First race of the series

5speed had an AWESOME day. Weather turned out to be perfect, blowing steady 8-10, we saw gusts later in the day around 12. Linda came back early from Sarasota to helm and did a spectacular job, we had Lenee and Allison in the cockpit ~ boy could those girls grind! Laurie and Deb were middle, Laurie is getting really good at keeping all the lines straight and taking direction from 4 people at the same time. Deb was scampering all over the boat to get where she was needed, taking down the gibe ~ hauling in the kite, she could do it all! The Cherolyn crew was on the front gybing and jumping.
Boy Toy Tommy was looking good (alas not in chaps) and flaunting his manliness to any passing boats loaded with men that he is sporting the 'Tommy girls'.
We had two lead changes in the first race and were closing in again as we crossed the line to finish about a boat length behind. We had a great downwind run, gybing the kite 3 times, giving us a great shot in the arm of confidence with that maneuver.
We only had one lead change in the second race (us passing Mouse) and we held onto that to the finish. Lots of jumping and cheering and chanting "go Linda, go Linda."


Turning it around

Just finished a great practice with the new crew... Great day but lots of wind. Too much to set the kite. But we had a great 'mock gybe session' at the dock for the new crew members after we got back into the dock. This was the first time I have ever tried something like this (we usually go out and get knocked down) but the new crew said it was 'enlightening'. We could take it slow and get the posititions responsibilities down. We will let you know how it goes ~ we have our first race this Sunday with the new crew.


Change is good! Winnie, you will be missed ~ just as Sherry is. But Sherry leaving has made me a much more versital sailor ~ I have learned that I can call the tactics and fix most problems that arise anywhere on the boat, not just on the foredeck. We have been in a pickle almost every race since she left. The crew will come together again ~ we are starting to get a strong center. I LOVE racing, but have priorities strait. Crew safety first, boat coming home in one piece second and winning.... Priceless! Congratulations Rochele! and Mouse ~ what a great way to enter your 4th decade on the planet! Keep looking over your shoulder baby, 5speed is not far behind.
Oh yeah! Windy 3rd race in the Mermaid Regatta ~ 5speed got knocked down twice. We came in a close 2nd on the first race, Won the second and had 'problems' on the 3rd. But we finished with everyone we started with (barely, newby Denise learned how to hang on while sucking up water quickly) and there was no blood on the deck. I do think there was a cocktail spill while stowing the boat but it was quickly cleaned up.

My choice

Yep, I edited this post. It was too long and boring. This space should be filled with race results and fun times on the boat. Basically, I am not racing any more to get my personal life under control. I think the migraine thing may be licked, but we'll see. I am still looking forward to working and sailing on Oriyo. I'm leaving in the section that thanks certain people, they deserve recognition.

There are specific people that deserve recognition for all they contributed to my sailing life. The first is my Dad for teaching me what a sheet was and to never use the word 'rope'. He was my original cockpit teacher on the cold waters of Lake Huron. His teaching saved me a lot of embarrassment when I started sailing down here. Next is Sherry (Beckett) McCampbell. It was the first time I sailed with her to deliver Fast Lane back home after a PCYC race that she let me take the helm for awhile. She hadn't even met me before, but trusted me with handling her boat. The knowledge I gained from racing with her is priceless. Jim Yates let us switch over to Bad Penny when Sherry left and supported us physically, spiritually, and logistically. His after-the-race-around-the-pool discussions were great learning experiences, and fun to boot. I will especially remember the on-the-job lesson on how to sail in 25-30 knots with gusts to 35 - fast! Gary Smith was a gem to let us sail Five Speed as we tried to resolve some crew issues. He spent as much time with us as we needed to familiarize us with the boat, and provided us with Mike the Angel in the Mermaid to help us out. The bottom is always clean, the gas tank is always full, and we always have the sails we need waiting for us on board. We've endured 3 CF's in as many races with Five Speed and he still seems to like us. Saving the best for last, Cheryl Schmitz was a strong support for me when I became worried about rebuilding the crew and all the issues that go along with being a green helmswoman. She has a big job ahead of her now to get a regular crew together and re-create the synergy that the old crew had.

I will miss interacting with everyone on a regular basis. I will miss the women and the downwind spinnaker runs most of all. My wish for everyone is that you have great happiness in life. Have fun, and put your ass in it!


