Stardate 11366.0

Captain's Log: Stardate 11366.0
Yesterday morning started with a phone call from Glenn Vitaglione, the Commodore of the Morris Yacht and Beach Club. Glenn filled me in on things I already knew through the grapevine, and then, without any kind of pause, he asked me if I wanted to be the club's alternate representative to EBYRA - the Eastchester Bay Yacht Racing Association.

For those of you who don't know, and I doubt there are many of you, for the past almost 20 years I had been an EBYRA board member, starting as an alternate representative for CIYC, then the primary, and then, for a loooooong 13 years ending last December, I was the Commodore of EBYRA.

For 13 years I dealt with bitching racers, committee boat troubles, pontifications and screaming fights at board meetings, holier-than-thou individuals who rather whine than lend a helping hand, dinner planning, meeting planning, awards purchases, scoring issues, and more. And, oh yeah, the now-famous J/24 Jihad.

Do I want back in? Well, it reminded me of an old song I like, and I've changed the lyrics a bit to show how I really feel. So, with all due respect to Mr. "Weird" Al Yankovic, I submit this to you, Commodore John and reps Vince, Richie, Tony and Lisa:

Well I heard that Pritz was leavin' (leavin')
Gonna leave us far behind (so far behind)
'Cause he found a brand new yacht club
And decided that we're not his kind (aahh..)

So I pulled (I pulled) his name out (name out) of the website (oohh..)
And I tore all his pictures in two
And I untied Prevail's mooring where he used to go
Just because it reminds me of you (dippity dippity doo)

That's right (that's right) you ain't gonna see me cryin'
I'm glad (I'm glad) that he found someplace new
'Cause I'd rather spend eternity eating shards of broken glass
Than join the EBYRA Board with you

I guess I might seem kinda bitter
It all has got me feeling down in the dumps
'Cause we're out there each week on the starting line
And the racing totally sucks!

Oh, so board members, I'll still help you with that website
I'll even (I'll even) help with a budget or two
'Cause I'd rather get a hundred thousand paper cuts on my face
Than join the EBYRA Board with you

I'd rather rip out my intestines with a fork
Than be in a meeting with you woman and men
I'd rather slam my fingers in a door (yah)
Again and again and again and again and again

Oh, can't you see what I'm tryin' to say, Board Members...

I'd rather have my blood sucked out by leeches (leeches)
Shove an icepick under a toenail or two
I'd rather clean all the bathroom in Grand Central Station with my tongue
Than join the EBYRA Board with you

Yes, I'd rather jump naked on a huge pile of thumbtacks
Or stick my nostrils together with crazy glue
I'd rather dive into a swimming pool filled with double-edged razor blades
Than join the EBYRA Board with you

I'd rather rip my heart out of my ribcage with my bare hands
and then throw it on the floor and stomp on it 'till I die
Than join the EBYRA Board with you

Here's the original song, so you too can sing along:

So yeah, I said no. I hear they're going to ask Mr. Tap Toe himself, Gregg Manjorin, next. May God have mercy on your soul. As for last night's race, all I can say is the engine works fine. There was not much breeze at all and some people on board were worried about the possibility of rain. Yes, RAIN. Water droplets coming from the sky. Oh no! I know I've said this before, but it's always worth repeating: NOBODY --NOBODY-- HAS EVER --EVER-- DIED FROM GETTING RAINED ON. This is why we own foul weather gear. This is what makes us better than those wimpy major-league baseball players. We race in rain.

I can see the enthusiasm winding down, as it usually does with only two races left in the season. It's not just us too. Less than half of the fleet showed up last night. Maybe it's a sign of the times. Maybe EBYRA has lost its luster. Maybe racing on the whole is dying out due to increased costs, age and the corruption of local PHRF boards.

We'll just have to wait and see.....

Stardate 11364.1

Captain's Log: Stardate 11364.1
The evening started with me lugging the repaired warp core (the genoa) into my car, out of my car, onto the launch, off of the launch, and on to the foredeck. Either that thing is getting heavier, or I'm getting older. And, after much consideration and calculating all of the decisive factors, I have determined, without a doubt, it is getting heavier.

