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Friday, September 28, 2007

September 29, 2007-Thai Dancers in Bangkok

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Masked Man

We went out to a dinner show last night and got some images of the dancers. I managed to get this one finished today.

I also made one of a Papua New Guinea drummer, click here to see that image.

Fred & Judy, Bangkok

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

September 22, 2007-Zen Moment

SMU Image
One More Mark Rounding, Western Circuit Regatta, August 2007

There is a whole world outside of the 40 foot circle of space which is Wings but at moments like this we don't know about it.

In these moments we are, each of us, inwardly focused into the world of this vessel, this place, this time; into the reality of right now. The rest of the world does not exist for us in this moment. We are are here, we are now, we are onboard Wings, and we have a job to do.

For a mark rounding like this we each have our own challenge to face. Each of us has a task to perform. We each know our own assignment and we each focus on that assignment and know that we must do it, and we will do it. Yes we have our mates to help us and we trust that our mates will do their jobs too; but for this moment we are completely focused into our own private challenges. Nothing else exists, we do our jobs.

We are eight persons just living for right now, for this boat, for this task, for these shipmates, for this Zen.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Singapore

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Friday, September 14, 2007

September 9, 2007-Better Than Going To the Office

wingssail image-Judy Jensen

We knew it was going to be a good day for sailing when the day dawned clear and breezy. Then it got better: the race committee gave us a long course to mark “21”, out by the big ship anchorage, no short legs on this day.

OK, I blew the start, over early again, that’s twice in a row for me, but we recognized it quickly and got back right away. From then the beat went perfectly. For once, for the first time for us in Singapore, we figured out how to sail south: play the beach on the left side, tacking in 12 feet of water, go around the reef at the green mark, and then head right back in, never mind the depth sounder, sail deep into the shore, and be sure to play the beach hard again at the power station.

So we were first to the top mark by a couple of minutes, had a nice set, and headed for home.

wingssail image-fredrick roswold
Great day on the water

Now all we had to do is sail as smart on the run as we did on the beat, only we didn’t. We did a jibe set and stayed out trying to catch the tide, which appeared to be flooding strongly at the top mark. Wrong again. “It was just a back eddy”, said Gorden later. He put his Shoon Fung Too in the right place: he bore away at the mark and sailed hard to the right. The path which worked so well coming out was also the choice going back. SF Too quickly passed us and held it all the way in to finish first. We corrected out 4th.

So that’s how it goes: Two mistakes and you finish well down.

But I’m not complaining. We had a great day of sailing and loved every minute of it. We’ll get this local area right one day and in the meantime, we’re having a lot of fun. It sure beats going to the office.

wingssail image-fredrick roswold

Click Here to see our new afterguard with Bob steering.
Click Here to go to Wingssail Images.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Singapore

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September 9, 2007-Boat Maintenance

Fred Up The Mast

Working hard to keep Wings in good shape is part of the deal. In fact I don't mind. It is satisfying to accomplish every thing on your list for the day and then go sailing and have it all work.

This weekend we spent Saturday morning patching our #3. This tired old sail is falling apart. I'm talking to Rob about a new one, even sent emails to some places that sell used ones, but nothing is firm yet and we still need to keep the old Fraiser in good enough shape to use. So we patched the bejesus out of it.

Then I replaced three halyards with the new ones from West Marine which were waiting for us when we arrived in Singapore this trip. Of course one of them came loose from the messenger line and fell out of the mast when I was changing it, so Sunday I had to go up and lead a new line down. But we got it, and so now all the halyards on the front of the mast are new.

We are still using wire to rope halyards. Haven't switched to all rope yet, the top of the mast has a lot of chafe points which would tear up rope halyards right away. I checked it out carefully when I was up there and I have a plan on how to fix it without taking the rig out, but when I get it done, who knows. Anyhow, using wire for the halyards means I have to do Nicro Press swaging to get the shackles attached, and with my hand tool this is a bit of a tough job. I had sore arms by the time I got this done.

