Wednesday 29 January 2014

A Last Look at Last Year: Cyclone Season

"And bad mistakes, I've made a few..."

     Those of you playing along with the the home game version of the sporadic-but-still relevant Dock Six Chronicles may remember that I became a racer last season.

     So, how did that turn out?

     Surprisingly well.

     Better than it had any right to, in fact.

      On paper, we didn't have a chance.

      Cyclone is a beautiful boat.   She is a great example of the state of C&C's art...

...40 years ago.  She may be the oldest boat in our racing fleet.

    Her sails are original.  They are definitely the oldest sails in the fleet.

   Charitably speaking, Cyclone is...  experienced.

    Her crew, on the other hand?
    .....  not so much.  Some of us had at least a decade of experience under our belts, others had years, I had three months, three decades ago.

     I was definitely the boat's greenhorn...and it often showed.

   We also had the widest age spread of any crew in the fleet to add to our notable statistics. Five decades separated our high- school- freshman bowman from our most experienced retiree winch grinder.

  If this was a Hollywood blockbuster, our season would be summarized in under 2 hours of running time including all of the expected cliches- a crew of oddballs and outcasts work past their initial wariness, bonding over beer, a montage, broken gear, crises of confidence, a crusty mentor,  another montage, climaxing with winning one final race, backed by an orchestral score heavy on strings and timpanies, with a single wailing electric guitar.

   Alas, this isn't "Seabiscuit."  We didn't win it all.

      But, we won enough.

       At the wrap-up banquet, we got to find out how we finished the season, after all the protests were settled and the phrf calculating was done.

       We finished pretty damn well.



JAM Fleet

Sailed: 3, Discards: 0, To count: 3, Rating system: Custom, Entries: 5, Scoring system: Appendix A
1stJAMCYCloneC&C 35 MK111153A.Elkin1391.
2ndJAMWest WindC&C 33-228069L. West1542.
3rdJAMStargazerC&C 27-2 M344150G & C Overmars2053.
4thJAMShaibu IVNonsuch 302810H. Jackson1627.00 DNC4.004.0015.0015.00
5thJAMFlashdancerGorman Express 30481E. Skinner1535.00 DNF6.00 DNF7.00 DNC18.0018.00
(Historical footnote:  The Maytham cup is named for Jack Maytham, a Port Dover  marine engineer/ naval archietect/ boat builder who built the Niagara Falls  tour boat Maid of the Mist 6. )


SPIN Fleet

Sailed: 3, Discards: 0, To count: 3, Rating system: Custom, Entries: 8, Scoring system: Appendix A
RankFleetBoatTypeSail#OwnerRAUG 7AUG 14AUG 21AUG 28TotalNett
1stSPINLegacyJ-3532690S. Hewson722.
2ndSPINCYCloneC&C 35 MK1A.Elkin1293.50 CB4.003.0010.5010.50
3rdSPINRitualJ-3542922J. Vallee721.009.00 DNC1.0011.0011.00
4thSPINAmazing Grace IVBeneteau 36.7080L. Grace783.002.006.0011.0011.00
5thSPINCaliedoscopeCal 31140M. Thomas1624.003.004.0011.0011.00
6thSPINEnigmaC&C 33-174207J & J Parker1505.005.007.0017.0017.00
7thSPINMenaceHobie 3353243J. Morey939.00 DNC6.005.0020.0020.00
8thSPINSpecial KC&C 9955L. Kramer1089.00 DNC9.00 DNC10.00 DNC28.0028.00


SPIN Fleet

Sailed: 5, Discards: 1, To count: 4, Rating system: Custom, Entries: 16, Scoring system: Appendix A
1stSPINCYCloneC&C 35 MK1A.Elkin129(9.00 DNC)
3rdSPINGoldfingersC&C 29-144131L & M Dowds1804.00(5.00)
4thSPINSpecial KC&C 9955L. Kramer108(9.00 DNC)
5thSPINSequenceJ-30A & B Smith1443.006.004.00(7.00)4.5024.5017.50
6thSPINAmazing Grace IVBeneteau 36.7080L. Grace785.003.00(8.00)8.007.0031.0023.00
7thSPINPromiseCS 33 SD3345P. Murray153(9.00 DNC)
8thSPINEerie WitchGoman Express 3074207R. Chivers144(9.00 DNC)
9thSPINUnbridledC&C 309307E.Bilopavlovic1706.009.00(11.00 DNC)9.008.0043.0032.00
10thSPINShaibu IVNonsuch 302810H. Jackson1742.00(12.00 DNC)11.00 DNC12.00 DNC12.00 DNC49.0037.00
11thSPINCaliedoscopeCal 31140M. Thomas1629.00 DNC(12.00 DNC)11.00 DNC12.00 DNC12.00 DNC56.0044.00
11thSPINMenaceHobie 3353243J. Morey939.00 DNC(12.00 DNC)11.00 DNC12.00 DNC12.00 DNC56.0044.00
11thSPINLegacyJ-3532690S. Hewson729.00 DNC(12.00 DNC)11.00 DNC12.00 DNC12.00 DNC56.0044.00
11thSPINRitualJ-3542922J. Vallee729.00 DNC(12.00 DNC)11.00 DNC12.00 DNC12.00 DNC56.0044.00
11thSPINEnigmaC&C 33-174207J & J Parker1509.00 DNC(12.00 DNC)11.00 DNC12.00 DNC12.00 DNC56.0044.00
11thSPINTapestryRedwing 304055N. Fraser & F. Smith1969.00 DNC(12.00 DNC)11.00 DNC12.00 DNC12.00 DNC56.0044.00

       In a fit of utter insanity, skipper Andy invited me back this season.

