Captain's Log: Stardate 10857.1
This past weekend was the Enterprise's mission in Saturday's Women Skippers' Race and Sunday's Day Race, all hosted by City Island Yacht Club. We had enough crew for each, so I was happy (well, more like obligated) to pay the over-inflated entry fees.

Saturday started with what was planned to be a casual, relaxing lunch prior to race time, but ended up with me overboard with a scrubber and floatation device wiping off the latest levels of slime that had built up on the Enterprise's hull. Last time I saw anything that disgusting, it was coming out of the corners of John Esposito's mouth whenever Ensign Ellen walked past.

Saturday's breeze kept building (along with my level of anxiety) but we headed out to the race course ready to face the challenges. Our skippers, officially named The Spinnaker Pole Dancers, were top notch, but there were some others out there on other boats that, frankly, had me more terrified than the premise of having to watch the Mamma Mia movie.

The committee finally showed up (very late) and we were sent on a long course that exhausted the hell out of all of us in the 20+ breeze (It had to be close to 30 at some points. Wow.) I wanted to go home when the skipper of the Orion ship "Tesser", just a few boat lengths ahead, tried pinching to reach the second upwind mark and ended up back-winding the jib, over-heeling the boat, thereby making it swing towards us a break-neck speeds. Her scream is still resonating through the bay and my life flashed in front of my eyes -- not really liking the ending. Even Ensign Zoraida was too scared to yell out "Ay Dios Mio!"

Sunday's race featured much longer courses and a more complete crew. After waiting for over an hour in postponement on 7 knots of breeze (why?) we were finally off, leading the fleet for practically the entire race.

I personally made a error at the first mark, rounding to Port instead of Starboard, but overall, the crew performed amazingly well in a variety of conditions: an Easterly, a Southerly, a None-therly, back to an Easterly and finally a storm-therly, where the Enterprise sailed the final leg on a reach at speeds well over Warp 8. Glorious!

Most impressive was the crew's handling of the spinnaker, including a mid-leg take down and a superbly-executed jibe near Hart Island.

We crossed the line first, getting the gun and corrected into second place - all thanks to the crew's expertise. Officially, I have withdrawn from the race because of my error early on at the first mark (we sailed more than we should have) but the performance and result is still sweet.

After the race, we went to CIYC to see if their post-race offerings had improved since our earlier two experiences. Not even close. Racers were greeted with a single 12 by 24-inch tray of finger foods (some badly burnt) and a quarter-keg of flat beer left over from the day before. Oh my. What happened to the pride of City Island Yacht Club? And what did my $90 entry fee go for anyway? Disappointing.

Finally, I feel it is my duty to post a warning to the crew regarding some of the equipment on board. I have been made aware that the latches to open and close ports down below, when operated normally, may cause bone sprains or fractures of the index finger.

Especially if your finger is, well, dainty.

Captain's Log: Stardate 10856.0
Knowing we'd be short on crew and with the multiple warnings about the severe thunderstorms looming, Commander Richard and I spent a good portion of time prior to the race on our respective iPhones checking the motion radar on various websites. I was on my new 16GB iPhone 3G and Richard was on the older, outdated, 8GB iPhone. Think holodeck vs. a school play production done by challenged first graders.

The storms looked to be passing to the far West of us with nothing major coming to our area until after 10:00pm. And, thanks to the return of Crewman Olivier and Lt. Kurt's ability to make it out (He got a ride home from his mommy and daddy -- such a good boy,) we had enough to give it a try.

We made some mistakes for sure, but all in all, with the lessened crew, we managed to get things to work and work well. Yes, our tacks were a little slow (I think Mitch is getting soft in his old age) and yes, our first spinnaker set (Jory couldn't get the pole up -- insert your own old-age joke here) and jibe (wow - the forestay acted as a guy) weren't close to textbook, but in the end, our speed - Warp 7.7 downwind - and teamwork led us to a first-place victory!

And it was while we crossed the finish getting the gun (or, in EBYRA's case, the horn) that I heard from the pit and the foredeck things like "Dave Who?" and "Jonathan Who?"

We got back to the mooring where boxed wine and cheese were served along with a special surprise cooked up by Ensign Ellen and myself straight out of the "Official Star Trek Cookbook", a gift given to me by Lt. Commander Mitch a few weeks back -- Sulu's Fortune Cookies. For those that didn't make it aboard last night, here are the fortunes:

- Wherever you go, go boldly.
- The Snug: Where men are men and women wished they were.
- One among you will be chosen to take the One Ring to the fire pits of Mount Doom.
- Mitch's sailbag: The final frontier.
- Sooner or later, someone's going to blow the black guy. Probably Jory.
- Eastchester Bay: Where No. 1 took a No. 2.
- Fordeck is for pussies. Real men belong in the cockpit. Why else would they call it a cockpit?
- A tall, dark stranger will come into your life. Ignore his pointed ears.
- Every once in a while, just fire phasers.
- To pinch upwind is not logical.
- A French fry's length isn't as important as its girth.
- Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor, not a winch grinder.
- This fortune cookie was made with squid.
- Shh. Don't tell anyone. Your captain is a Trekkie.
- You will see Richard on a weekend race - yeah right.
- 2008 is a good year for boxed wine.
- Never fish on a race course.

