Tamarind Tree and Round the County


Originally uploaded by ekraay.

On Friday I had a delicious dinner date at the Tamarind Tree, a Vietnamese restaurant. You can see Kei here clutching her champagne cocktail that she nurses while we wait an hour for our table. She just got paid and took me out to dinner for 7 courses of beef.

And after that I sailed around the San Juan Islands for Round the County. I tell you I was dreaming of seven courses of beef while pounding down Rosario Straight in 30+ knots of breeze. It was all I could do to pull out a wet trail mix bar for lunch that day. I did fill up a pint of coffee in my thermos, which I managed to sneek up to the rail while we were going upwind. After a cup of coffee myself, I handed a small cup to Dustin, my mast man. Just as he was taking a sip a giant wave crashed over the boat and the cup filled with seawater. Funny thing, he just kept on drinking the salty swill. I guess coffee flavored seawater tastes better than straight seawater.

Tachyon Weblog

So, the post below became my first entry in the Team Tachyon sailing log. I’m thinking that one will be filled with details about practices, how we did, and sailing links. I’m not sure how I’ll do maintaining two blogs, but we’ll see.

Practice makes perfect

I went to sailing practice last night on Tachyon, Shaun’s newer Farr 40. We headed North from Shilshole Marina in the Puget Sound. It was a beautiful clear night, with consistent breeze at 10 knots. We headed upwind for an hour, while they inspected the new rig. Then we pointed back for Shilshole, while the harvest moon hung like Christmas tree ornament in a bed of blue over the Cascades.

We jibed about 15 times, after which my arms were burning and gloves sticky with sweat. It was hard work, but well worth it. The team gelled this time, due in part to the two practices we had last Saturday and Monday. But the credit really goes to Jay, who took the leadership of the team a couple months ago.

We knew this all along, that A) if we get a consistent group of people together and B) if we practice together, that we will get much better. But it was always something we talked about and never did. It wasn’t until Jay stepped aboard and took ownership of the team that we started to work together. Don’t get me wrong, we have a long way to go before we are competitive with the professional crews. But the difference in team dynamic, in the volume of the boat (it used to get very loud when we rounded marks), and the speed at which we complete tasks is a vast improvement from the old days, even in this early stage of our team development.

Jay stressed that we aren’t going to bring hotshot “pinch hitter” sailors aboard for a few races, only to see them leave on other races. We are going to get a group of 9 together who will always keep the same positions and get really good at working together. While we are all competent, there are no legendary sailors on the boat, so we all can improve together. We are also practicing twice a week, and everyone shows up.

This is a far cry from previous years where we would only meet on race day on Wednesday, when everything had to go right and there was no room for error. And those who stuck it out week after week would often get bumped for a hotshot sailor to come in and do their job, all in the hopes of winning one race. If we happened to do well, great, but we paid for it in team morale months following. The attrition rate from this boat over the last 3 years was close to 100%, with a complete change of crew every year (except for Shaun, Kathering (his girlfriend), myself and Clyde). I’m not sure why I stuck it out, seeing how good it is now comparitively. But I’m glad I stuck it out, for what the potential looks like in a year from now.

Bow down

Tonight’s Wednesday night race was a complete disaster. Two marks we rounded had a problem with the chute not going up properly. At least three things I did were incorrect. I put the spinaker sheet through the forestay and the jib on one rounding. I didn’t connect the main to the boom properly. That resulted in someone else fixing it (and dropping some hardware into the sound). And the chute was twisted on two occasions. Everyone was very supportive of me after the race however.

It is like being served dinner by a waitress who is constantly making mistakes because she is so busy, but she is obviously trying hard and apologetic. Yout tend to tip her more because A) you feel really bad for her or B) it makes you realize how hard the job is in the first place. I was the waitress that dropped the lemon merangue pie on Grandma’s head tonight.