Don't argue with me about it. I'm the captain.

Once attached and ready to go, the crew started to board, starting with the return of Ensign Ceaser followed by my father, Commander Richard.

But something was off about Richard today... and my wife was the first to notice:

Look carefully -- he's wearing two different sneakers. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present Exhibit A in the competency hearing.

Exhibit B is his fascination with "Peeping" Tom Wesselman, followed by his assurances, over and over, that this is art:

Sorry, but it was stuff like that underneath boats during the bottom-paint application months that got my yacht club in so much trouble with the Environmental Protection Agency. That dark blue looks an awful lot like Interlux Micron CSC and that yellow looks like Petit Vivid.

So, on to the race. We moved out to start at Mark H, a current fad-fetish of the now EBYRA Commodore, where the line was short and the tidal currents were close to two knots. That's right, H had a wake.

We set ourselves up for a run to the line, but I, somehow thought half of 2:40 was 1:40 and we were approaching the line about 20 seconds ahead of schedule. I tried a couple of S-moves, but Bouliner was in the way and we had to duck her stern and try -- try -- to force her over the line early, yet also keeping our distance knowing Bouliner's history of collisions and the close call we saw earlier between Prevail (on leeward) and Breakaway (on windward). From what we could see, it was close. Any closer, they may have to do a name change to Breakapart.

Going right was the way to go, as demonstrated by High Heels and New Freedom who both gained some ground on the looooooong windward leg. As the night went on, the wind got lighter and lighter, sealing our dismal fate. We ended up crossing the finish neck-to-neck with High Heels, who we give oodles of time to.

There's only three more races to go and our quest for the $30 pickle dish continues. Next week, unfortunately, Lt. Kurt won't be joining us because his family is taking him to his parent's farm in the country. I did warn Kurt, however, to be extra careful. When I was young, we had an Old English Sheepdog named "Barnaby" and there was a time when my father told me he was going to take him to the farm in the country -- where he'll have lots of land to play around in.

Watch your back, Kurt.

And if you have doubts, here's a shot of me and Barnaby in the early 70's:

Check out those pants! Stylin!!!

Stardate 11362.2

Captain's Log: Stardate 11362.2
It's been a couple of weeks since I've added a log entry, mostly due to work demands and the heart-breaking 1-second loss for Race 13 in perfect wind conditions for the Enterprise.

But, according to the wind buoy data that I checked before last night's race, it looked like we were going to have even better wind conditions. And we did -- 16 to 20 out of the north. The only problem was we were going without my father, Jory and Ceaser, and in this breeze, main and jib handling would be the key.

So we started searching for help, and, luckily enough, we ran into Robert and Russ on the launch and asked them to give up their night of pleasure sailing for a night of adventure and speed on the Starship Enterprise. They talked about it and, within 20 minutes, both of them, with their friend Andy, were aboard and learning the systems.

Russ is a member of the club and owns a 31 footer further out in the mooring field. When I asked him the name of the boat, I could have sworn he said "Areola", to which I thought, this guy should meet my dad.

Turns out he said "Aeolus", named after the Greek god of wind.

So we put the main up and worked our way through the wind and chop to the starting area. We had quite a few splashes come over the side, but, thankfully, Lt. Zoraida shielded most of us from the water by putting her body in the way of the incoming wave. It's a good thing Zoraida isn't Mexican, cause there's a good "wetback" joke in there somewhere.

Before the start, the wind was changing speed dropping to 12 and sometimes gusting to 18. In our division, most of the fleet was there; Wuestwind, High Heels, Bouliner and us. But, for some reason, High Heels and Bouliner must have thought it was gusting to 50 and dropped out of the race. Seriously? A 15-mph wind speed average was too much for you? OK. All those who are offended with profanity, please cover your eyes for a moment.


Because even if Robert, Russ and Andy didn't get on board, you know Zoraida and Dave Jr would be cranking and tailing.

