March 15, 2003
Spring Meeting
San Francisco Yacht Club

(If you like, you can skip down through the prose and go straight to the pictures below!)

A rousing 58 people, representing 35 boats packed the San Francisco Yacht Club's Cove House for a delightful Spring Meeting. Friday's blustery wind and rain, and the forecast for more of the same Saturday morning reduced the dockside fleet to only 2 boats on Friday night, and only 7 on Saturday, not counting the two more in residence at SFYC. Mother Nature took pity on us though, and the front raced through about 0400, rattling Woodbine and Blockbuster at the dock and dousing them in a firehose of water. Bill Higdon, on Blockbuster, reported finding a few eaks in inconvenient places! But by 0800 the cumulus cotton balls in the colder air started thinning out, letting in abundant sunshine in time for Kindred Spirits, Vivace (soon to be Eunice Ann), Silver Shadow, Solace and Mustang to arrival before the start of the Race Clinic at 1000.

Race Captain Mike Dickson kicked off the Race Clinic with a review of the qualifications for racing: 1) get an I-36 one-design measurement certificate from Measurer Paul Tara; 2) sign up with YRA as a one-design racer (which includes needing a PHRF certificate); 3) be a member in good standing with the I-36 Association; and 4) be a member of a yacht club. Mike requested that we set up a mechanism on our web site for members who are thinking about getting into racing to volunteer as crew on the boats that are racing so they can experience first-hand the fun of racing. There are about 16 boats interested in racing, and 8 have already signed up with YRA.

Don Schumacher then took over and gave a multi-media show about currents on San Francisco and San Pablo Bays. He used Nobletec's Visual Navigation suite running on a laptop connected to a projector for large screen viewing and discussed strategy for the first race of the season, the Vallejo Race. Using Nobeltec's current arrows and setting the date to race day - May 3rd - he pointed out how the first, short beat would be into a building flood tide, then outlined the options of a straighter, shorter course across San Pablo Bay in lighter current, or a longer course, out by the ship channel, in stronger current. Nudging the date to Sunday, he walked the 35 folks packed into the Commodores Room through the challenges of avoiding those same current on the return race - without going aground. He pointed out that it was often easier to talk the talk than to walk it - having run aground himself a time or two.

Don also used his course from last year's 2nd Half Opener which fought a flood current out to Point Bonita, outside the Golden Gate, to illustrate the eddies and options around such familiar landmarks as Alcatraz, Angel Island, Racoon Straits, Yellow Bluff, and the North and South Towers (of the Golden Gate Bridge). There a several pictures below which give you a feel for the ground he covered. All hands gave Don a rousing thanks for sharing his knowledge in such a fun way.

Measurer Paul Tara (and current fleet champion) then took over and doubly emphasized that the secret to racing on the bay was ALWAYS to know what the current was doing, and particularly for each skipper to put in the time to plan his options well before each race day. Before getting into the Measurement details, he mentioned a light, strong fiberglass-epoxy material that was perfect for backing plates and strengthening uses. It comes in 6" & 8" circles, 3"x4" and 4"x6" rectangles, and 1.25" x 24" & 36" strips from Waterat Sailing Equipment in Santa Cruz, P.O. Box 2790, 831-462-5745. He then went on to outline the Measurement Certificate process - which has always been in our Bylaws, but had not been enforced for over ten years. Then the whole crowd moved down to the dock to watch Mustang get measured - and pass with flying colors.

By then it was time for the meeting, so we all adjourned to the Cove House, found beverages, and filled the tables for a tasty salmon lunch, with fruit tart for desert. Tom List, from List Marine was our speaker and covered the history of the five major engines in the Islander, including the Palmer and Universal Atomic 4 gasoline engines, and the Perkins, Westerbeke and Pathfinder diesels. He noted that the first Pathfinders were gasoline and then converted to diesel, and in the process there were three different ways the cooling water was handled - and not too well in the first two. Pathfinders also start much better with glowplugs. In case you didn't know it, the Pathfinder is a marine version of the VW Beetle engine. Today his company is both a Perkins and a Yanmar dealer, but Yanmar is his first choice as being a more modern design. He noted, however, that he had never seen a Perkins "wear out" - the problems were always with ancillary system failures, neglect and damage.

