Stardate 11548.2

Captain's Log: Stardate 11548.2
Last weekend, while organizing the final voyage for the late Captain Tony Sklarew, we were unable to get the impulse (diesel) engine started. After a few attempts and some basic troubleshooting with the fuel lines, air filters and electrical, we still had no luck and sent our guests to other boats in the fleet.

We then tried to obtain a tow to Consolidated and, long story short, I am no longer a customer of Sea Tow. Jerks. And Tow Boat US was eager for my business.

So the Enterprise made it to Consolidated on Monday. By Tuesday morning, the news was not good. I asked them to do some other diagnostics, clean some things out and try to get the Universal M-35 running, but, by yesterday morning, the word was:

Today, the engine comes out and we're left with a few options, from somewhat-expensive less-than-perfect and very time consuming, to much more expensive, perfect and, theoretically, a 1-2 week turnaround.

Thanks to an amazing supportive and understanding wife (I'm told most wives would instead take the position of "Fuck you and your little boat too") and some financial assistance from Commander Richard, it looks like I'm leaning towards the best and fastest option -- I'm just waiting for the manufacturer and the mechanic to discuss -- and soon the main engineering room could look like this:

Fingers crossed. More to come....

Stardate 11544.4

Captain's Log: Stardate 11544.4
Conditions could not have been better for last night's race on the Enterprise. Temperatures in the 70s, winds in the low teens and blue skies all around. And, amazingly enough, the committee boat was running! Especially amazing since I was asked to tow that rustbucket last Sunday.

Missing last night was Ensign Dave Jr., still trapped at home studying for finals, and Crewman Elizabeth. Joining us, however, were Iris and Ed, winners of a night of racing on board the Enterprise in a silent auction to benefit the Westchester Choral Society. We did our best to make them feel welcome and ordered up some perfect weather.

Our start was textbook and we went to the corner to ride the current to the first mark.

Now, this is usually the part of the log where I get on Ceaser for his lackluster tacking skills, but, dammit, he actually did very well. Kurt too. Somebody had better start fucking up or I won't have a need to keep a log anymore.

We rounded the first mark in fourth place and passed one of the boats on the next short leg. We were going to need to tack quickly to get back up to the third mark again, so Dave did his best on foredeck to get the pole down and clear the sheets. Unfortunately, he dropped the pole right onto one of our guest's feet. It didn't come down all that hard and she was fine, but it's possible it saved me from a cracked expensive companionway hatch.

So, um, sorry, but, um, thank you, Iris.

The final leg consisted of a dying-breeze, tactical cat-and-mouse meets game-of-chicken battle with Stave Pritz on Prevail that should warrant a donation to the ASPCA. Nevertheless, after it all, the Enterprise took Prevail by over a boat length - a victory all in itself.

And during all that, we caught up to Wuestwind, but needed a few more yards of race course to pass them - our bow ended up crossing 3 seconds after theirs, giving us a 2nd-place crossing for the night and correcting into 4th (New Freedom and Saudades -- way back there -- corrected over the rest of us.)

We returned to the mooring and my wife brought out a birthday cake celebrating my final year in my 40s. Knowing how much I love Boston Cream Pie (and, frankly, the only thing from Boston I like, except for, being a Mets fan, when the Red Sox play the Yankees), this was a yellow cake with chocolate frosting and stuffed with Bavarian creme. Mmmmmm. Soooo goooooood.

Awesome wife. Period.

I can't remember having a better cake, even if everyone thought Bavarian was being misunderstood as "Barbarian".

And I don't know if it's a sign of getting old or not, but YRA of LIS, which I'm no longer a member of, just sent me a second reminder of the Third Annual Alzheimer's Regatta, and I have no recollection whatsoever of the first or second one. Really.

Anyway, speaking of birthdays: Tomorrow, Stardate 11544.7, marks the 10th Anniversary of the commissioning of the Enterprise-B:

Thanks to all for some great memories on board and off.

Stardate 11542.5

Captain's Log: Stardate 11542.5
The evening started last night with all of us realizing we weren't wearing as many layers as we should have been. It's June! Why the fuck is it in the 50s!? It was colder last night than when we were getting the boat ready two months ago. I think we need to get out some aerosol cans from the 70s and start spraying again towards the ozone layer. A little solar radiation would be more than welcome right about now.

We headed out to the starting area and, as expected, the new EBYRA committee boat was being towed out to the starting area. What a proud moment for EBYRA.

They anchored and set the line in the near-perfect racing conditions (with the exception of air temperature-- brrrr) of 13-15 knots of breeze and clear skies all around, so, naturally, what does the EBYRA committee do? Postpone, of course.

Luckily, the postponement didn't last too long and racing began. Our course was K-L-K -- an excellent choice for most of our division. Missing for the evening was Crewman Elizabeth and Ensign David Jr., who was stuck at home studying for an art appreciation exam, which we all took to mean he was looking at boobs of 18th century babes.

