gulf coast, but certainly enough to make a race challenging and adventurous.

And so short on crew, raising he chute was out of the question. So much so, I left it in my car. On board, besides myself, was Commanders Dave, Richard and Jory along with Crewman Steve from the USS Eagle and Yeoman (self-titled) Dave Z from the USS Mustang Sally. Where was the rest of the Enterprise crew? Who knows – but apparently there’s a reason why Dave Richard and Jory are all Commanders in Starfleet.

The wind shifted west a bit and the first mark was almost a fetch, but with such gusts and 11 boats in such a tightly-packed formation all going to windward at Warp 6 or better, it was a hairy challenge. We rounded the windward mark ahead of three boats and eased the jib as other struggled with their spinnakers. Enterprise glided ahead at Warp 8.6 directly on course while the fleet kept turning downwind to deal with gusts and headers. At one point, with En Garde, Exhilaration and a few others approaching knock-down, we increased to Warp 9.2 and barely heeled 5 degrees.

We rounded the leeward mark ahead of a few others, but then, as we hardened up, there was a bang that signaled the end our adventure. The jib halyard, or the jib halyard shackle, broke. We dropped out of the race and went home under impulse. Hopefully, conditions will exist this weekend where I can fix the damage. Otherwise, it may be a quick fix before next week’s race.