Tom then answered dozens of questions ranging from water temperature and exhaust systems, to prop size, pitch and transmissions. There is no single answer given the range of engines and props, and generally the result seems to be that many engines run at a lower RPM that the design ideal of 80% of rated horsepower. That will increase both the temperatue and soot and back pressure in the exhause system, eventually leading to more maintenance. In all, it was a very educational program.

We adjourned about 1500, and everyone was looking forward to the Encinal Cruise and the Vallejo Race as the 2003 season begins to unfold.

Pictures are compliments of Ron Damsen, Bill Higdon, Barb Henderson and Rick Van Mell. Click on images to enlarge, click "Back" to return.

Treasurer Ron & Karen Damsen's Woodbine, and Bill Higdon's Blockbuster are the only arrivals on a blustery Friday night. Bill Higdon found a nice way to stay below and out of the rain.
Jack Thompson (F36 Noncents) was Bill's crew and joined in a toast to foul weather! Karen Damsen shows off the beuatiful Friday morning weather!
Schatze supervises Al & Nancy Farnum tying up Silver Shadow. Silver Shadow with weather cloths and cockpit bimini rigged.
Nice new canvass on Vivace (soon to be Eunice Ann). Across Woodbine, some serious discuss'n gets started.
More Discuss'n. Enough discuss'n, let's go to the Race Clinic.
Race Captain Mike Dickson gets the meeting started. Just part of the crowd of 35 at the Race Clinic.
More of the crowd and some mugs from last season. The computer and projector setup.
Don Schumacher sets up to talk currents & strategy. Robert Aston & Mary Gleim get front row seats for the show.
Don Schumacher, (Blue Streak) is a master on Bay tactics! The zig-zag course out against the current, and bee-line back.
Vallejo Race starting area off Angel Island. The San Pablo Bay to Mare Island part of the course.
Measurer Paul Tara notes presence of required gear. Joseph Krensavage demonstrates Mustang's emergency tiller.
Putting the "Black Band" on the boom. This "Black Band" is white!
Crew members gets ride aloft to mark mast band. Measurer Paul Tara holds the tape and yells, "Mark."
Meanwhile, over at the Cove House, it's Harry, Judy, Charles, Ron, Gary, Pat, Betsy, Peter & Art who are ready for Attitude Adjustment. Also ready are Karen, Kathryn, Jim, Laurie & Dennis.
Bill (Blockbuster) Higdon is 80 and still going strong! Ron Damsen promotes burgees to Travis Huff and Fred & Karen Loeser (Truckee).
Walt Levison (Sultana) listens to Betsy Fowler (Zenith). Then Betsy & Art settle down with Lou & Diane Zevanov (Diana).
Hank & Pati Williams with young crew Charlie (Night Train) Trevor & dad David Morton (Vivace - soon to be Eunice Ann).
Nancy & Skipper Wall (Snowflower) with Fred Freund (Orion). Arnie & Louise Gallegos (Mi Amor) chat with Commodore Henderson.
"Lunch time!" say Robert Aston & Mary Gleim. Also finding seats are John Melton (Freedom Won), Arnie & Louise Gallegos (Mi Amor), and Rich Shoenhair (Windwalker).
Travis Huff & Kathie van Thillo (Love It) Debby Cohen (Four Cs), Tom Furlong (Vitesse), Steve Murphy & Kurt Smith (Luna Sea)
Don Schumacher (Blue Streak), Gary & Pat Salvo ( Ophira), Judy & Dennis Bush (Natural High) (all past Commodores by the way!) Race Chair team Daphne & Mike Dickson (Nimbus) with John Melton (Freedom Won)
Karen Damsen in foreground, Nancy & Al Farnum (Silver Shadow), Harry Farrell (Pacific HIgh) and Nancy & Skipper Wall ( Snowflower) in background. Webmaster Rick Van Mell (Vanishing Animal) checks his camera.
Barb Henderson and Kathryn Hodgkins puzzle over who's missing. Treasurer Ron Damsen tells us the piggy bank is in good shape.
Membership Chairman Skipper Wall delights in saying membership is also in fine shape - over 190 if the rest of last year's members pay their dues! Guest Speaker Tom List told us how to keep those engines running.

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