Captain's Log: Stardate 11149.6
Last night began with all of the parkways and highways leading to City Island more clogged than the arteries of the cast of Mike & Molly. What would normally take a half hour to drive turned into an hour and fifteen minutes. Still, I was impressed with the crew able to make it to the Enterprise with time to spare. Well, not ALL the crew. Someone was late. Again.

I won't mention names, but we're thinking of all chipping in to get him an executive coach to work out his lateness issues.

Conditions last night could not have been more perfect. Great temperatures, low humidity and 15+ breeze coming out of the north. There weren't many of us in the division out that night, and we all expected Chaika to win again (their rating is a bigger joke than The Hangover, Hangover II and Bridesmaids lumped together.) We gave it 100% anyway, and had the Enterprise at the starting line, and at the favored end, at the gun. The only way the start could have been better is if we tacked 10 milliseconds earlier.

The Enterprise flew upwind at a steady Warp 6.5, set the chute around the windward mark, jibed and doused all within a few minutes (the first downwind leg was very short -- great course choice by Eben.) Our first jibe was interesting to say the least. As I remember it, this was the sequence of events:

Lt. Kenny jibed the main. Commander Richard then said "We need to jibe the main first."
Kenny said, "We did."
Five seconds later, while Captain Dave worked on the pole on the foredeck, Richard said again, "First we need to jibe the main!"
Kenny: "The main is over. It's been over."
Then, I think, he said it a third time.
Kenny looked to me as if, in addition to all that I do have command over on the Enterprise, crew dementia should somehow be on the list. I think Kenny was considering jibing the main back and then again just to make it clear it was over.

We gained some ground on Chaika on the second downwind leg, and maybe a little more on the final upwind leg, but it wasn't enough. For a bunch of old fogies, they sure can sail fast. It seems our only hope of beating them is if all those years of Richie Coar's chain smoking catches up with him and they can't get the iron lung on the rail for upwind legs.

We got back to the mooring for a sampling of beer, gatorade and Mesquite BBQ potato chips (the breakfast of champions.) Kurt told a story of someone once asking him why they flavor the chips with mesquite -- isn't that a type of wood? But after tasting the chip, they said "Wow, that's good wood."

And that's when I felt a Michael Scott-ism coming on. "That's what....."

Captain's Log: Stardate 11147.7
Yesterday started with multiple weather reports full of predictions of scattered thunderstorms, flukey winds and miserable conditions for the evening. And then the emails started coming in:

"I'm on the road and can't make it tonight" (Sent by iPhone, no less)
"I have to test my company's web page tonight"
"I just saw my doctor and only have use of one lung"

As for the first two -- I'm so on to you. We all know with a good 3G signal or WiFi, one can easily type out an email on their iPhone while sitting in their comfy office to make it look like they're away -- and practically any phone sold today can test a company's website while sitting on the rail. Pre-feed the guy, click link, furl the jib, click link, ease the downhaul, click link.

As for the last, I'm more inclined to believe it. If he chooses to stay at home with the wife and kids rather than be sailing, he must REALLY be sick.

And he missed last week too. Oh my God.

When the rest of us reached the dock, there was hope. There was a good 10+ out of the south and we were still expecting our bare minimum of eight crew. And a quick check of the iPhone radar and it appeared that the major storm cells were going to pass to the south and west of us.

As we prepared to race, some of the crew were asking about the functionality of the Garmin GPS-Map $3000+ instrument I have at the helm. As I explained, and this is bad news for Garmin to be sure, all I need is a weather-proof iPad mount at the helm and a $600 iPad can do everything that the Garmin can, plus I can get up-to-date weather radar, buoy wind data, get email....

... "and surf internet porn," my father quickly added, then held up his iPhone 4 in his waterproof carry case. "I can do it all from here."

And then the rains came. Lots of rain. And the wind died too.

We were all soaked. That is, all except my father who spent the duration of the storm down below, fully dry, with his iPhone 4 -- checking GPS position, up-to-date weather radar, buoy wind data, his email....

...and, by our best guess, surfing internet porn.

In the end, there was no race. Not this week. Not last week. We can only hope the wind gods will bless Eastchester Bay for the rest of the season.