And people ask me why my father is an art dealer....

Let me put it this way - he named his boat Great American Nude and then could not understand why it may offend his wife, his daughter, his grandchildren and members of his yacht club if he included the girl's nipple in the boat graphics.

Anyway, without the boy wonder, Ensign Ceaser was going to have to return to genoa handling, and, for a while there, I couldn't tell who was more discouraged about it, him or me. But, with a little guidance and assistance from Foredeck Captain Dave, our tacks became better and better, even in the building breeze on the first leg. We rounded the first mark in third place and turned towards the second. What was originally going to be a wing-on-wing leg was now a reach thanks to a wind shift -- the Enterprise's fastest point of sail. Another gust and....

Warp 7.7! Sweet. We were holding our own against spinnaker boats on the same point of sail.

Of course, so were the two boats that rounded ahead of us. Nevertheless, it was a great ride.

We rounded the second mark and, despite a few short tacks at the end to get around the point, the leg was practically a fetch. No opportunities to gain any ground.

We crossed the finish line in third and corrected into fourth.

Once back at the mooring, we dined on tortilla chips, Oreos and margarita mix. Lt. Kurt, after checking his blood-pressure sodium diet guide, asked, "Are these whole wheat chips?"

Yeah, cause we're THAT health conscience.

The general rule on board is why shoot for 6-pack abs when you can (for much less effort) have the full keg?

Stardate 11542.2

Captain's Log: Stardate 11542.2
This morning, I received another red-alert voicemail from EBYRA's Principal Race Officer, Eben. Despite that EBYRA spent big money to purchase a new(er) committee boat with two engines so they have a back-up in case one engine fails, Eben reports that both engines failed last night and the committee boat is stuck on a mooring awaiting a mechanic.

He then asked that, in case a mechanic can't come or fix the problem today, can he depend on the Enterprise?

You just can't make this shit up.

So I called him back and said, "Honestly, Eben, not to be a prick, but last week was Enterprise's week. Just because no race happened doesn't mean we get thrown back into the pool again for this year. We're done. You have 30 other boats to choose from. It has to be fair, you know."

Not what he wanted to hear, but he sighed knowing I was right.

So we are racing tonight -- that is if EBYRA can have a working committee boat. But, as I see it, they have plenty of time to get Hustler or Fantasy Girl into Eastchester Bay. After all, if that's what a rep or Commodore has to do to make sure racing goes on, then that's the job they have to do. But you know as well as I, they won't.

EBYRA is dying.

Truth be told, its downfall is the product of what's going on everywhere. Racing is struggling, yachting is struggling and yacht clubs themselves are struggling. As for the racing part, it's the inconsistencies and unfairness of PHRF, the costs, and the hardship of getting a crew together that is simply killing the sport.

That being said, it's times like these where apathy and attitude will hasten the demise and I think that's where things are with EBYRA. Clubs not participating and reps with other priorities -- no attempt whatsoever to reach out to the hundreds of boats in the Eastchester Bay mooring fields and get them into some form of racing.

There's a consensus among the board right now (at least what's left of them) that "we know better than you" and "what you want is not important to us."

They hold firm to less throwouts, big divisions and complex scoring as if Wednesday Night Racing was the ultimate competitive event. If you look at the scratch sheet, there are several boats that, no matter what, simply have no chance. Fun, right?

As to Commodore John, someone named 'No. 6' stated this on Sailing Anarchy: "John's approach to curing the disease seems to be killing the patient. He knows I wish him the best of luck but I think he would be well served were he to listen to what the sailors in Eastchester Bay want from their beer can series. Rather than listening, his default setting is to ridicule. If EBYRA dies, that will be the reason."

I fully disagree with the last sentence. EBYRA is dying to be sure, but that's due to the issues I mentioned earlier. The problem I see is that John isn't doing anything to save it.

Why would he? He hasn't raced on Wednesday Nights in over a decade. If EBYRA explodes, he loses nothing. Same could be said for Vince Nanni, who now races in Stamford. The other reps? Bob Berent is busy folding up Stuyvesant Yacht Club. There is no rep from Harlem YC. Richie Coar from City Island YC and volunteers like Eben just can't do it alone.

Even if John did want to breathe new life into EBYRA, he doesn't have anyone to help him do it.

By the way, the Sailing Anarchy quote came from a thread titled "EBYRA - DTS? Starfleet Command calls Espo a dead Klingon in under 2 yrs", all based on my log entry from Stardate 11533.2.

And while I never did actually call Espo a Klingon, that did get me to thinking. Overbearing. A superiority complex. Full of ridicule. Borderline narcissist.

And then there's all those episodes where Klingons disguised themselves surgically to appear as humans....

Hmmmmmmm. Is John Esposito a Klingon sent from Kronos to destroy EBYRA once and for all? We'll have to wait and see.