Next on the list:
New hydraulic hoses
New water heater
New broiler for the oven
New mast light
and I think I'll buy some new jib and main sheets

That's how I'll keep myself busy in Singapore on the next few trips, in addition to more patching on the #3 if we use it.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Singapore

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

August 25, 2007-Day 3

Western Circuit Regatta, Raffles Marina.

wingssail image-fredrick roswold

I gave this all up once, this hard core racing. We had enough, sold the sails, put on a dodger and wind vane, went cruising, retired, put it behind us. We had little left to prove after 10 years in the Seattle racing scene. No regrets. Move on.

We cruised in the South Pacific for the next ten years, did a few pickup races in places like Tonga, Tahiti, Fiji. Raced quite a few times in Hong Kong, did OK. We had a good time but none of them was a serious attempt at racing, it wasn’t hard core, it was just fun, we didn’t care if we won or lost.

Now we’re in Singapore, and we’re back at it again, starting over, rebuilding. We’ve got new crew, new sails, and we’re relearning skills lost in the intervening 10 years since Seattle.

We are struggling some. Not struggling to race; struggling to win. That’s hard. It always was, but we want to do it, want to win. Racing is about winning, or it is for me.

Now that the Western Circuit, the first real test, is behind us we see that this is going to be tough. We did OK on day 2, on the long windy passage race, but the short courses on the other two days were hard and the light boats smoked us. That and we had some mistakes. It added up to a last place in the standings; not where I want to be.

wingssail image-Judy Jensen

I know about these things: You just keep working at it and one day it all comes together. Maybe King’s Cup; maybe.

The crew?

I love them. They are doing great. They can get the boat through any maneuver, they stay cool, they take orders, they’re having fun. I am sure if you asked any one of them about Western Circuit and the six races, they would say it was great. It was.

But I have my sights set on higher things.

Click here for more images from the Western Circuit Regatta

Click here to go to the event website.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Singapore

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August 19, 2007-Windy Day at Western Circuit

wingssail image-fredrick roswold
Windy and white-out conditions

Three weeks after Day 2 of the Western Circuit I still have vivid images from that race.

The strongest is of power; the power of big sails and big wind. A squall blew through and for nearly an hour the boat was sailing in the 8’s and 9’s as the wind reached the low 30’s. We were powered up.

Wings was driving through the seas, a river sweeping by the hull, white foam rolling along side. The power gripped the rig and the hull and strained the sheets and I could feel the power in my hands on the helm. It was a good feeling to have excess power at my disposal, and the strong, solid feel of the boat was reassuring and gave me confidence. I love how the boat’s reactions to my input quicken at that speed and I love it when I can harness, control, manage, and use that power. I could feel the pressure on the rudder of the flow of the water and the turbulence and the way the boat would respond and swerve to my pull on the tiller; all of this I felt with my body and my hands and in the hairs on the back of my neck and it left an indelible and intoxicating image. After sailing like that you just want more. I love that kind of sailing

wingssail image-fredrick roswold
White Squall

Then there was the visibility. We never noticed that the visibility was blanking out; we were inwardly focused, our world was 43 feet long and a few yards more, just the water directly in front of us and we were set on controlling our wild ride not looking around, but the visibility got bad. In fact there wasn’t any; the conditions were “white out”. Some boats lost their way. It came to us that we were charging along blind, we didn’t know where we were, we couldn’t even see Marambong Island to give us our bearings; it must be time to turn, but where is the mark. Check the computer.

Judy went below and after a few seconds I called to her, “Where is it?”
Her voice came up from the nav station, “Bearing Three Four Zero, ¼ mile”
I looked to the left, a flash of yellow steel wallowing in the waves, washed by the seas; we were nearly past it. “Ok, I got it”.
To the crew: “Standby to jibe.”

The jibe was a bang and a shock as the main, even on the short leash where Omar had ground it in to before I turned, slammed over and hit the stops. And the running backstay was still on, not cleated, but with too many wraps on the winch and it didn’t run out; the mainsail was plastered against it. I yelled and the tail was thrown off the winch and the main flew out. No damage done. The rest of the boat was cleaned up from the jibe and we settled down on the new heading for the run home.

