August 18, 2001
Olympic Circle Race

The simple story: one boat finished, everyone else sailed the wrong course and got a DNF (Did Not Finish). Here's The-Rest-Of-The-Story

From: Mike Dickson
Sent: Sunday, August 19, 2001 11:25 AM
To: Robinson, James W
Subject: Race

What happened yesterday?

We followed you and everyone past the "A" mark and started to question what course we where racing on after heading toward Angel Island with the fleet. We bit the bullet and went all the way back to the "B" mark hoping that everyone was on the wrong course. Boy that was tough decision to get past the crew. At what point did anyone realize they where on the wrong course?

We will take the win but not exactly the way we would have like to.

From: Robinson, James W
Sent: Monday, August 20, 2001 9:30 AM
To: 'Mike Dickson'
Subject: RE: Race

Hey Mike:

Two versions to your question:

Version 1:
After B we should have gone to H. From H we should have gone to E From E we should have gone to B and then home. At least I think that's where we should have gone.

We blew it and sailed from H to E to A. First we couldn't find H until we sailed way to weather of it. We kept hoping that younger eyes would find it behind us, they'd tack and we'd cover. No one seemed to be able to find it. We finally realized that no mater where it was we were above it, we tacked and sailed to E. On the way to E we passed H to port. That's all good so far....

From E we went to what we thought was B. It wasn't. When we went around A we couldn't break off immediately and go to B or the entire fleet would have seen us, broken off their leg from E to what they thought was B and pulled in front of us. When we saw the last boat, "we thought", go around A it seemed a bit odd for us all to round B as we had a "fair" race with everyone going the same route. We were going to wait to see if they gave us a gun. If they didn't we were going to unwind everything and go back around B.

When we finished and received the gun we sailed home. It wasn't until Tenacious, Blue Streak and Zoop finished that the race committee called me on the radio and asked what leward mark I had gone around. I told them of course it was A. They informed me we were all DNF.

We could protest the race committee for the gun but it just didn't seem sportsmen like in that we had sailed the wrong course. We made our bed, so to speak, and now had to lay in it.

Did you go around E after H or did you go straight to B? If you didn't go around E you can join the rest of your esteemed fleet in the bar. If you passed E after H, congratulations on your win. You deserved it.

For you folks not in the Bay Area. The Olympic circle is an area with yellow buoys spread around it at the various points of the compass. The buoys are the size of your normal kitchen chair (with a low back), and the letters that designate them are the size of your normal head (the one on your shoulders). They are not easy to see if:
1) you're over 50,
2) the wind is blowing over 15 kts,
3) there is chop over 2 ft,
4) you're the owner of an Islander 36 named Pilot.

Version 2:

What race? Martha, the kids and I were out for a pleasant sail on Sat. and all these crazy Islander 36's kept following us. What were you guys doing? We kept trying to get out of your way and you guys kept bothering us.

Was there a race?

You pick which one seems most plausible.....personally I'm selecting Version 2. That's my story and and sticking to it.

From: "Robinson, James W
To: "'Islander Fleet'"
Sent: Monday, August 20, 2001 7:21 AM
Subject: FW: Race

So you're interested in racing in the Islander Fleet in San Francisco Bay Bucko?

Maybe you should read this first. You know, there is a bit of a tradition with our fleet in the Olympic Circle. I'm proud to be the most recent recipient of the "Idiot Award". This has not been a banner year to be a crew on Pilot. My apologies to everyone who thought I had any clue as to what I was doing on Sat. You know, I'm having more and more of these "senior moments".

Congratulations to Mike and crew of Nimbus. All that said, I'm sticking to Version 2.

From: Roger Milligan, Tennacious
To: The Fleet

We were not racing Sat. We just heard there was someone topless on a gray boat named pilot and we were trying to get a good shot (how did we know that the info. was coming from a boat flying the rainbow colors) Jim it's too cold to have your shirt off.

We saw the H but did not have the ----'s to go and not cover Zoop, then when we saw the A mark we again new better. We did not break off and do the correct thing at the a because we could not find it on the water through the glasses thinking we must be wrong and all these pro's have to be correct. What a day on the bay great weekend and all that.

-- Roger Milligan

Dear fleet,

Well, I thought we were supposed to rendezvous with the cruising fleet somewhere off the Berkeley pier so since it looked like there was a whole bunch of I36's crossing between this small yellow can and an anchored sloop, we thought 'well what fun, a parade...' so we just followed everyone else and since you cannot have 2 boats near each other and not have a little competition, I just had to see what we could do. They all sailed around and around and then crossed back between that yellow buoy and that sloop so I did too...

That's my story and I'm sticking to it, though I did notice the '16' pennant on that sloop.

Charles & Kathryn Hodgkins

OK all you terrific sailors. Commodore Gary Salvo, who sailed on Pacific High, told his version of the race at the Marin YC Cruise, where we had great weather, great food, great people and no one got lost or grounded.

Your next challenge (should you choose to accept it) is to show up at the Sequoia YC Cruise over Labor Day to redeem yourselves and get cheered for a great season with lots of boats on the line. I'll send out specific course instructions for those who are navigationally impaired.

Rick Van Mell
Vanishing Animal - who cruised.

Photos by Mike Dickson. Click on images to enlarge, click "Back" to return.

At the starting line. It all starts out normally.
Looking for clean air. Going upwind.
Getting there. Rounding the first mark.
Headed downwind. For the leeward mark.
Bluestreak looking good. A nice ride.
Hang on. Hold that Tiger!
Away we go. Mischief hanging in there.
Pacific High looks good and goes fast. Tenacious is a contender.
Pilot is accused of causing all the trouble! A winner with women and children as crew.
Zoop is a great competitor. Going fast.

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