The Enterprise is ready for this weekend's events, the Women Skippers Race and the Day Race. For Women Skippers, we spent some time trying to think of a name for our team of Women Skippers. Ideas included "Girl Power" and "The Adorable Admirals", but our official entry has been submitted as "The Spinnaker Pole Dancers".

Captain's Log: Stardate 10854.1
Last night, in the middle of the channel between Eastchester and Little Neck Bays, a family sat on their 22-foot vessel with multiple fishing rods mounted on the sides and all lines cast to the deep waters below.

And for all we know, the family was suffering in today's economy; laid off from work, trying to make ends meet, and hoping that the sea would provide a big enough fish to feed them for the days ahead - perhaps after several days of starvation beforehand. This fishing trip could have been their last hope before homelessness and digging through garbage cans for morsels of nourishment.

Fuck that, we're racing! The Enterprise whooshed past the little boat at Warp 5. The fishing lines went "Weeeeeeeeeeeezzzzzzzz". The father cut the lines and all hope for fish was lost. The children cried.

But, we were doing well. Besides, what good is a fish dinner without an engraved silver plate to serve it on?

We were doing so well, that if it hadn't been for a bad tactical decision of following the tides instead of the winds (my fault - but the same mistake made by several other top-performers last night,) we would have been in great position - perhaps even a winning one.

Our spinnaker sets were extremely well done, even with the hourglass on the first set (quickly undone by the masterful foredeck team) and our jibes were also close to perfection now that we were studying our procedures and have new rigging tools in place. Our take-downs were perfect, including the very uncommon take-down-jibe maneuver at 46A.

And we did it all while being cursed at by some snot-faced children on some 22-foot piece-of-crap fishing boat.

After the race, we towed the committee boat home (don't get me started) while the crew dined on Ensign June's snacks, which included Japanese fried dehydrated squid. When asked if I'd like some, I simply replied "Rather die." Personally, I've seen more appetizing stuff grow on the bottom of the boat. And, I think the smell would have improved if they marinated it in that special dressing that is in the head. If more and more of this stuff makes its way into our country, it might be time for another bomb. Or two.

At least dining at the Snug was a welcome change, despite that, apparently, the length of the french fry isn't close to as important as the girth.

It looks like a Womens Skippers Race mission is in our future, but I'm skeptical about having enough crew for the Day Race on the following day. The question remains: who will be our woman skipper? Do I let them switch the helm like they did last year or do I let one take the glory? And if so, how do I pick the one? Experience? Ability? Jell-o Bikini Wrestling Match?

Stay tuned...

Captain's Log: Supplemental
One more than one occasion, I have been asked by both people on the Enterprise and off if our Lt. Kurt is really a Vulcan who has been surgically modified to appear human. For years, at the request of the Vulcan High Council, I have done my best to deny any such claims.

But, with apologies to the Vulcan Ambassador, I must now come clean and reveal the truth, once and for all.

Lt. Kurt is really "Skurt", a Vulcan scientist placed on board the Enterprise to help us calculate the intricacies of currents, tides and Time-On-Time scoring.

We were doing so well at keeping it a secret, but Kurt's, I mean Skurt's, latest reply to Lt. Commander Mitch about the differences between AM and FM radio signals could not have possibly come from a human.

For documentation purposes, here is Skurt's reply:

Well, common sense says the peaks need to be hit to detect frequency changes unless you use special equipment that can measure the rate of the curve and interpolate based on the side band (which, as we talked about before is a relatively recent development). So the lower the frequency, the longer you need to wait to see the peaks, and so the longer it takes to detect a frequency shift (and therefore the lower the frequency of sound that can be produced).

A little back-of-the-envelope calculation says 20,000 Hz, what you would need for any reasonable FM signal, would need to be able to detect frequency shifts 40,000 times per second. So the lowest frequency signal that could be FM would be 40 kHz (note this is independent of how much bandwidth the FM signal actually spreads over).

40 kHz is 7500m waves which is pretty dang low frequency. Now there may be more technical reasons for not doing it, but they would have to be orders of magnitude larger than this to have an effect.

Aha, the problem is Carson's rule. The frequency range an FM band will occupy is calculated as 2*(D+V) where D is the difference between highest and lowest frequencies to be transmitted, and V is the peak deviation. This is a different limitation than the one I mention above which assumed you could narrow the band as much as possible and just talks about the frequency of the signal.

At 20 kHz for music (or 3 kHz for voice, but then why bother with stereo) That means the FM signal would have to vary a minimum of 80kHz in frequency. Thus the 40 kHz signal, minimum we discussed above, would have a maximum frequency of 120 kHz. The next valid FM band would have to start at 120 kHz and would go all the way to 200 kHz.

