Captain’s Log: Stardate 10674.2
Last night marked the first Wednesday night in 21 weeks where I didn’t drive down to City Island for either organizing or racing in the EBYRA event we’ve grown to love. And now, with what looks like only one more race to go until the season’s end (I just signed the winter storage contract,) now is the best time to review crew performance.

This year marked the first season for a lot of new crew on board the Enterprise. Some have taken on responsibilities and have done exceptionally well, while others are still learning or finding difficulty in balancing their home lives with their Starfleet duties. As difficult as it was in making sure we had enough crew to run the previous Enterprise, the Enterprise-B has presented a bigger challenge.

Crewman Olivier Létang, joined us early this season with his girlfriend, Nicole. Nicole, while never sailed before, didn’t enjoy the position of “rail meat” and wanted more responsibilities. She stopped sailing with us after two weeks. She then left the country, perhaps after realizing we wouldn’t let her have a cabinet post. Nevertheless, Olivier thankfully chose to stay and is learning fast. With some reading and some practice, I can see good things for him in the future.

Crewman Kenny Bacow, who originally came out for just one race, has been recruited to full-time crew – he just hasn’t worked out the whole “full-time” part. Still, his attendance has been better than others…

…Which brings us to Crewman (AFOF) Ozzy Gutman. Ozzy does travel quite far to get to us, but made less than half of the races this year. Ozzy came to us last year as a friend and client of Lt. Commander Mitch, after Mitch’s glowing recommendation and his statement that he dates “lots of hot women that he will bring on board.” So far, he’s brought two, both about as hot as wintertime on Pluto. Still, we have faith in Ozzy. In Ozzy we trust. All aboard Ozzy’s Crazy Train! Oh, wait, that’s Ozzy Osbourne. Never mind.

Crewman David Catalane responded to my ad in Windcheck LIS for crew, and has also missed quite a few voyages, including all weekend events. In all fairness, he is taking the CPA exam, which I’m told requires a lot of studying, but I wonder how accounting beat out sailing in priorities. Besides, if you’re good with numbers, create a polar diagram. David says he’ll be more active next year.

Yeoman June Murakami was the last member to join the Enterprise and has, so far, been the cause for two cancelled races, a dying breeze in three more, and a bruised hand on a four year old. At last report, June is looking for work in Bermuda, so we’re not sure just how many voyages she has left with us.

Yeoman Phaedra (Goddess of Wind, remember?) Singelis was also new this year, faithfully determined to keep the boat light by losing her appendix. We’re happy she’s all right and look forward to seeing her more in the future. And, we’ll always wonder what her and Commander Dave were doing alone on the Enterprise in the dark after the cancellation of Race 16…

Zoraida Morales also came to use from the Windcheck ad (same day as David C) and has already been promoted to Ensign this season for her excellent work on the foredeck and her skills on the conn bringing us a third place finish in the Women Skipper’s Race, where, during one of her starts in over 15 knots of wind, she came so close to the committee boat, you could hear the owner say “Ay Dios Mio!” Zoraida also has been given the designation as Ship’s Replicator, always delivering cookies, cakes, bobkas, and, on one race, two pizza pies and beer. It is my hope that Ensign Zoraida one day takes over the foredeck fully with the help of someone new, moving Dave aft to a tactical position.

Jonathan Flaks was also promoted mid-season to Ensign, based on his expert work in the cockpit and his dedication to racing. It’s had to believe that someone I met scooping up dog crap at the Ossining Dog Park now cleans my bottom. Actually, Jonathan has become a fast friend and a much-needed crew member. He runs the pit with expertise and I can see he has a great future ahead on the Enterprise. And, as an executive coach, every little bit helps. I have yet to see his band perform, though, but hopefully I’ll catch a “gig” in the near future.

Ensign Bill Van Horn spent more time at the End of The Universe (Houston) than on the Enterprise this year. I just hope he can come back more regularly in the years to come. I hope to groom him for a command position, but taking a leading role on the Enterprise is the least of his worries (he’s still waiting on permission from his wife for the October 7th race.)

Lieutenant Kurt von Roeschlaub has been on the ship more now that he works in California than when he worked on Long Island. His skills on the main are improving, including his aim at taking off my father’s head during jibes. Since third grade, Kurt has always been the Spock to my Kirk, always better at computers and calculating advanced calculus in his head. On any given race, he can tell you, to the millisecond, how much ahead, in corrected time, Andiamo is. Some boats have computers on board, we have Kurt.

Lt. Commander Mitch Nochlin is a senior officer on board and has done very well. He is to receive the highest of commendations for his skills and dedication. It’s clear to me that another year of similar service will earn him a promotion in rank, but we do continuously wonder what is in that ginormous yellow bag of his. And, we’d prefer it if he stopped trying to access Kurt’s brain to download Internet porn on upwind legs.

Commander Jory Stark, who has been with me close to a decade now after being transferred from the USS Scrimshaw, has missed many races over the past two seasons thanks to his new post at the Academy. Jory has wondered if a demotion was in the cards for him, but he knows the boat well and is a valued member of the team. He promises next year will be better and I believe him. The biggest challenge I’ve had with Jory this season is not his attendance, but my ability to heel the boat to the point where it is under water when he is on the leeward rail – something I enjoyed doing, quite often, on the previous ship.

