Santa Cruz

This weekend, specifically Monday and Tuesday, my biology class and myself drove down to Ventura Harbor where we then proceeded to load two days worth of gear onto a 50 foot catamaran. It was eight thirty in the morning, and the boat would leave the dock at nine. One might wonder why we were loading the gear onto the boat to go somewhere when taking a car seems more reasonable, but our destination as it turns out is inaccessible by car. We were about the make the twenty mile journey across the Santa Barbara Chanel to the island of Santa Cruz. We presented our tickets, and boarded the boat. We cast off promptly at nine, the bow and stern thrusters engaged to push us off the dock, and we slowly backed out of our slip. The boat spun 180 degrees, and proceeded to exit the mouth of the harbor. Once we where out of the harbor, the captain opened up the throttles, and the boat quickly accelerated to a brisk pace of seventeen knots. At that speed, we would reach the island in just over an hour.

We arrived at Santa Cruz at approximately ten fifteen. and we were greeted with massive cliffs and fog. It was by no means a warm welcome, but it was nonetheless beautiful.

After disembarking form the boat and getting all our belongings aboard, we made the mile long hike to our campground. Once we got there, we were instructed to erect our tents, and prepare to go for a hike. So, we did just that, and proceeded to go on our hike. It took us up about three hundred feet on the interior of the island. We then made our way towards the coastline where we were walked only feet from a three hundred foot drop that, even if you landed in the water, would still kill you instantly.

Have you ever been really high up and suddenly had the urge to jump? Me neither, and this was no exception. Walking so close to the cliff over such treacherous ground was truly one of the most terrifying things ever.

All in all, the trip to the islands was a great experience, but I still believe nothing compares to sleeping in my own comfortable bed.

BF-109

This weekend I was stuck at home with nothing to do. I knew I couldn’t spend the whole weekend sitting on the couch watching TV, so I got out my phone and opened up safari. I clicked on the search bar and typed in “What to do when bored”. The page loaded, then I preceded to click on the first link that popped up. It brought me to a list containing ninety six different activities. I started reading, the first one was go for a walk. This interested me, for the beach is only half a block from my house. I could go the beach and walk down the coast a ways towards summerland. But after more consideration, I decided that a walk was not what I needed. I needed something creative to do. I needed to construct something material. Suddenly, I had a thought, I got off the couch, walked towards the front door, and stepped outside. I hopped in my car and drove all the way out to Goleta. There, I pulled into a parking lot off Hollister Avenue and walked through the front door of a hobby shop. I walked down the aisles, and from a shelf I pulled a small box.

It was a balsa wood and tissue paper model plane. A Messerschmitt BF-109 of the Luftwaffe, the german air force in WWII. This plane interested me greatly, for I have always had a great admiration for the design of planes in both world wars. I walked up to the register, and payed for the plane along with a ten second epoxy for putting it together.

As soon as I got home, I gathered all the supplies I would need to put this plane together and headed for a place where I would not be disturbed. I unboxed all the pieces and started organizing. Several hours passed by in the blink of an eye, and before long, everything was completely disorganized again.

Despite the mess, I continued to build. This no doubt is a very good way to pass the time. By the end of the day I had done everything but painted it. The finished product was not perfect, but I was proud of what I did in seven hours.

 

Games

This week, I was feeling somewhat better than last week. My sickness had subsided substantially, however I was still not feeling up to sailing or doing any other physical activities. Because of this, I was growing extremely bored and rather irritable. I decided I needed a distraction, so upon getting home from school on Tuesday, I decided to play a game. Not a video or a computer game, but a real tactile board game. So I walked across my living room and opened an old cabinet where we store games. In the cabinet, I found no more than twenty games. This puzzled me, for I knew that in the past we had many more games than there was in this measly collection.

I scratched my head for a few minutes wondering where all of our games had gone. I suddenly remembered the games were in a closet upstairs, so I went to investigate. When I got to the closet, I found that it was empty. “Empty?” I thought, “how could this be.”

