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Saturday, August 05, 2017

August 5, 2017-Note to Our Crew

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Racing season seems a long way off in August but maybe it’s not too early for us to touch base with our racing crew.

It seems like we all split up very quickly when the racing was over in March. Judy and I converted Wings back to a cruising boat and headed south to Mexico’s Gold Coast for a few months of cruising. Some of you turned your attentions back towards your own boats after several months of helping Judy and I look after Wings. Others of you headed north to cooler climes or went on vacations to other exotic destinations besides Mexico. In short, we’ve all gone our separate ways.

But the seasons continue to turn. Before we know it sailing season in Banderas Bay will be back upon us.

We thought you’d like to know what things we are doing to be ready for this next year.

In the first place you know I promised that I was going to do something to make Wings faster every year. So what have I got up my sleeve for this season you ask?

For one thing, I think we will have a new main. After the delaminating problems we had with our racing main last year I’ve been working with China Sail Factory about how to address that issue. They agreed it was a warranty issue but they determined that the sail couldn’t be fixed. The only solution then is a new sail. We agreed, but coming together to this point of agreement has taken several months. Now I have designed a new main and I have hopes it will be faster than the last one, which was no slouch. It’s not built yet and its delivery is still months away but it seems like it will happen and we are planning on having it long before we start racing again.

Another change, with less obviously tangible benefits perhaps, is a new navigation and tactical package. This is a tablet computer with specialized software for use on deck. Ruggedized tablets with daylight viewable screens, tied into the boat’s instruments, are common on high-end raceboats. We have come up with a low cost solution that should give us access to this technology. There is still work to be done on this project, but we have time.

On the other side of the coin, it appears that the ratings game is still being played and at first glance it seemed like the changes being talked about would hurt us (we might lose our cruising adjustments, which could result in a faster rating; not good). Nothing is set in concrete, however, if it happens we’ll be ready. If we no longer get an adjustment for all of our liveaboard and cruising stuff we would have no reason to sail with all of it. So, Wings may go on a diet. If we can take off 1000lbs it would go a long way to compensate for the faster rating.

And then there is the crew. Judy and I know that people have lives of their own and maybe not everyone will be back this year. If there are changes that have to be made we will focus on finding the best possible replacements. How that will work out we don’t know, but we will remain positive.

One crew issue for which we do have a plan is already being addressed. Judy and I have decided that we will be better crew members ourselves if we become more fit. It was painfully obvious when we got back from our cruise in June that our fitness level was way down; we couldn’t do anything that required strength or flexibility, so we hit the gym. Since the beginning of June we have been in the gym three days a week doing strenuous workouts. Our fitness levels have been coming up, and by the way, we feel great. If you watched the America’s Cup on TV this summer you would have seen that the top sailors keep fit and spend a lot of time in the gym. So if any of you have been thinking about doing more fitness training (other than those of you who are top specimens already) we encourage it (there is nothing like a reformed sinner, right?)

So that’s it: new sail, new navigation equipment, new ratings, and new bodies. Any other ideas you have would be welcome.

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See you in November.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings

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