Now ahead in the gloom we could just see Foxy Lady and Panic with their kites up and we could see Lunchcutter who had set their asym and flown past us in a cloud of spray. They were all were having trouble with the spinnakers. Foxy hadn’t jibed and they were headed towards the beach at 10 knots, running out of water. We saw a round up then a round down and then the spinnaker blew through the fore triangle and they were knocked down, beam to the seas. For a few minutes we could see them bareheaded, going the wrong way, just regaining control. I don’t know if something like that happened to Panic, didn’t see it, but suddenly they were bareheaded too, and while we watched Lunchcutter just ahead their kite just disappeared. We hadn’t set our spinnaker and at that point we were glad. We put the jib out on the pole and had an easier time of it than the boats ahead.

The other good memory was the earlier race against the squall on our approach to the turning mark. We were coming in with the ounce-and-a-half up on a tight reach in 15 knots of wind, already walking a fine line, on the edge, but the boat was taking it, the rudder held, the sail was quiet, we’re OK. A mile away from the mark Judy noticed the dark clouds coming in on the left; coming in fast. She voiced concern; a blow was on the way, and we had the biggest sail up, wind abeam, close to overpowered already, not a configuration in which to get caught by a blow; big problems if that happened. I looked at the sky and the dark water and I looked ahead to the mark. Should we drop the kite? There were boats near us, pushing, surfing, maybe gaining. Lunchcutter was just behind and to leeward and coming fast. If we dropped we’d lose to them but if we had the kite up when that wind hit we’d have trouble. I looked at the mark again. Tightness in my chest, nervous, but it was judgment time; time to make the call.

“Let’s hold, I think we can beat it.”

The wind started to build ahead of the squall but it went aft a little and we kept our control. More wind. The mark was 1/4 mile away now, just a minute or two more; the jib was in the feeder, ready to go up, but I held my nerve and we continued on. Nobody on the boat said a word. Everybody’s eyes were glued on the green mark ahead. We were holding our breaths.

We carried the kite right to the mark, dropped as we turned and tacked immediately in one tight maneuver just as the wind came on hard. No room for Lunchcutter inside of us, not even two feet between us and the mark. We forced Lunchcutter to round outside.

Beating The Squall

The wind hit like a hammer. In the blast we reached off toward the Singapore side under number one and full main, flying, Lunchcutter on our hip to windward. I chanced a look back and saw the next boat behind dismasted and dead in the water; a pile of sails and spars and rigging on the deck, the crew looking dazed. Their regatta was over. To leeward boats still on the way to the mark with spinnakers up were having problems: round ups, flagging kites, flagging mains; we could see more dark round bottoms of boats showing then shiny topsides. We were in good shape though, holding a safe angle in the building breeze with only plain sails on a fast jib reach trimming aggressively and holding off Lunchcutter who rode our wake and stayed right there all the way to the next mark.

There the race course turned downwind enough for the kite again, but by then the breeze was over 28 and it was still building. For us the kite was out of the question. Lunchcutter popped their asymmetrical however and they were gone. Nothing we could do.

Later the wind dropped and we could have set but there was a hard rain, the finish was a mile or two off, we were just about home and we were still going 7.5 knots. I delayed, couldn’t make the decision, and even though Marco asked if were still racing I didn’t make the call for the kite. I waited. The rain came harder, in big drops. I had visions of a huge soaked sail down below after the race, and I looked at my sodden crew and I said, “Throw it below”. We sailed in with the jib; it was a costly decision, we were only a few minutes out of second place.

A more costly decision though was on the beat out to Johore early in the race. We were crossing tacks with Foxy and Panic, and after Marambong they went in to the beach and we stayed out for one hitch too many. I didn’t think it was right; Judy didn’t think it was right, but Omar did. It was his job to make the call and he said stay out, so we went with it. But I looked up to weather, to the beach where Foxy and Panic had a lift and more pressure and I would have done anything to be there. We weren’t. On the next tack Panic had us by 5 minutes. Omar was crestfallen. It’s Ok, Omar, we all do it.

We ended up in third, losing to Panic and Lunchcutter, but beating Foxy Lady by 10 seconds on corrected time. At the post race party Peter Forbes told me that we looked under control all day. I guess we were in control, on the outside. Inside, well inside, it was a memorable day.

And it is for days like that I sail.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Singapore

Click here for more images from the Western Circuit Regatta

Click here to go to the event website

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