Upon acquiring this information, I recalled that this was the room my cousin had been living in during the time he attended SBCC. When he had moved in, we had to clear out the room to accommodate all his belongings. This included my mothers abundance of knitting yarn, two boxes of my childhood toys(mostly legos), and the board games. I recalled that we had moved them into the storage space under the seating platform in our attic. I made my way up the ladder to the attic and over to the bench. I opened it up and much to my relief, I found all the games that I presumed were missing.

Of the games in there, I selected a few that were personal favorites. I pulled out Monopoly, and Carcassonne. It was not until then that I noticed I was the only one home, so I could not play either of these games as they required more than one player. I pulled out a set of jacks and found a bouncy ball. I walked back downstairs and tossed them on the floor. I sat there for at least an hour and a half playing jacks. I am by no means good at jacks, but I found it a perfect way to pass the time. hopefully next week I will be back to my usual self, and I will start sailing again.

Sick Day

Last week, while I was down in LA for my great uncle’s birthday celebration, I contracted some sort of fever that gave me a sore throat, stuffed up nose, and a series of skull splitting migraines. So the question was what was I supposed to do when I felt like this. The first day I felt sick, I woke up, got out of bed, got a massive head rush and collapsed back onto my bed. I then slowly got up and hobbled over to my bathroom. I turned on the shower and stepped in. The hot water made me feel a little better, and the steam made breathing easier.

Then I made my way down stairs to look for some DayQuil. I walked down the hallway running adjacent to the entryway until I made it to the main downstairs bathroom. I opened the door and then open the door to the medicine cabinet inside the bathroom.

It took me a while to shuffle through all the things before I found what I was looking for. I grabbed the DayQuil and walked over to the kitchen where I poured myself a glass of water and 30ml of DayQuil. I downed the medicine, trying not to focus on the awful taste and then immediately chased it with the water.

The DayQuil made it easier to breath, but did nothing for my soar throat. So I checked the back of the bottle and it said the active ingredient was acetaminophen. This meant it was safe to take Advil since it’s active ingredient is Ibuprofen. I swallowed the Advil and then retired to the downstairs TV room where I proceeded to lie on the couch with my dog. I did not want to go anywhere, so I spent the rest of my day lying half awake on the couch watching Star Trek Voyager.

All in all, there were about a thousand things I would have rather done that day than sit on the couch including going to school. It has been over a full week since I started feeling sick, and even now I am still feeling pretty awful.

PCC’s

Last weekend was the PCC’s(Pacific Coast Championships) for High school sailing. The event was held by Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club in L.A. The event is organized by PCISA and is the overall championships for all the west coast high school teams sailing CFJ’s. We got to the Yacht Club at nine in the morning to get everything done before the first start at eleven. This involved taking our boats off the trailer, stepping the masts, getting registered, and getting our sails from the race officials. Only after all this could we roll our bout down the launch ramp and dip it in the water. I was sailing in Gold fleet B division, so initially we would not be on the water. First our A team would compete in two races, then we would rotate so we could sail and they could have time to rest. During A division’s race, we were encourager to watch by our coach. The more we can learn before hand, the better prepared we would be for the conditions on the course when we got out there.

A CFJ is a two person boat, so each team has four people, two for A division and two for B division. My partner for B division was Paul Harteck.

Paul is an experienced sailer, but specializes in larger boats rather than the CFJ. Nonetheless, we still got out there and proceeded to win our first race. At the start, we came in late at the boat end and tacked off the line. We sent it out to the right side of the course until we got headed. Then we tacked and on our way up to the mark we got consistently lifted until eventually we were laying the mark. The rest of the fleet was forced to sail into the mark on a header, so by the time we got there, we were already in first. We maintained this lead for the next three legs of the race consisting of an upwind and two downwinds before we crossed the finish line fifty yards in front of the second place boat.

We finished our second race and came in to the beach to switch out. All in all, it was a great weekend of sailing with strong breeze and many races. By the time it was over, we were all exhausted. We finished in an overall eighth place out of approximately seventy teams. Not a bad spot to be in at the end of it all.

The night before

Tomorrow, I will be going on a trip to LA for a sailing event at Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club. The event, known as CFJ PCC’s(Pacific Coast Championships), is the last high school regatta of the year for PCISA(Pacific Coast Interscholastic Sailing Association). The top four teams by the end of this weekend will be representing the Pacific Coast at CFJ nationals.

Today however, I need to get prepared for my trip. I would need to pack normal clothes as well as my sailing gear, so I walked out to my car and brought my sailing gear inside to the washer. Then, I walked up too my room and grabbed my hamper full of clothes, brought it to the laundry room, and started the cleaning cycle.

While my clothes were spinning helplessly in a torrent of soapy water, I proceeded to enter my parents closet where the entrance to the basement was. We keep all our travel bags down there along with several other things such as skiing gear, paper bags, and Christmas wrapping paper. It seems like the perfect place for a rat to take up residence. I tried not to think about this however, for I was opening the basement door and about to start my decent down the treacherously steep stairs. The stairs had eight and a half inch treads paired with eight and a half inch risers making for a forty five degree slope. I knew there was a light switch somewhere near the top of the stairs, but I could not find it in the darkness.

I grabbed my duffle bag and carried it back up the stairs, through the closet, up some more stairs, into my room, and finally set it down in my closet. I immediately opened it up and started tossing clothes into it as if I was shoveling dirt into a wheel barrel.

I looked at my packing list and went over what I put in my bag in my head. I decided that I probably overlooked a few things, but it doesn’t matter, so I picked it up and hobbled it out to my car along with the rest of my stuff that I had packed from the other day. I was ready to get some rest, wake up early, and have a successful regatta down in LA.

Perfect Timing

This past weekend I was invited to sail on my friends J105 named “Perfect Timing 2” in a twenty three mile race from Santa Barbara harbor to the oil drilling rigs and back. However, we were only able to get four people on our boat and the wind was blowing at a steady thirty knots. This combined with eight to ten foot seas was a recipe for disaster. So, we decided not to compete in the race. We did still want to go sailing, so we rigged the boat and motored out of the harbor. It was too windy to raise the main, so we dipped below the peer hoping to get in its wind shadow so we could hoist the main.

After we got the main up, we unfurled the jib and put the bow down on a beam reach. At first, there was little swell, but that all began to change the further out to sea we went. The waves got steadily larger as we sailed out, and the wind got stronger. Our boat speed was consistently peaking at sixteen knots and every time a wave came up behind us we would trim in our sails and surf the wave. A few times the bow of the boat would smash into the wave in front of us causing the bow to submerge and water to wash across the deck all the way to the stern where we were sitting. 

We made it three quarters of the way to the rigs before we tacked and headed back to the harbor. The way back was upwind and against the swell, so it was slow and wet. Each wave slapped up against the side of the boat getting everyone soaked. A few times, a wave even managed to clear the rail and break on top of the boat. 

By the time we got back to the harbor, we were soaking wet and exhausted. This was a reminder that sailing can get a little dicey, but it is still possible to get out there and have an amazing time with your friends. I am looking forward to the next time I get to go out in windy and wavy conditions.

What to do with an hour to kill

Yesterday I got off school at twelve forty five. My last class was pre calc, which seemed to go on for days. When school got out, I jumped in my car and drove off towards the harbor. I plugged my phone into my stereo and put my Tom Petty play list on shuffle. By the time I got to the harbor, it was nearly one and sailing practice didn’t start until two thirty. So I got out of my car, opened the trunk, grabbed my sailing gear and skateboard, and went out to lunch.

I ate at a place called On The Alley, though we just call it OTA. It is a small restaurant on an alley at the harbor that has great food and not enough space to accommodate all the people that love it. The food is a little on the pricy side, but that doesn’t stop lines from going out the door. I decided to get the same thing I always get; The Fish and Chips. After getting my food, I rolled over to the SBYC boat yard where I knew there was a new large table with seats and an umbrella where I could eat. In the boat yard, I saw my sailing coach who was loading his laser onto a trailer. He explained that he would be bringing it down to the CISA clinic for chartering. I talked with him for a few more minutes while I ate by the beach.

There was still forty minuets before practice, and the wind had unfortunately shifted from the common westerly to a much more worrying southerly. I headed down to the dock and two other team members were already there. We casually talked as more people showed up. By the time it was two, there were about eight people at the dock. We were talking about sailing and making jokes about our friend who always sails headers. However, we quickly became bored, so we conspired to adjust the shrouds of one of the boats so that when someone took it out, their mast would be leaning a solid five degrees to port.