So, it was just Wuestwind and us, battling over a measly 10 points. And battle we did - with Robert and Russ huffing and puffing on the windward legs through our night of a total of four tacks (thanks to a glorious wind shift during our last leg.)

Though not a winning night (we lost by 46 seconds), the sailing and conditions could not have been better - especially on that last leg with the Enterprise screaming along upwind passing the lighthouse, leeward rail close to the water, and the crew on the windward rail watching the sunset.

Once we finished, we took the warp core offline (dropped the genoa) so that it can be repaired over the week. Should be as good as new by next week's race, if not sooner.

It's hard to believe there are only a few more weeks of racing left, but, with some effort, I think we'll be able to take home some new silver at season's end.

Stardate 11358.4

Captain's Log: Stardate 11358.4
It was supposed to be a great night. Nice breeze and perfect weather conditions. I even worked it out to leave the office early so I can have extra time on the Enterprise to install a new bilge pump and add 5.25 gallons of diesel to the tank. And, despite brutal traffic on the Cross County and the entrance to the "Hutch", I still had a good 45 minutes to get things done -- more than enough time.

I finished things up, and Commander Richard came aboard just as I was heading to the engine controls to start things up and give the batteries a good charge for the race that night.

chug... chug... chug.... Shit. It's not starting.

Battery power was at a good 12.45. We switched to the strongest of the two (so we don't drain both trying to crank the engine,) and started to pull the access panels to see if the problem was easily visible. My father and I know a lot of the basic stuff, but, as I've seen from years past, Captain Dave knows engines. I need Dave on board.

Ensign Ceaser arrived next, wincing at the sight of the winch handles in the cockpit. I told him we were having some starting problems and he patiently waited in the cockpit. My father, my wife and I were all hunched around the engine, reviewing the troubleshooting guide and thinking that we had air in the system -- we needed to bleed the engine. It was that, or there was water in the fuel lines. We reconnected a hose, couldn't access one bleeding point and then tried the last one, which opened easily enough. No air. No fuel either. Damn.

I need Dave on board.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm always very happy to see every member of the Enterprise crew come on board, especially on a Wednesday Night. But, this was how things went over the next several minutes:

Launch approaches the boat.
Me: "Is that Dave coming on?"
Ceaser: "No, it's Zoraida."
Me: "Fuck!"

and then...

Launch approaches the boat.
Me: "Is that Dave coming on?"
Ceaser: "It's Jory."
Me: "FUCK!"

We tried several things and cranked several times in hopes that we'd get some results. But alas, we could not get things going. As the crew made their way up top, with half of us now covered in sweat and engine grease, I broke the news to the team: No race tonight guys, sorry.

And then, with a sigh, I made that phone call to Consolidated Yachts on City Island to leave a lengthy voicemail about them coming out to do repairs, with the silent prayer that it's nothing major.

We all sat up there and tried to enjoy the evening as the fleet sailed by less than a mile away. I tried to shift my thoughts from the massive repair bill that may lie ahead along with the time the Enterprise may be out of commission by telling the tale of the so-called "J/24 Jihad" on EBYRA and the recent Coast Guard involvement. And then, I looked at my wife, who was sitting on the rear port-side seat.

It can't be that. It just can't. Fuck. Is it that? Can't be. Dammit. I gotta check.

"Hon, can you move for a sec?"

I opened the panel and almost cried. The engine stop cable was still in the stop position. You have got to be fucking kidding me. All that. For nothing. I reset the cable and engaged the starter. The engine started in less than three cranks.

So, in the end, we missed a great night of racing, all wasted spending time troubleshooting an engine problem that turned out to be one of the most simplest solutions. In the end, we did clear out some of the fuel filter and reconnected a return hose, so it's at least a relief to know the Enterprise is in top working order and still has its Federation Flagship status.

My father, along with Jory and Zoraida, left after a short while to get into his vehicle for a ride back to New Jersey by way of Manhattan. Interestingly enough, my father did leave his eyeglasses on board the Enterprise. Thanks to the modern technologies of GPS tracking, cellular waypoints, Internet streaming and traffic cameras, we were able to obtain this footage of my father driving last night without his glasses: