Thursday, 29 September 2011

365 - Sept 29

Visiting the local fair

Taking Our Birds to the Fair

After returning from dropping off the chickens at the fair, buddy started bawling his eyesout.
Mommy: "Dude, what's the matter??"
Buddy: "I don' want the dickens at de bair...... I want dem BACK!!"

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Backyard Rink

Daddy: "maybe we can make a skating rink in the backyard!!"
Buddy: "yeah!!"
Daddy: "With the SNOW!!"
Buddy: "NO Daddy... Mommy has toys in her closet for after the snow!"

Mommy needs to hide the Easter present better she thinks

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

365 - Sept 20

I was productive during naptime today

Confused Dog...

The bus from elementary school arrived home at 3:30. The bus from high school arrives home at 4:30. The dog didn't get the memo about the later home time, and is terribly distressed every day when one of her 'puppies' arrives home late!!

Monday, 19 September 2011

365 - Sept 19

Baby Cuppa has decided that carrots are not so bad when they are the texture of carrots!!

Monday, 12 September 2011

365 - Sept 12

The poor instructor's back


Gordon went home yesterday.... Buddy ran outside to wave goodbye to him. I wonder when he'll come play again.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Hawkestone Weekend - Race 4

Our last morning in Hawkestone was cool and clear. Autumn had arrived overnight. Breakfast was good (as usual) and Chuck and I were well rested after turning in early the night before. It was a cool misty morning, and I put on my foulies not for rain, but warmth.

Around breakfast there was much talk of the previous races and who did what to whom and when and whatnot. We were back to normal yachty talk and excitement was everywhere. But it was cold.

After breakfast, flags were handed out for our performances in the previous races, and iris received 2 third place flags for her efforts over the weekend, and then it was time to discuss the race before us. The course was a simple diamond, nothing fancy, but the race committee wanted to get things started right away, so we hurried to the boat, hanked on the sails, and got out into the lake.

The start field seemed very busy indeed, with boats milling everywhere, so Chuck and I did our usual trick and went to the preferred end of the line, and hung out hove-to until the race was nearly ready to start. After what felt like 5 minutes, we slipped the jib across the deck, sailed into the fleet and joined the melee in time to get in on the pre-start dance.

We loosely followed the path of Trumpet in the pre-start, figuring he would know local conditions, and had a nice, relaxed sail. If one thing can be said about Trumpet's Skipper, it is that he has the most unhurried way of getting to the front of the fleet, doing magically what I stuggle and fight for in a most unrelaxed manner. With less than 30 seconds to go we were just behind trumpet, getting ready to cross the line. He did an S-curve to dump speed, and I decided to try a quick gybe-tack to do the same and get separation. the gybe went well, but on the tack we had lost too much speed, and the fleet coming to the line stole what was left of our wind. We faltered, struggled to regain our speed, and crossed the start well behind the erest of the fleet. Only one boat started after us. We joked with the committee boat on the way past that we would be pulling up their anchor with our keel. We were very close to them.

The only advantage to a late start is that you don't have to deal with other boats stealing your air or messing with your course. We used this to advantage, and fought to regain lost ground on the first leg of the race. This close reach had us catching up to some of the boats that were tangled in a heap from the start. Our challenge though was that we couldn't see the mark that was the first rounding of the race. Eventually, I just sailed as high of a course as I could and then fell to the mark once we saw other boats rounding it. The strategy worked. We were back in the mix with everyone else.

Our course to the second mark had us chasing the tail of the fleet, and as we struggled to catch them on a reach, we could feel a sweet spot where Iris seemed to hold her speed a little better. As much as we could, we held our course right on that spot, and found ourselves successfully attacking from the rear.

Through the remaining two legs of the race, we continued to narrow the gap between ourselves and the fleet edging closer and closer to the leaders on each leg, almost, but not quite catching up to our nearest competition.

At the finish we would be 10 seconds behind Sorcery, and 12 seconds behind Second Wind, and a minute and 15 seconds behind the winning boat. We took second because of some great sailing, but we could have taken first if it weren't for my poor start.

Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

The current results show Iris in third place right now. We are out of first place by 7 points and out of second by four. If either French Connection or Butterfly miss the Georgina Cup weekend, we may have a chance, but only a chance to snag first. If we miss anything, we are out of the running.

End of season is always close for us.

365 - Sept 10

Afternoon croquet

Friday, 9 September 2011


I think I am really starting to like Gordon. he's quiet, doesn't eat much, and helps Buddy clean up his room after nap time...

365 - Sept 9


Hawkestone Weekend - Race 3

Morning came too early. It always does after a yacht club party. It came with a breakfast of bacon and eggs with side trimmings of fruit and yogurt and everything else. We ate and talked and looked at the flat water of lake Simcoe and the weather warnings on the VHF and wondered how the race would go today.

A skippers meeting followed breakfast, and we were all informed that the race would start late. Folks pulled out iPADs and Playbooks, and instantly radar tracking of the storms was shown with exactly when they would hit and what the wind following them would be. a year ago this sort of thing would have been unheard of, but technology does great things, and sure enough the storms came, blew through, and right on time, the wind came up for the race.

Our course was shortened and simplified. We would sail to the weather buoy, round it, then come back to Hawkestone, rounding one of their race marks, and finally ending back in the club.We prepped the boat and lined up for the start.It was fairly calm in the start area, and we were stalled out right at the end of the line when the committee boat started the 5 minute countdown for the flying sail fleet.

Not wanting to screw up the start for the other fleet, I started the outboard, and motored out of the start box, then killed it and hauled the engine back into the raised position. This raised the ire of other boats around me. I thought nothing of it, and nothing came of it. None of the flying sail boats thanked me, but the white sail guys seemed to think I was looking for an unfair advantage. I shrugged it off and continued with my start sequence.

Our start in this race was one of the tightest we have had. We manged to keep ahead of the boats to windward, but the leeward boat was crowding us tightly. I headed up to avoid him, and very politely he pointed out how close we were to hitting him with out stern. I looked back, and there was about 6" of separation. I headed back down, locked in beside his boat, my start being controlled by his.

After a few seconds, he called us up, and we pushed up the boat next to us, and so on. In the end we started right in the front row of boats, but in a mediocre position. I still chalk it up as a good start.

We went to the weather mark doing fairly well, but somehow we did better on one tack than the other, losing whatever we gained each time we tacked. And our tacks themselves were sloppy, costing us boat lengths every time. By the time we reached the weather mark we weren't at the head of the fleet at all, but we weren't the last boat there either.

As impossible as it seems, I recall the trip back to Hawkestone as a windward leg as well. I may be wrong. Perhaps we reached to the weather mark or something like that. In any case, we worked hard at keeping our tacks to 90° on the way back to the club, and kept a few key boats in sight.

In the end we finished the race an hour after the winning boat from our division, French Connection, and 45 minutes behind our nearest competition, "Sorcery". A dismal finish. Despite my misgivings, we managed to get a third out of the 6 boats entered, and a reminder that we needed to work a lot harder in teh next race.

We were tired, and I tried not to beat myself up too much, but I knew we could have done better. After a hot dinner, we went to bed early, and started thinking about the final race of the weekend, scheduled for the next morning.

Thursday, 8 September 2011


"Mommy, my friend is upstars."

"You have a firend upstairs?"


"what's your friend's name?"


365 - Sept 8

He's supposed to be napping....

Hawkestone Weekend - Race 2

Following our finish in the first race, we Hove-to and waited for the start of Race 2. Hoping we could repeat our success from teh first race, I thought about what my strategy should be and surveyed the bay leading to lake Simoce. The race would be a windward leg out of Kempenfelt bay, then across the top of Lake Simcoe on a shortened course leading directly to Hawkestone Yacht Club where a corn boil waited for us.

Our start was incredibly lacklustre. We not only started late, but we were in poor location and poorly trimmed. Slowly we headed to windward and began "climbing teh ladder" to work our way upwind and out of the bay. Since we weren't sailing fast, I started looking for ways to sail smart. At first I thought of success I had had in the past by running right to the edge of teh water before tacking on each upwind leg, but now I noticed that the wind was not very strong on the south side of teh bay. After trying that once, I decided to stick with the north side of teh bay and to tack as soon as I felt the boat decelerate, no matter whether Iris was being lifted or headed.

The strategy worked. In three tacks we had caught up to the fleet and worked our way into a comfortable position, crossing tacks with a few boats from the low PHRF fleet. As we continued up the bay though, the strategy fell apart. The wind was weaker in the north half of the bay than it had been. We lost some speed, the other boats regained their places, and we fell back. We left Kempenfelt bay with 4 or so boats behind us, and nothing to brag about.

As we continued across the north shore of lake Simcoe, the wind gradually fell off until we were sailing in "ghost mode" trying to hold our speed at 1 or 1.5 knots and hoping our momentum was unbroken. Iris moved silently through the water, and we sat very still trying not to disturb the tiny bit of motion we had.

I tried to hold wind lines coming from the shore, and avoid turbulence. Far out in the lake I could see other boats looking for wind, and I hoped that the shore breeze would pay off. It didn't.

Eventually the breeze died altogether, and I saw the other boats finish. Three boats were still behind us, but we had no motion at all. We bobbed in the heat, eventually allowing the whisper of wind still on the lake to nudge us over the line. Teh race comittee sounded their horn, and folks on the pier cheered us for our determination. We brought the boat in and tied up next to Allegro Andante.

The next boat would come in 45 minutes later, and the last boat nearly an hour behind us, as a thunderstorm pelted us with all of its fury. On corrected time, we finished fourth out of the five boats entered in the race.

We were glad we had made it ashore when we did. the night was spent merry-making into the wee hours, and then we retired to bed, waiting for a glorious breakfast the next morning.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Who Cut the Cheese?

According to Buddy, he dosen't cut the cheese, he's too little..... Mommy cuts the cheese.

365 - Sept 7

The chickens are jumping to get the elderberries off the elderberry tree

Hawkestone Weekend - Race 1

Its been a pretty poor sailing season for Iris so far. Life has gotten in the way of living, and she has sat far too many times when she would rather have been on the go. I made the promise that we would bring her to Hawkestone, and made sure we kept it.

Friday night Chuck, my 14 yo daughter and I sailed across the lake and tied off in Barrie Marina (aka "The Duckshit Docks"), a 15 minute hop away from Barrie.

In the morning we put-putted to the Barrie Yacht Club and tied up outside their harbour, then went ashore for breakfast and the skippers meeting. Since we have only done one other race this season, there was a lot of catching up to be done.We heard stories from previous races and learned how our stiffest competition was doing.

I am Canadian has retired his old boat, buying a new one, Sorcery. A couple new boats have shown up in our division, most notably, Butterfly and French Connection. French Connection sails from our club, Butterfly from Cooks Bay. Both boats are well sailed.

Following breakfast we headed out for the first of the races. The windward-leeward course would take us across Kempenfelt bay, and give us a chance to get things working before a longer race from Barrie to Hawkestone. We hanked on our sails and headed out.

IN the pre-start we tooled around back and forth waiting for the horn. As we tried to get to the preferred end of the line, I realized that we and most of the fleet were on starboard tack. This forced a dilemma. If I tacked to cross the line, I would be on port tack. Starboard tack has rights over port. The rest of the fleet was on starboard. I could get in serious trouble if I didn't work something out.

Then, as if on cue, most of the fleet tacked to port to go for the line. The port tack was preferred for the start. We were suddenly in the best spot of the entire fleet, close to the committee boat, and in good air, accelerating to the line. a horn went, my timer showed start time, the rest of the fleet was still flogging sails and hadn't pulled them in for some reason. We blasted past everyone, and hit the line with speed as the other boats pulled in their sails. Then a second horn sounded and timers on boats surrounding us went off just as we reached the line. My timer was set minute early, but since I had miss-judged the start, we were the first boat to the line, and were right on time, with speed. A happy accident.

We made our way to the windward mark on a close reach, and were met there by 4 other boats, Butterfly rounded first, followed by 2 low PHRF boats. Not realizing that Butterfly was my competition, I let him get ahead, and focused on the boats behind us.

We rounded the mark and reached to the leeward mark, losing a couple more places to boats in the other fleet, then headed back to what had been the windward mark. By now the wind had shifted, so the windward leg was actually a run. Rounding the mark, we realized that even more of the fleet had passed us, including most of our competition. In the last leg, we would get passed by the rest of the fleet, narrowly ending as the second to last boat to finish the race.

With the boats coming and going from the fleet this season, an interesting development has been that Iris is now the slowest rated boat in our fleet. This means that although six boats finished ahead of us, we still took third place on handicap, and were out of second place by only 20 seconds. Butterfly and French Connection, the two new boats had beat us. An interesting development for sure.

Not knowing we had taken third, we were happy with our start and pondered ways to improve our results for the next race. The Hawkestone race.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Sunday, 4 September 2011