Stardate 11440.8

Captain's Log: Stardate 11440.8
Last night marked the first Wednesday Night race after Memorial Day, often referred to as the unofficial start of summer. However, with the overcast skies, high winds and temps in the low 50s, it felt like like summer came and went and we were racing in October.

The wind was up, out of the East, and the waves were slamming the smaller boats around. But, as expected, the Enterprise plowed through with no issues. Warp Speed!

But it didn't take long to see that members of the crew were having trouble keeping up with the fast-paced action on board. We started in third place, had some slow tacks, and I found myself pinching to reach the windward mark just to spare Lt. Kurt and Ensign Ceaser the "workout" of another couple of 20-second tacks.

Still, we rounded the first mark in first place and held our position, though sometimes not at top speed, for the duration of the race.

Down below, in the cabin, stuff was being tossed about and it was starting to look like a tornado went through. The most upsetting was the opening of the engine-supply cabinet which spilled the oil pump onto the newly-covered microfiber berth in the Captain's quarters. With any luck, the dry cleaners will be able to clean it up and we can avoid the cost of replacing it - again.

Meanwhile, on deck, we were getting the sails down and somehow, some way, Lt. Kurt opened the centerboard clutch and sent the centerboard down uncontrolled, snapping the cable off, just a week or two before its annual inspection by the divers.

Now, granted, the cable could have been frayed and weak, but still, there was only one thing going through my mind last night:

That, of course, was followed by heart palpitations and hyperventilating, and me trying to keep control over my emotions and screaming out we are done with racing forever.

I'll be honest. I was that close.

The crew should thank my wife Ellen the next time they see her for calming me down.

But there's no need to go to extremes. Ellen and I took some time, after kicking the rest of the crew off (Somewhat rudely, too -- I apologize,) cleaned things up and restored the systems that malfunctioned. And, I sent off a subspace message (email) to the Barnacle Buster about the problem in a hopeful long-shot effort to avoid a short haul and repair bill at a commercial yard. Turns out Joe and Scot say it may be easy for them to do and they will get back to me about when they can get out there. If that's the case, they have a customer in me for life.

So, maybe, in the future, we take a look at the conditions, and the crew on board, and consider not racing on a "hairy"-ish night.

In the meantime, everyone has two weeks off while J-Lo takes over the Bronx on June 4, repairs are made and we get the Enterprise back to full Federation-Flagship status. We race again on June 18. By then, we'll be ready to Boldly Go again.

Stardate 11438.9

Captain's Log: Stardate 11438.9
Thanks to the help of Captain Dave and Acting Ensign DJ, we loaded the genoa and main sail on to the Enterprise and then started the daunting task of putting everything on the rig.

Either I'm getting older or those sails are getting heavier each season.

They must be getting heavier each season. Yeah, that's it.

Meanwhile, at the clubhouse a few hundred yards away, thanks to the new security cameras placed around the club, the following dialogue was recorded:

Richard: Look, Kurt. There's wind. Should be a good night.
Kurt: There's the Enterprise. Looks like they are putting the sails on.
Richard: Looks heavy.
Kurt: Yeah. And a lot of running around. Ummm....
Richard: Can they see us?
Kurt: No, they look busy. Probably could use our help, but.....
Richard: ...but the bus is late, right? Heh Heh.
Kurt: Yeah. We blame the bus service. I'll send a text message that the bus is late.
Richard: Good idea. I'll leave him a voice mail saying the bus is 15 minutes late and we are on it now. Hee Hee.
Kurt: He usually keeps his phone down below.
Richard: Doesn't matter. It'll just corroborate our story later when he sees and hears the messages.
Kurt: You're evil. You know that. At least I made the work party.
Richard: Shush. This will work. Those sails look heavy. There's three of them pulling on that jib halyard.
Kurt: Ok. Hee Hee.
Richard: OK. The main is just about on. We can head out now.
Kurt: We're really late now. It's 6:45.
Richard: Maybe, but the race committee isn't on the launch yet either. Let's go.

Anyway, once everyone was on board, we showed off the Enterprise's new looks and started up the engine to head out to the starting area for our first race of the season.

That is, if you could actually call it a race. Our start was miserable (my Citizen watch's fault -- though it seems to be working now), we had slow tacks, and we were getting headed where we should have been lifted and fighting current where we should have been riding it.