       I'll be there.

     "Talk the Dock!"


Thursday 9 January 2014

Toronto International Boat Show Time! Two More Sleeps!

"People coming from miles around, they come from everywhere..."
                                                             - Smokey Robinson

   Outside Stately Jones Manor's hallowed and warm(ish) halls, the wind is howling, the snow is blowing, the highways and biways are icy, gritty and salty,  the temperature is below zero, and starting Lady Liberty  is like rolling the dice every morning. This winter has been more wintery than most in recent memory.
    SWMBO and I agree-  we need to (to steal a tag) put some summer in our winter.

    It's Toronto International Boat Show time.

This year, the Seminar Schedule is outstanding.

    We will be storming the castle  this weekend, January 11-12.  The annual Dock Six Gam will be held on Saturday the 11th at the Chart Room at the Westin  Harbour Castle.  Storytelling and civilized sipping commences about 8ish.  Outlandish BS will start about 8:15.
   All are welcome to join us.

Come on down and...

"Talk the Dock"

Wednesday 1 January 2014

Stories From Behind the Beach: Another Crazy Tradition

"You never take advice, someday you'll pay the price..."

Happy New Year!

Some of us spend the first day of a new year recovering from the night before.

Other, more diligent, types take the time to prepare lists of resolutions.

Yet others decide to start the New Year with a refreshing swim.

Most of those people happen to be enjoying the Southern Hemisphere summer, or near the Equator, where the water is warm and the breezes warmer.

But in Port Dover thousands braved the cold to watch a hundred or so braver souls partake in the New Year's Day traditional polar bear dip.

Yep, people will clamber across the ice to slip into the just-above-freezing water.

On purpose.

Some have been doing it every year for over a quarter century.

As a sailor, this is completely anti-instinctual.  My goal is to stay warm and dry and out of the water, not vice versa.  But, I figured I'd check it out, because it is another of our great weird regular events down here.

The 80s were a time for unorthodox traditions to take hold in Port Dover.  Just as riding your motorcycle to town on Friday the 13th has become a longstanding and proud tentpole event for the town, so has the New Year's Day dip.  According to local lore, the dip dates back to 1982, when a handful of hardy souls tokk the plunge to raise funds for the town's arena.  Since then, the event has become an anticipated annual spectacle, with funds raised for a different local cause every year.  Spectators are encouraged to dig into their pockets and toss coins and bills into buckets carried by volunteers working the crowd.

  This year, the air temperature was decidedly brisk:

   -9 Celsius.

  The weather during the past week also added yet another sadistic twist to the Dip.  Ice.

   See, this event is not a simple Start-at-the-edge-of-the-beach-dip-your-toes-in-and-climb-into-a-warm-towel-blanket-car-sauna-whatever  sorta thing.


  Half the adventure is just getting there, because the mentally disturbed participants gather at Knechtels restaurant, behind the beach  at the end of Walker Street.  Then they have to run/walk/slip/slide hundreds of metres through the crowd...

...just  to get to the water's edge.

   The weather warmed up on the weekend and then chilled off quickly, making the normally snow-covered beach ice-covered instead.

  Which made for a very slippery dash indeed.

  Conditions didn't deter the masochists brave swimmers.  About a hundred, of all ages, dove in.


    See the ladder?  More on that in a bit.

Then once you actually get to the water....

 .... It is so shallow you have to wade out  to get deep enough to immerse yourself.

   You can almost hear them, can't you?  "Ohmigodohmigodohmigodohmigodohmigod!!!!"

  For some, simply plunging into freezing (literally) water isn't punishment enough.

  No, for years these two brothers have brought their ladder  so that they can belly-flop.

  Just looking at that picture makes my testicles want to hide behind my liver.

  Dippers started to run into the water at 1 o'clock in the afternoon, and by 1:45 it was all over but the shivering, and a few thousand dollars was raised for the Port Dover Public Library.

  Nobody has ever raised any money writing a resolution list.

  Next year, I might have to step out from behind the camera and do it myself.

   As one shivering blanket-wrapped swimmer said, "Do this on the first day of the year, and it makes whatever happens during the rest of the year easier to handle.

   I've got 364 days to prepare.

   That's about 350 days longer than my resolutions' lifespan.

Who's gonna join me?

"Talk the Dock!"