Training up the new racing crew

Day #1

Well it happened. Like all things of this nature it started off so subtle. The boat's working fine but we're not spending as much time with it as I'd like. This stay home mom business is starting to drive me completely batty... How about if I get some friends together train 'em up and do a little racing. You know, not a lot or anything, just sort of dabble in it.

Which is kinda' ridiculous 'cause racing one of these things it typically an absurdly expensive adventure. In the old days we could afford this kind of nonsense, today? No way! I Can barely budget fuel to get to the boat let alone buy parts for the poor thing. Full well realizing this I went to beg permission from Julie. To my utter surprise she agreed. So off we go!

Step one was to recruit some crew and train 'em. To scrape together a crew I pulled out all the stops, x-coworkes, old friends, past crew, Banderlog jet boaters. Come one come all., no experience necessary! Did it work? Here's the results.

Tim and Karl. Tim, on the left, and I used to write code together back in the KLA-Tencor days. Tim's been on a sailboat once. That would be this boat maybe 7 years ago? Tim's probably one of the lightest of the current crew. So he's to help out Foredeck Karl with all the fun that goes on up at the nose of the boat. Middle deck and back up foredeck. Good luck up there Tim! :)

Karl, on the right, and I learned sailboat racing together. He's the only one on this crew, besides myself, that has any racing experience at all. We started crewing together back in 1990? Oh lord its getting to be a long time back now! He crewed a lot on my old boat Fortunate, but very little on No Tomorrows. Soon after buying No Tomorrows we took off cruising and Karl was picked up to be foredeck on Mark Thomas' B/25 Zilla. So Karl has a lot of foredeck experience on smaller boats. Very little on something like this in the 35 foot range. This makes him a tad nervous.

Tim and Karl are setting and and rigging the pole here in the picture. Any of us that knew how to run the chute on this machine have long forgotten how its done. There was a lot of, "No, it goes over that line not under!" and talk of that nature. Fittings were frozen, much WD40 was expended.

Andrew and Andy. Andrew, on the left, was QA for our software department back in the KLA-Tencor days. He can tell a mean sailing story but don't let him get started if he's steering. Andrew has the most sailing class time of all of us. More than all of us put together in fact. He's all gung-ho about sailing. I always wondered why he's not yet bought his own sailboat.

Andy, on the right, went to college with Karl and myself. Well, and a lot of other people that don't show up in this narrative to be honest. Anyway, Andy's sailing experience consist of riding on this boat with Julie and myself from SF Bay to Cabo San Lucas back in 1992. He was a little worried about his experience level. "I donno' Jim Lee, all I did was sit on deck and fish."

Andrew & Andy are cockpit winch grinders. They're back setting up the running rigging, jib sheets, spinnaker lines etc.. And yes, its very confusing having both grinder with the same name.

The weather was pretty close to perfect for a first timers' first time out. Light and somewhat fluky. Here and there under the clouds we'd actually get some good wind. But the tides and currents were some of the biggest I've ever seen out here.

Here's Andy and Tim during one of the quiet spells. Lookin' back wondering what I'm gong to try to get them to do next most likely.

At times like these Andrew, who is in charge of snacks, would break out food and goodies for everyone. Snacks are all fine and dandy but when Karl appeared with a corned beef deli sandwich.. Andy and myself almost tackled him to get at it. I guess deli sandwiches are a popular treat.

When the wind would come up we didn't have a chance to take pictures, 'cause we were practisin'. This is why most of the pictures are between practice sessions in the lulls. Whatever is off to port here is so interesting no one has seemed to notice that I've completely back winded the jib. Or maybe they're being polite?

"Shhh, Jim's screwing up again. Look away and unconcerned"

I Donno'..

One of the questions that I always seem to get, especially when the crew looks up at our sails is, "How long do racing sails last?"

"Maybe a season" I answer.

"Oh" Still looking up, ":So, how old are these?"

"Err, twelve seasons. They are the original sails that came with the boat."

"Oh, and when you went cruising.."

"Yeah, these were the sails we used to go cruising across the Pacific as well."


They aren't brown 'cause they're Kevlar. There just tired beat up, way past their prime Dacron sails. They've pulled this craft to Mexico, South Pacific, Hawaii and home, raced a few seasons as well. Poor tattered things should have been put out to pasture long ago.

On the second hoist the chute ripped, see circle. Look at the corners they're yellowing with age. Karl took the chute home. He thinks his mom may be able to sew it back together. I fear it will be wasted effort but at this point I'll try anything. I have less than nothing to finance this racing season with, so whatever breaks, we do without.

I should start a "Donate to No Tomorrows racing team" deal.

But notice the chute is up! And dry, thank you very much. We were able to raise the chute 3 times gybe maybe 3 times and douse it all without getting anything tangled up or dropping the poor thing in the drink. Pretty good for a first time crew's fist time out.

The problem with crews that have no experience at all is that they don't realize when they've done something above expectation. Really guys, the fact that we didn't loose the poor chute altogether, not even get it wet. Was, to my thinking, really amazing.

That's my ear and back of head. Typically I'm taking the pictures, so I'm not in them. And that's a good thing. Notice we're all lookin' off to port yet again. Odd, were always gazing off that direction.

If you would ever like to sneak up on No Tomorrows I'd guess if you came from the starboard side, none of us would ever notice.

Tim, chute up, sailing along. Gazing off to port..

All in all the practice went off really well. We are going to need plenty more practice 'cause, although we can do the required moves and dance the dance, we are still as slow as molasses doing anything. If there were any wind at all, like 20 or 25 knots we'd be in a world of hurt and completely out of control.

It was also good to see that most of the crew showed up. We're still missing two people Brenda and Zelko. Zelko had an excuse, he's in Europe at the moment and we couldn't fly him in for the practice. Heck, we didn't even know he was in Europe so how could we'd flown him in huh? But Brenda.. The last we heard she'd gone out partying with the Banderlog Jetboat Boys the night before. Where she ended up is anyone's guess.

Brenda? Brenda! Where are you? You going to make it to this next practice?

All for now

-jim lee

Nothing -


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