Stardate 11341.1

Captain's Log: Stardate 11341.1
There's really not a whole lot to say about last night's race, other than the disappointing results showing us losing by 55 measly seconds. Things would have been a lot better had the wind not clocked down to practically nothing on the second and final leg. Still, I was impressed with how much better the Enterprise was performing in the lighter air as compared to previous years. Maybe it's the new bottom. Maybe it's less people on board. It could even be the new floorboards. I really don't know.

It started out looking to be a great night. Good temperatures, a 6-8 breeze and all indicators showed the thunderstorms were going way north of us. The only thing that really worried me was how much Kurt knew about the Blu-Ray release of "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants".

And then, scary enough, Dave knew all about the movie too. Any more of this discussion and I feared their periods would start to sync. It was time to go.

So we powered out to the starting area and checked in with the race committee.

And then we put the main up and checked in with the race committee.

We checked the line, tacked away, pulled the genoa out and then tacked back to check in with the race committee.

Unfortunately, there were still only two boats in our division -- us and High Heels. I know why Snow Goose isn't out yet, but can't fathom what's taking so long with Bouliner and New Freedom (the name of which conjures up an image of a woman frolicking through a field of daisies and a product that Dave and Kurt could have used after the previous-mentioned syncing.)

Unlike last week, the starting line was more square and I could see how rusty I've become with timing one of our starts. At the gun, we were a half boat length from the line and at best possible speed. Not bad for a six month dry spell. Oh yeah, we checked in with the race committee again as we crossed.

We went to the right side of the course, looking for that Throgs Neck Bridge lift, but also found some lighter air over there, giving High Heels the opportunity to gain some ground. At one point, as the Enterprise was headed West towards the bridge, we were approaching a group of J/24s under spinnaker on starboard tack. Jory, Dave and Richard pointed them out and then someone asked if I was concerned.

Let's see, a 40-foot, 19,000-pound starship traveling at Warp 5.5 towards a couple of 24-foot J's.

Nope. Not concerned. Heck, I doubt I'd even have to raise the shields.

We did gain some ground back against High Heels, and finished a few minutes ahead, but needed that extra 55 seconds, which we could have gained by not going so far to the right side of the course. Oh well. That's City Island sailing.

I must say, I'm really starting to enjoy this more-relaxed mode of sailing, less people, less stress, as well as our chutes and extra lines in storage several miles away. I'm already looking forward to Race 04 next week.

Stardate 11339.2

Captain's Log: Stardate 11339.2
There was a documentary on the History Channel last week about the science of Star Trek, with a bulk of the interviews and footage dedicated to the big question: Is Warp Drive possible?

Well, after drifting around in 5 knots of breeze that quickly diminished to less than 1, it certainly felt like a big "NO"! It was a struggle enough to get around the first mark of the 5-leg course (more on that later) but it just got progressively worse as we continued on with the Enterprise's speedometer registering Warp 0.7 during the gusts.

And that was even with our newly-installed dilithium-powered warp core:

Yes, it's on the boat. And yes, it lights up like that. And yes, it's wired to the 12V circuit panel to a switch that is labelled "Warp Core".

As I see it: Hey, if you're going to geek out, might as well just go big. Life is short.

On board was most of the crew, all adjusting nicely to our more relaxed mode of sailboat racing. No spinnaker sheets, no chute repacking, no screaming. The night just ran a little too long and we were not able to enjoy the bottle of wine we found especially for my father, Commander Richard:

I know it's an inside joke -- but. believe me, it's a funny one.

A very big help was Acting Ensign Dave Jr., who thanks to his growth spurt and the consumption of five tacos for lunch, helped the Enterprise move as fast as it possibly could by getting his weight onto the leeward rail.

In fact, I think that will be the name of my John Steinbeck-esqe autobiography: "Five Tacos on the Leeward Rail". Got a nice ring to it -- could be a bestseller.

And speaking of books, I think this one could come in handy for the people that were on the RC boat last night:

It all started with the Race Committee setting a 8-10 mile course in 5-knots of dying breeze. Dudes -- when the scratch boat in the division starts saying "Damn, that's a long course for this breeze," you know there's a problem. And then, the line was set where the committee boat is favored by like 20 degrees.

So I call them on it. The response I get is "It's fluctuating. It'll be all right."

By the time the first division went off, the boat was favored by 35-40 degrees and holding. Did they stop and reset to provide a more proper and adequate starting line? No! Why would they?

And then to add insult to injury (or should that be "incompetence to idiocy"?) they publish results saying the race was cancelled when the rules CLEARLY state that each boat that started gets a score of S towards qualifying when boats start a race and none finish. Redress filed!

Maybe I should just learn to not care anymore. All I can hope for is that racing (both the conditions and committee work) is better next week.

Stardate 11338.1

Captain's Log: Stardate 11338.1
This past week has been an exciting one to be sure. For those of you who have been following this Captain's Log Blog, you probably saw the countdown to the launch of the Enterprise.

There was a massive effort to get things ready in the final days. The engine had to start, the floor had to be installed, the power systems repaired, the new floodlight installed, the last of the sails and gear out of storage and the completion of another project which I guarantee you can only be found on a sailboat that is named Starship Enterprise. I'm not going to spoil it for the crew, so the log readers are just going to have to wait until later this week to see.

But there was one other task that needed to be done, one that I've been waiting four years for -- before going into water, we had to go INTO DARKNESS:

No spoilers here. All I can say that when Kirk said to McCoy "buckle up" at the end of the last movie, he wasn't kidding. Wow. What a ride. Two thumbs up and a Vulcan salute.

And with that out of the way, at least the first viewing, it was out to the yard to launch our own starship. Thanks so very much to Commander Richard and my lovely wife for their help in getting things done.

There are many things in this world that feel good, but, in the moment, it's hard to believe anything can feel as good as when the Enterprise is floating again each May. Impulse engines started with ease and in no time at all, we were on our way to our mooring, what we call "standard orbit around Starbase One".

A few hours later, the Enterprise was fully rigged and ready for the season ahead:

And, I must say, the launch of the Enterprise was just in the nick of time. Any longer period of not sailing could lead to a darker, uglier, and far more sinister, lifestyle:

Something was not quite right with the universe that day. And even though I had a few good shots, most of them (like 90%) were epically bad -- the most memorable of which was a 7th-hole tee off drive from the last men's tee that landed softly on the woman's tee just 10 yards away.

And I'm still not sure if the other players in my group were commenting on my putts or that I was a putz.

If anything, there remained no doubt in anyone's mind that boating is my recreational sport.

Our first race is Wednesday. We will continue the voyages we have begun, boldly going through the final frontier.