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.