Captain's Log: Stardate 11143.3
Last night began with our yacht club completely overrun by some celebratory party of New York City Firefighters. By my estimate, there had to be at least 250 of them - which brings up two interesting questions: Where were all these firemen when the club was burning down five years ago? -and- Who's left to put out any fires that spark up? There were barbecues, beer, bagpipes and big noise. Whatever they were celebrating (We got on our red truck! We put out a fire! Yay us!), it looked like they were doing it right.

On shore, it was in the high 90's, and New York City posted a heat advisory for the day, cautioning people to stay indoors, hydrate and check on the elderly (I checked -- Richard was fine.) But, on the water in Eastchester Bay, it was a good 15 degrees cooler, thanks to a nice 10-knot thermal that I feared was destined to die as soon as he sun went down.

The Enterprise was in great shape -- all sails repaired, rig tightened and a great compliment of crew, despite the absence of Crewman Alex, Crewman Beth, Lt. Jonathan, Lt. Zoraida and Lt. Commander Mitch. Filling in was Captain Chuck Schaeffer and his first officer Jon from the USS Resolute as well as Frank Murphy, Crewman Emily's "main squeeze".

We tried to get in good position for the start, but were fouled (legally) by the Klingon Vessel Glory Days (in Klingon: D'Q cH'ds) and were forced to go right to get away from the fleet.

But right turned out to be so very wrong. Our position was more disgustingly indecent than Andrew Weiner's hard drive.

We fought hard to gain some ground, and we did a little, but even with the few small spinnaker screw-ups (We're told it's all Kenny's fault,) there just wasn't enough wind and time to have any real results. At least our final downwind leg towards the committee boat at a wonderful Warp 7.4 provided us with a great sailing moment in a dreadful night of tactical mistakes.

Once back at the mooring, we had a healthy, well-balanced dinner of tortilla chips, salsa, peanut-butter-filled pretzels, beer and Diet Pepsi, followed by a glorious birthday cake for yours truly. All in all, a really great night.

Captain's Log: Stardate 11141.9
With a tornado watch in place until 8:00pm last night for our area and one touching down in Massachusetts killing 4 people . . .
. . . we figured the smartest thing to do was go racing, of course. We had, pretty much, the full team of regulars on board with the exception of Lt. Kurt (work) and Lt. Zoraida (Florida) and all seemed eager to get into the adventure, with the exception of, maybe, Crewman Emily who we had trouble extraditing from the clubhouse bar.

Getting on board just a tad too late, I had little time to repair the upper batten issue that sent Crewman Beth up the mast the week before. Lesson learned: A rushed fix is no fix. And although the mast cars were not jamming like they were last week, the batten did do healthy olympic-like dive from 45 feet up into the cockpit, barely missing Lt. Ellen, who, thankfully, was not in her normal position.

Then came our start (8 seconds late, but still waaaaaay better than Division 3 who had boats crossing over a minute after the gun) followed by a very brief upwind leg. Why brief? Let me put it this way:

UK Sailmakers just called to apologize for not putting the repaired spinnaker in the shed for last night and offered a 10% discount on the repair bill. I thanked them, but told them we ended up not needing it last night, and if they check the UK shed this morning they'll see why. We never made it to the upwind mark.

Within a few hundred yards of the start, we had, to put in terms that we're used to, a complete warp core breech. The entire clew of the headsail ripped off, dropping our control lines to the deck. Thankfully the crew furled the headsail quickly -- because, as we all know, without containment, a warp core breech could cause an explosion that would destroy every ship and planet in the sector. We saved everyone in Eastchester Bay.

What was the cause? Here's what happened: As mentioned before, there was a tornado watch in effect for our area until 8:00pm. A very small, very localized, tornado touched down between the bow of the Enterprise and the companionway, and only on the port side of the ship. While everyone else on the racecourse was sailing in 18 knots of breeze, we experienced 150 knots of breeze (this micro tornado was an F5, by the way.) The Enterprise, unable to travel over Warp 40, could not handle the stress and that was what caused the headsail clew to break off.

So, officially, it was a tornado.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Oh well, we'll have everything repaired and good again for next week's race -- the day of which will be the very last day in which I can say I'm in my low 40's.