Commander Richard Schillay, my father, only missed, I believe, two races this season (things were much quieter on board.) As my tactical officer, he often doesn’t know where other boats are, never checks the tides, and has been known to be talking on his cell phone rather than look for puffs on windward legs. But, based on what I’ve seen in Star Trek VI, senior citizens can still kick ass when needed. He’s a major asset and we all need him. He knows sail trim and what gets the ship moving. Plus, he’s buying another sail this winter.

Last, but not least, is my First Officer, Dave Beaver. Dave runs the foredeck and knows the Enterprise almost as well as I do. He’s the first to suggest rigging modifications all in an attempt to make us faster and more efficient. As someone who tried foredeck once this season, I know the type of challenges he faces in each race, light wind and heavy. He’s always up for a distance race or an overnight (although that may be more about his wife than sailing.) I wouldn’t do an Around Long Island without him and yes, we ARE doing the Around Long Island next year. He’s gone from knowing close to nothing over a decade ago to become one of the most skilled and knowledgeable people on board. When a problem occurs, he works at it quickly to make sure things go right. As of this stardate, Dave Beaver is to be increased in rank to Captain of Foredeck and will remain First Officer of the Enterprise.

Thank you all for a great season.

Captain’s Log: Stardate 10672.1
I originally tried to write this log entry on Monday morning, but after a weekend of lots of sun and light-air sailing followed by an early-morning wake-up call, I found it terribly difficult to write on my laptop, much less keep my eyes open, while waiting for my flight to Palm Beach at Gate 132 in the Continental Airlines terminal at Newark Liberty Airport.

Even now, after two days of meetings and a delayed flight home from an area where the average age seems to be 58 and the hardest rock station on the radio I could find plays back to back headbangers like Spandau Ballet’s “True” and Barry Manilow’s “Mandy” followed by a Metamucil commercial and a public service announcement regarding osteoporosis, keeping awake is still a challenge.

As for the entry (not that I forgot,) with the crying kid in the seat a few rows up and the plane sitting on the tarmac for an eternity going nowhere, I was reminded of the past weekend’s adventuresome races on the Enterprise.

The weekend started with the EBYRA Fall Series, where we had the shortest distance races imaginable and took the longest time to run them. Light air forced the committee to run only two of the planned four to five races.

On board, was Yeoman June, Lt. Kurt and Lt. Commander Mitch along with a couple of 21 year-old French students that I found on the meetup site, thanks to an email I received from Vivien, one of the two.

The plan was simple: Oogle the 21-year old French chick named Vivien, ultimately giving Mitch someone to flirt with, and do what we could to alienate, maybe ditch, her boyfriend Mattiew. But, in another season-defining moment, I didn’t know that in France, Vivien is a man’s name. With all due respect to Jean-Luc -- Fucking Frogs!

Nevertheless, the two did very well. Mattiew was a big help in the cockpit and Vivien did very well on foredeck setting the pole and sprinting the jib across the deck on tacks. As good as Dave is on foredeck, we didn’t know that his work could be done by a college student from France with a girl’s name.

The next day was the City Island Yacht Club Sayer’s Series, in which Dave and Bill decided to bring along their sons (for clarification – the have sons separately. As far as we know, Dave and Bill are not a couple. But, if they were, it would be clear which one would be the woman.)

I’ve been sailing and racing for over 30 years now. I have been through storms, high winds, ripped sails, gear breaking, heavy fog, broaches and hull-breaking collisions. Yet, this past Sunday, we faced our most difficult challenge ever: keeping four boys on the leeward rail for a 1.5-mile leg in light air. I haven’t heard this much crying and whining on board since the ice chest was out of Budweiser or when the Zoraida didn’t bring cookies. Even Yeoman June got frustrated and decided to step on one of their hands.

How do you keep young boys still? Where’s a catholic priest when you need one?

At lease we took a third in the first race. For the second race, the boys and their fathers went home. Crewman (AFOF) Ozzy showed up and we sailed, ever so slowly, to finish the second race in poor position.

As it stands now, our final race of the season looks like it’ll be October 7 for Port Washington YC’s Charity Cup. In the meantime, I’ll be reviewing my files for my season-end report along with my recommendation for commendations and promotions, if any, for the Enterprise crew.

Captain’s Log: Stardate 10670.4
Each year, after the conclusion of the Wednesday Night Race Series, I look back at the months past and try to think of the one moment that truly defines the season. A couple of years ago, that moment was Patty saying “I got it,” going forward to ease down the spinnaker halyard and dropping the jib instead.

The problem is not that I don’t need to look that far back for this season’s defining moment – just to last night’s race. The problem is deciding which event last night is the one to choose.

It could be Ensign Zoraida’s choice to not only bring out big chocolate chip cookies, but to include cupcakes, a case of Heineken and two pizza pies (of which I’m told she ate one all by herself.)

It could be that the crew was too busy eating pizza during the downwind leg that the spinnaker take-down was forgotten about - completely. A shame too, because our sets were just about perfection.

