Saturday, July 16, 2011

Perfect Crescendo

"Old musicians never die, they just decrescendo."

Not me. Not yet! Today we had a perfect crescendo - of wind on the water.

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A coot was enjoying one of the docks to itself when we arrived at the yacht harbor.


It was another hot day in Ibaraki, with the temperature quickly rising to 32C (90 F) by the time we reached the lake. That's not counting the heat index due to 55% humidity. Uhg! Kimie walked Momo the Wonder Dog this morning at 7:00 AM, but returned saying that earlier would probably be better due to the heat. The lake water was in the eighties on the Fahrenheit scale, offering scant relief.

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R-17 Actus

As we got Bluesette ready to sail, I was very happy to see other boats setting up too - a Cicada (about the size of Bluesette), some Sea Hoppers (Laser impersonators?) and a boat I've only seen on the water twice so far - an R-17 Actus (above). A family of four plus a friend was getting ready to go out on a motor boat. More action than we've seen at the lake in while, and a most welcome sight.

The Actus is a about 16 feet long with a 6 3/4 foot beam and has a dagger board with a 100 kg (220 lbs) weight on it. The designer was Ichiro Yokoyama, who has had a hand in many sailboats and some motorboats (and "others"), including the wave powered Suntory Mermaid II catamaran which, as I reported on Pacific Islander blog, Ken-ichi Horie sailed from Hawaii to Japan in 2008.

Designed as a safe family dinghy, the Actus is exactly what the fellow at Hinuma was looking for, and he named his boat "HAMN", which Kimie discovered is a name made from the initials of the names of the owner, his wife, and two children.

When we launched, the lake looked much as it had a week ago and we were worried that we'd end up whistling for the wind most of the morning. (The other sailor's tradition for conjuring wind - sticking a knife in the mast - is out of the question on Bluesette, due to the aluminum mast.) Happily, it was calm as I mounted the rudder, lowered the centerboard and raised the sails, then just as I finished, a nice 3 to 4 knot breeze presented itself, and we were off!

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Kayak fishermen


We ran across (not literally) three guys with sit on top kayaks fishing with casting reels. After we had been out for thirty minutes or so, they made for shore as the wind started to pick up further.
Soon we had 5 to 6 knots to play with. The Actus and other sailboats came out and at times we "raced" each other - unannounced, but well understood judging by the courses taken. Bluesette acquits herself well against this competition inspite of my ineptitude. This was due to 1) the fellow with the Actus was sailing with main only and has twice the empty weight of the Lido in any case; 2) we generally beat a Sea Hopper/Laser on most tacks any day in winds under 10 knots due (I guess) to sail area; and 3) there were three people aboard the Cicada giving it a weight disadvantage.


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R-17 Actus under sail as other boats launch in the distance


The wind gradually increased to about 8 knots, at which point the waves on the lake start to quest and we start getting wet with spray (especially Kimie). Nice speed though and we slice through the water while hiking out. The breeze was fairly steady for a change.



By the time we started to head back to the dock, the wind was up to around 10 knots. I was starting to feel the dreaded "Tillerman fingers cramp" coming on, and thanks to his posts on the subject was keenly self aware as to what I was doing. I was in fact grasping the main sheet rather tightly, but also, due to the heat had downed some fruit juice and green tea, but felt that the heat was affecting my balance of salts and water. I relaxed on the main sheet a bit and it prevented any full on cramping. My personal conclusion is that it takes a combination of careful technique, physical fitness, and balanced body nutrients to keep muscle cramps at bay. Not being in a race, I had the happy option of calling it a day.

Our docking maneuvers went well, except that Kimie had a bit of a time jumping to the dock. She managed, though I wish she had waited until I had a firm grip of the guy line on the dock which would have made it easier for her. Another minor lesson learned.

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A Sea Hopper comes up behind the Actus on a reach.


After we got Bluesette secured, I went down the dock and grabbed the bowline for the Actus as he came in. He had no other help, other than a small outboard, and appreciated a hand.

Strangley, as if by cue, the wind started to decresendo as we pulled Bluesette out of the water. By the time we washed her down and put her away, the other boats had also come in. I guess everyone was hungry for lunch. We sure were. We got to Mama's well after one.

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After ice water and a salad, I ordered spaghetti with mushrooms and spiced cod roe, and Kimie had spaghetti with asparagus and asari clams (called Manila clams in the USA).

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Frogma has said something to the effect that "you know it's hot when dinner starts with ice cream". Well, we didn't start with it, but our lunch did finish with "fruit punch" ice cream.

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Delicious and oh so welcome. The high today was 95° F with 55% relative humidity. On the heat index, they say that combination "feels like 108°".

Until next, sweet sailing. (and be careful out there in the heat).

6 comments:

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

I never sailed a Lido competitively and sailed Lasers very competitively for a decade or more. Maybe for that reason, I always thought Lasers would kick-A on L-14's. So, I have to conclude you and Kimie are a very competent Lido sailors!

The R-17 Actus with a headsail might be a different kettle of fish.

Martin J Frid said...

"Hamn" is Swedish for "harbour" hence a funny name for a boat! If you see them again, ask if they knew that.

WV: dinathot

Charley Best said...

Ah, spiced Cod Fish Roe, my version comes in a wooden box and is grilled. Is that how you have it prepared? I know, this is about sailing, but you always finish your Posts with a food review.

By the way, we have been having the same heat issue over here, the ocean breeze in the afternoon affords some relief though. Good sailing and eating!

Pandabonium said...

Doc - well, the L 14 does very well vs a Laser in light winds, which is the envelope where we spend our time. Above 10 or 12 knots, a Laser definitely kicks our transom. And I'm sure the Actus would do the same with full sails up in any kind of wind.

Martin - that's too funny. I seriously doubt that H-san is aware of that. I'll have to let him know.

Charley - I haven't got a clue about the peppered cod fish roe (mentaiko). It originated in Korea and is popular in Japan. It probably comes in a plastic container, but maybe some brands are in wood boxes.

We'll be cooling down later in the week, but only because a typhoon is on the way.

kehlwok said...

Our temp right now (in F) was your humidity. We are having the coolest summer since 1954 this year. I rode the bike about 40km today and if I had a choice, I would have a bowl of Kimie's lunch (over and above the largish dinner I've already eaten). Seafood pastas are the new thing for me. ;) [We also had a couple cm of cool, spring rain...though it dried out for the last 15 km]

Pandabonium said...

Kehlwok - a temperature map of the US looks like the whole place is burning up with the exception of the Pacific coast. La Nina is really hanging on this year.

Nice ride you had. I have ridden that far in quite a while.