Sunday, July 29, 2007

Getting ready...

That picture is one of my Formula fins, in the process of cleaning it up after changing it from a +6 rake to a +8. I've been running them tilted forward a bit all season and been happy with the result, so I'm now committing to it by removing the extra bit of base that was sticking out at the back of the box. That should make a wee bit of difference on drag - hey, every 1/100 of a knot counts, right? ;)

Coming up next weekend is the 3-day NRT race (and FE North Americans) in Hood River, followed by the US Nationals in San Francisco Tuesday through Saturday. So the Mackes are going on a family road trip, spending a long weekend in the Gorge, then visiting family in the Bay Area while dad gets to indulge his racing bug. Other than all that fin tuning, I've been spending some time this weekend on other odds and ends, doing a little trailer maintenance, and hunting for camping gear for the weekend in the Gorge.

Can't wait for the flag to drop!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Welcome Bellingham Athletic Club!

Physical fitness is a key factor in improving my performance on the water, aside from being simply a good idea to contribute to overall health and well-being. While I've lived by that for a while, I've decided to focus more on this factor and step it up a few notches. There is only so much time I can realistically spend on the water practicing given the sometimes fickle conditions, the demands of my job, and the time I want to spend with my family. Improving my physical conditioning will help me make the most of that precious time.

I'm excited to be working with the team at Bellingham Athletic Club. BAC is more than just a gym with state of the art equipment - there are two great facilities, a wide spectrum of classes and programs designed to challenge every aspect of fitness, and a staff of experienced fitness professionals to help you make the most of all those resources. I'm looking forward to taking my strength, core, and balance training to a new level, while adding in some fun cross training - starting with some yoga and tai chi.

The club is far from typical for the industry - the emphasis in on helping members enjoy healthy and active lifestyles and experience the joy of movement. You can feel that energy when you interact with the staff, and if you look through the staff bios, you'll notice that there's very little turnover here; it's about long term, sustainable success rather than the latest fad - a philosophy that really strikes a chord with me.

Thanks for the support!

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Gorge Cup that wasn't

While thousands of couples all over the country were tying the knot and gamblers were taking their chances given the supposedly lucky date of 7/7/07, the Gorge Cup was on the receiving end of some not so great luck. Sure, we had racers, raceable conditions (actually, it was stupid windy and had been for days; I got a nice Friday afternoon session as well), a race committee, and a boat. Unfortunately, while setting the course, the committee boat suffered mechanical failure - a 1/4" metal rod in the steering linkage sheared off, leaving the boat with plenty of power but no steering. Oops...

Darren set an anchor and, after it became clear that this couldn't be fixed in place, bobbed around waiting for rescue (see Exhibit A...). Scotia organized a volunteer on a jet ski, hoping to salvage the racing by setting a figure 8 course and guiding the boat into a good spot to set a start/finish line, but despite valiant attempts, the ski operator never got the outside mark set in the crazy conditions (it ended up getting blown way downwind past the tip of the sandbar and had to be retrieved from there).

In the meantime, though, it was pretty furry on the water. Exhibit B in the picture (rather grainy, I know - so much for cell-phone photography) shows you that there were solid caps and 1/2 foot chop on the inside, just off the breakwater at the Event Site - a spot that's usually glassy. Outside, it was windy enough for Dale to be on his jump board and 4.2 Hucker. I borrowed a smaller slalom board from Bruce and got out on my 5.0 holding on for dear life, and later (after it let up just a wee bit) we had really nice powered up slalom sailing.

I got some great speed runs on my 6.0 and 24" slalom board down from the lower Hatchery into the eddy below Wells Island; after one particularly fast one I figured I'd go get my GPS. By the time I got back out, though, the wind on the inside (where the water is flat enough to go fast) had died. I got one peak speed (one second interval) of 37.1 knots, but the rest of the readings were all around 33 knots - which is about as fast as you could go in the channel where the wind was holding. This was similar to the day before, where I also didn't think of getting the GPS out until the conditions had deteriorated a bit.

As bummed as I was about not getting to race, I had some great sailing, so overall I'd call it a successful trip. Thanks to Scotia and Darren and Sam for trying to salvage the racing; they sure tried hard.