And, despite the breeze, the race committee postponed the start for quite a long time. Eben, EBYRA's Principal Race Officer, said he was having boat problems, but I think it was because the crew was late getting on board. That, and they tried three times to anchor, just to set a line that is skewed 30 degrees. Ugh. I am so glad I'm EBYRetired.

We crossed the starting line last, went right when we should have went left, but rounded the first (and only) mark in third. We crossed the finish line in second, but, of course, corrected into fifth.

Over the holiday weekend, I'll start working on my laundry list of repairs and adjustments, including the port navigation light and some other electrical things here and there. I had planned to grease the internal workings of the winches, but, after last night, it may just be easier to lubricate Ceaser.

Regardless of performance, the chill in the air and the occasional rain drizzle, it was certainly great to be out there again.

Stardate 11438.1

Captain's Log: Stardate 11438.1
It was a looooong, ccccccooold winter, but after all that grief and snow, I'm happy to report that the following happened yesterday at high tide:

Unfortunately, all did not go 100% well. After launching, I had trouble getting the engine started, but before screaming, I remembered back to an incident last year and checked the engine stop lever. A-ha! Dropped it back into position and she started right up.

Then, after running for a few minutes, I noticed very little water coming out of the back and my temperature gauge slowly rising. I went down below and checked the thru-hull and, sure enough, it was closed. I opened it and water was streaming out of the boat like a young boy after finishing a Big Gulp.

In gear and on the way to the mooring, I put the Enterprise in neutral and readied myself to jump forward to grab the pick-up buoy. Still going a little too fast, I dropped the boat into reverse. Happy with my rate of approach, I tried to put the boat back into neutral. Nope. Forward. Nope. Holy Hell. Now the Enterprise going backwards and I can't go forward for anything. So I lined up my approach to the buoy in reverse, grabbed it from the stern and then killed the engine. Then I walked the loops forward and put them on the bow. Yeeeesh! Thankfully, and you won't hear me say this often, there wasn't much of a breeze.

Anyway, the mechanic will fix it today and all will be fine in time for our first race on Wednesday.

We will, once again, Boldly Go . . .

Stardate 11436.2

Captain's Log: Stardate 11436.2
It's been a busy, busy past few weeks, but it looks like things are on track for our launch less than a week away.

The engine work is coming along, the sails should be ready by week's end, the new cushions are being picked up on Thursday, and there's a few items here and there which need to be finished.

Last week, thanks to the help of Captain Dave and Lt. Kurt, the bottom was prepped and painted to perfection:

Interestingly enough, once Kurt's wife heard he was going to spend a few hours painting the hull of a boat, she decided to throw a party for her and her friends while he was gone and had him clean the backyard for the party before he left. Did he say, "It's your party, you clean the backyard"? Nope. He cleaned the backyard. So, yeah, Kurt is more whipped than the crew of the Amistad.

But, it may be a bigger issue than that. There's a shift in power going on. Women are taking over.

Just the other day I picked up the mail and found a Macy's Apparel Sale catalog addressed to me and a Jamestown Boat Supply catalog addressed to my wife. I shit you not.

Anyway, we'll see how this develops as time goes on. Back to the Spring prep of the Enterprise:

One of the most annoying things I found after the winter was that one of my just-out-of-warranty batteries was deader than Lt. Ceaser's winch-grinding arm after a tacking duel in 20 knots of breeze. I tried recharging it several times, but within a few days it would drop from a strong 12.9 to a measly 11.8 volts.

The worst part was not the $300 investment, nor that it failed just after its three-year warranty. The worst part is it's 75 fucking pounds! (no lie -- here are the specs: Sears Website Link) and I need to get it out of and off of the boat while it's 10 feet in the air.

So, I rigged up some line and a few blocks and off it went.

Then, yesterday, came project #12,152 (only like 1,000 more to go - yay!) -- redoing the boot stripes.

The worst part of the job is the hours and hours of taping off the lines:

... only to spend 45 minutes of actually painting:

... but I must say that the finished product really does look pretty damn good:

But, wow, were my arms tired. I spent the rest of day installing a new smaller, and WAY LIGHTER, AGM battery and started to plan out a revamped 12V electrical system based on intense discussions on the C&C list (one battery for starting, the other for the "house", and always separate, except for an emergency - including the addition of a echo charger.)

Assuming all goes well, and it should, we should be in the water by Sunday and racing by Wednesday.