It could be when I sent Ensign Jonathan to clean out the heavily-clogged aftmost through-hull valve on the port side of the ship, but not telling him ahead of time what that particular through-hull was used for. Ewwwww.

It could be when Commander Dave and Lt. Kurt spent more time discussing Thomas The Tank Engine rather than things like sail trim and jibing procedures.

But, personally, I think it was after we rounded the windward mark, and after we had the chute set perfectly. Commander Richard, putting to use his many many years of sailing experience and over a decade of racing on Eastchester Bay, made a downwind tactical assessment, taking into account the windspeeds, currents, tides, the polar diagram and our position in the fleet, and ultimately said “Follow Chaika.”

Chaika was ten boat lengths behind us.

And so ends another great season of Wednesday Nights. We’ve learned quite a bit and will continue to do more. To the crew of the Enterprise, I owe you my thanks and I look forward to spending time with you all during the off-season and in the many years after. If last night marked your last time on board for the season, you should always keep in mind our prime directive: Wherever you may go, go boldly.

Captain’s Log: Stardate 10668.8
It was 40 years ago. Today.

Right after an episode of Daniel Boone, NBC Television aired a Paramount Pictures production filmed on a back lot at Desilu Studios – It was an episode called “Man Trap”, the first aired episode of Star Trek. The beginning of a legacy.

Not really, though. Dismal ratings had NBC push the show to Friday nights and ultimately canceling the series just three years into its five-year run. Considered a total failure, the few of its stars that could get work moved on to other shows. For all intents and purposes, it was over.

Until syndication, where Star Trek found new energy and a following that would lead to five more television series, ten motion pictures and a multi-billion dollar cash cow for Paramount. Experts believe this phenomenon revitalized the science fiction genre, paving the way for television series like Battlestar Galactica, Space 1999 and Firefly, and movies like Star Wars, Alien and E.T.

The model of the Starship Enterprise used for filming the original show hangs in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. NASA’s first space shuttle was named Enterprise, and unveiled in California to the theme of Star Trek with cast members as official guests. Somehow, this failed television series has become a part of our culture and our history.

Why? After all, it’s just a space adventure, right? No. It’s about humanity. Whether you think it was about the psychology of man (Kirk, Spock and McCoy fitting perfectly into Freud’s Id, Ego and Superego) or the premise of our entire race overcoming our differences and working together towards common goals for the benefit of all, there’s a message there.

Despite the threats that come up in each episode or film, it’s a picture of a bright future, for all of us. And whether it was back then during the Cold War or today during terrorist threats and uncertainty in the Middle East, we need that image.

We, as a people, as a race, boldly go. Maybe it’s that simple.

Even now, after the box-office failure of the tenth film “Star Trek: Nemesis”, Paramount has hired J.J. Abrams (Lost, Alias, Mission Impossible III) to write and direct an 11th film due out in 2008. They are also putting the finishing touches on a High-Definition re-release of the original episodes with enhanced resolution, re-recorded music and state-of-the-art digital special effects. It'll go from this:

To This:


Happy Birthday, Star Trek. From the captain and crew of the Starship Enterprise.

May you keep going. Boldly.

After all, without that show, we’d be the captain and crew of “Flash” or “SMD” (Slightly More Decadent.)

Captain’s Log: Stardate 10668.5
Last night marked the triumphant return of Yeoman Phaedra, who, according to legend, is named after the Goddess of Wind. But, apparently, in order to have any control over wind, it appears an appendix is a needed ingredient. We never saw above six knots during the “gusts” and knew early on that the average of three to four was going to kill our evening.

Still, we’re happy to see Phaedra back, knowing all the horror stories about ruptured appendixes. She did lose a lot of weight though – so much so that when it reached four knots, she was reaching for a jacket. The wind chill must have dropped the outside temperature from 72 to 71.99998.

This time of year, it gets dark pretty early, so running lights were switched on. Very interesting. The committee boat had theirs mounted backwards, and the Orion slave ship Andiamo was showing two red port lights on her bow. Apparently marine stores in Paul’s area don’t carry the green ones. It’s a shame we found this out so late in the season – crossing tacks, it looks like Andiamo will always be on port.

I gave Crewman Kenny the conn (yes, he’s new, but with 18,000 pounds of starship and 3 knots of breeze, even if he hit something, it wouldn’t be that hard) and checked out my own lights, knowing that my starboard light had a intermittent connection. As I suspected, it was off. I began to tap it, then banged it, then kicked it. As the light cracked and fell off the boat sinking to the bottom of the bay, I’m happy to say it’s not intermittent anymore.

Replacement is on its way and I’ll install it on Saturday, seeing that almost everyone is too SIC to race. It’s like an epidemic. Birthday parties. Soccer practices. It’s insane. One crewman, who I won’t name, seemed too scared to even ask his wife (See, Kurt, I didn’t name you.) It looks like even the lameoid got preferential treatment. So, this weekend will be a bust.

Next week is the final Wednesday night race. All crew are requested to put aside the following Saturday and/or Sunday for the EBYRA Fall Series and the CIYC Sayers Series. Let the others get SIC for a change.