After this, the wind did not pick up, but nonetheless we went sailing. It was a light and cold day, but the mood was lightened a top 2007 songs playlist that my friend played on his speaker. All in all, it was not a good day for sailing, but I can’t say I didn’t have a little fun.

A fun-ish day at the beach

Today I woke up and looked out my window. I could see the ocean if I just sat up a little in my bed. It was a beautiful morning, the sun was out and the wind was howling. I leaped out of bed and ran to the garage to grab my 2.5 meter kite. I pulled it from a shelf and snatched the pump that went with it. I saw a carve board hanging on a hook on the wall and took that as well. Then, with my arms full, I walked the miserable 100 yards over hot asphalt and sharp pebbles to the beach. I pulled the kite out of it’s bag, unfolded it and pumped it up. Then, I meticulously laid out the strings trying to avoid tangles. Everything was hooked up and I was ready to launch the kite and hop on the carve board to go rocketing down the beach using the power of the wind.

But there was one problem, there was no more wind. The wind gods were toying with me. They teased me with the early morning breeze only to shut it off again. I sat there for hours waiting for the wind. Not even my magical wind dance worked to bring the breeze. So I packed up my kite and feeling disappointed, walked back to my house. When I got back however, the wind started to pick up again and before long, the sea was capping. I quickly grabbed my laser and towed it down to the beach.

I had a bit of trouble getting it down there, but I eventually made it. I rigged it in a record breaking four minutes, and I was ready to push it out into the surf.

I dragged it into the water and quickly hopped in. I trimmed in the sail and accelerated to get through the breaking waves. Just past the breaking waves, everything went south. The block at the end of the boom that holds outhaul snapped. The boom fell off, the sail luffed and I almost capsized to windward. A few seconds later, the rudder popped out and was dragging behind me on a string. So I had no sail, no steerage, and I was just about to drift into the breaking waves zone. I grabbed the outhaul line that had come off the boom and used it to power up the sail. I heeled the boat to windward using my body weight which caused the boat to round down rapidly. I gybed the main and headed back towards the beach using my weight to steer the boat. The boat got caught up in a wave on the way in, and I jumped off the back to avoid getting run over. I swam in and dragged the boat out of the water. I was about 300 yards away from where I started, much to far to drag the boat, so I made some temporary fixes and then pushed it back out into the ocean.

This time, nothing else broke, and I was able to safely sail back to where I launched it from. So, all in all, it was not the best day I’ve had at the beach, but it was a good learning experience, and I am looking forward to the next breezy day.

SD

This past weekend, Myself and four other students drove down to San Diego on Thursday night to take part in the Helly Hansen NOOD (National Offshore One Design) regattas in our boat, a J70 called Cake. We stayed at a house on Harbor view drive in Point Loma just above the San Diego Yacht Club. On Friday morning, we woke up, took our showers and made our self’s eggs and bacon for breakfast. We packed up the car and drove over to Coronado. On our way, we passed over the Coronado bridge where we could see the huge military ships in south Coronado bay where we would be racing. When we arrived at the Coronado Yacht Club, we started rigging our boat, however we did not get far before a competitors meeting was called. They went through the usual stuff, rules, courses, and agenda.

We left the dock at ten thirty as our first race was scheduled for eleven thirty. We cruised up and down the race course adjusting our boat for the wind and sea state. We got everything set up just the way we wanted it. Ten minutes before the first race we were feeling confident. We knew our weeks of practice would give us an advantage on the other boats. Five minutes before the race, we set our clock for a five minute countdown. Three minutes, we were debating where we should start on the line to get us to the favored side of the course. Two minutes, our minds were in race mode and we knew our game plan. At one minute, we were set up forty meters off the line and other boats were setting up as well. Ten seconds and we were ten meters off the line and we trimmed in our main, unfurled our jib and headed towards the line at full speed. At the gun, we were one meter off the line just to be safe so that we weren’t over early.

We sailed for a total of three days coming in tenth overall and first in the youth division. This means we have qualified for High School Keel Boat Nationals in Newport R.I. We packed up our boat, put it on the trailer and headed back home on Sunday night.