So while FM is technically possible in the lower frequencies, the spread would by so large you would only be able to fit 12 stations below 1 MHz, and wipe out all AM transmissions in that range. And of course this assumes all FM interference could be eliminated.


And, just in case there was any doubt, I have been authorized by Starfleet Command to release the following image from the bridge sensor logs. This is from Stardate 10562.4 when Kurt, I mean Skurt, was posted on the Enterprise prior to his surgery:

Captain's Log: Stardate 10853.3
HI-2, JF-0

Captain's Log: Stardate 10852.2
Yesterday morning started off with Weather Channel warnings of severe thunderstorms moving through the entire northeast for the evening hours. They warned of canceled baseball games, flooding, trees going down, dangerous lightning and power outages. Buildings will topple. Anarchy in the streets. Thousands dead.

But, as the day went on, a far more reliable and accurate service, accuweather.com, reported that a brief storm will pass through the area at about 5:00pm, followed by partly sunny skies for the rest of the evening, until about 10:00.

At least now the Weather Channel has switched to HD, so at least now they can suck in 5.1 stereo and 1080p widescreen.

The rain came at 5:00 and was gone by 5:45. The skies cleared and, despite a worried phone call from Captain Bou RaH (Pronounced "Burack") of the Klingon warship Peregrina almost suggesting we should cancel, it looked like another glorious evening of Wednesday Night Racing.

And glorious it was. Probably our best race of the year. The crew worked together amazingly well despite the absence of Ensigns Kenny and Brittany, both on the other side of the Atlantic (not together, as far as we know.) Everyone was paying attention and following directions like a well-oiled machine through some maneuvers that we hardly ever see on a Wednesday Night Race, much thanks to a 50-degree wind shift. Stuff like a tack-jibe-jibeset mark rounding at Big Tom.

There were no issues, no arguments, no clusterfucks. We made some good tactical calls and felt the Enterprise purr as she accelerated to over Warp 8.5 past the cheering latino community at French Fry Point -- You could smell the deep-fried lobster tails, Mmmm.

We finished in a solid third last night giving top performers like Crossbow and Whirlwind a real run for their money and it wasn't more than a few seconds after finishing that Ensign Ellen fired up the new 12-volt blender and was handing out margaritas.

Could we have done better? Sure, but it's all a matter of fine tuning. Better jibes, better starts (I was 10 seconds late) and increased communication will all make the difference we need. But wow, are we doing better than ever. I'm really seeing the crew get into its groove now.

After packing things up, a few of us went to our old "stomping grounds" of City Island Yacht Club where the wait for a hamburger is well over an hour (we left) and the waiters serve you ice water in a pitcher but no cups (apparently CIYC has reached the class level of "stick your face in there and slurp".) I hear the next steward there will be Chef Ronald McDonald.

Before going to the car, Lt. Commander Mitch, Lt. Jonathan and Ensign Ellen asked me if, on downwind legs, I could give them a one or two minute warning prior to a jibe so they can concentrate on getting everything set. Not a problem.

Or, they can wait for five minutes after Commander Richard says, "We should jibe now."

Captain's Log: Stardate 10850.3
There's a new enemy in the quadrant, and a sneaky one at that. They wait until the crew is off watch, the weapons are stowed, the shields are down and main power is offline -- they then approach as friends until they hit you hard. No, I'm not talking about a new faction of Klingons, Romulans, Orion or Breen. It's the Morris Yacht Club launch drivers.

It's July already! Learn to drive the fucking launch!

From now on, tipping won't occur until I'm back at the dock and only if the crew and the Enterprise survive without incident. After that, I think we'll need to have an armed photon bucket torpedo standing by on the deck.

Last night's race started out to be an exciting event. Great breeze, great tacks, great spinnaker sets. We even had the Pope on board to guide us on currents and windshifts. But, on the last leg, the wind shut down completely and sealed our fate. An entire division didn't even get to finish.

We need to work on our procedures for downwind sail handling, especially the jibe. Captain Dave appears to have his hands full on the foredeck, and I know the pit team is doing their jobs, but somehow, some way, things are getting twisted, stuck and eventually (here we go again, Google) clusterfucked.

Still, with the way we've been sailing this year, we are seeing incredible improvements on board. The boat is sailing faster, we are making better decisions and we are, for the most part, very competitive with the leaders of the pack. Had the wind kept up last night, I'm positive we would have taken a second.

During our July 4th trip to Hempstead Harbor (Happy Birthday America!), I want to spend a little time with Dave and Zoraida on the foredeck to go over procedures and see if there's a better way we can do things.

Anyway, we finished last night in fourth, ahead of Breakaway, whose name finally makes sense. Last week, they tried to squeeze between us and the committee boat and last night, they ran over the leeward mark. We're going to have to keep an eye on them - they could be more dangerous than a launch driver.