It has been a busy summer. Sailingfemmes have taken a bit of a split, one of the gals bought a trimaran and recruited some of the crew and then we have had yet another vessel switch. We are now the girls of 5speed (same style boat, a Lindenburg 28) ~ or some of us are so the website should get interesting from here! Now we will be battling on the water and on the website. It will be great because now we can take pictures of each other and post them, but remember skippers ~ eyes on the road!


PCYC Mermaid Regatta

Well, we did it again - we won the PCYC Mermaid and took first in the ECSA Spring Series. And I mean 'we'. While my starts left a lot to be desired, the crew worked hard to make sure Bad Penny went as fast as she could to catch up with the fleet in both races. It was nice to cross the line first both times, even though Sneaker beat us on corrected time in the first race.

There were some thrilling moments. Watching the beach get closer and closer while we were trying to gybe the chute was certainly thrilling, but at least we know now to loosen the downhaul. The last mark rounding in the first race was a testament in courage with Mouse caught on the mark and Sneaker close on our starboard. It was nice to have overlap for room at the mark, which included Mouse.

I experienced my first round-up at the helm when we launched around the wing-mark in the triangle in the second race, and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The crew reacted with calm resolve to hoist the jib and drop the chute quickly. The downwind in the windward / leeward leg was quite enjoyable. One thing Sherry didn't prepare me for was how much the swells and wind waves on the ocean affect boat heading. I've been on several ocean races as crew, but never noticed how hard she must have worked against the waves to keep the boat straight. My arms were dead the next day.

It was a great experience sailing with such dedicated and talented women sailors. Like I said in an email to the crew, it's easy to steer the boat when the crew knows how to set the sails. I know it's traditional to recognize the skipper in these situations, but the crew deserves more recognition than me.

I don't have any great pictures of us under sail, just a few of us delivering the boat up to PCYC. If anyone has one, please post them to this site or send them to me and I'll post them. I hope everyone enjoys the break and stays safe.


12 May Race - Barnacle Brains

After editing two newsletters and beginning an online traffic course so I don't get points on my license for running a red light on Easter Sunday (it had *just* turned red), I'm finally getting around to writing about our race on May 12. Sorry it's taken so long, I hope I can remember details - perhaps the crew can help me out?

Nancy had a great description for the day: "Keystone Cops go Sailing." For the first time in my short skipper career, we had a nice breeze of 5-10 knots out of the northeast instead of the usual 15 - 20. It was our first time out without our expert ex-skipper Sherry, but I thought we had it in the bag with the nice wind, experienced crew, and my trusty male observer and life companion Ralph on board to guide us along.

We decided to practice a spinnaker launch and a few jibes to get the bugs out of our system before the race. Jim motored over to inform us that the B-mark was gone and we were to use the Manatee zone sign that was parallel to shore, not the one perpendicular to shore. Being curious, we decided to round 102, launch the chute, and head down there to check it out. After a few jibes, our new crew member, Laurie McTavish, said "Hey Winnie - it's a quarter to one". We were all the way across the river from the start and had to drop the chute and run over there, and with relatively light winds we were concerned. It turned out that Sneaker was in the same position, so the race committee waited. We would soon find out that all of us were a little 'barnacle-brained' after not racing for two months.

There was nothing remarkable about the start. I attempted the 1-2-3 sequence and it worked fairly well except that I was too early and had to slow the boat before the start. I'll work on that. After that, things get fuzzy. I remember tacking way before the cockpit crew was ready and losing several boat lengths. After that bad decision, I think my mind stopped recording so I would not have any bad memories. Ralph was oddly silent during most of the race, offering advice only when we asked. I think he was operating on the principle that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything. When the day was over, he said he had holes in his tongue from biting it so hard.

I think we did okay on the first downwind run. Usually, our mark roundings and wind directions have us launching the chute on port with a starboard pole, which puts us in a pretty good position without having to jibe quickly. In my last 6 years of racing with the crew, jibe-sets have been necessary two, maybe three, times a year. On May 12, every rounding required a jibe-set. Cheryl is one of the best bow-women around, but she does not like to do jibe-sets on Bad Penny because the pole is longer than on Fast Lane. Perhaps she can comment on this more since I have nil experience on foredeck. Anyway, our modus operandi was to launch normally, get everything set, then jibe. I suppose it did hurt our time, but not as much as the other foibles done by me and everyone else. It was an equal-opportunity screw-up day. I think we did the sideways spinnaker on the second downwind - by then we were just laughing at ourselves. No one got a picture of our sideways set, but apparently everyone else was having their own set of problems. Mouse, Sneaker, and we all crossed the finish line within a minute or two of each other and in that order. Sleighride came in shortly thereafter and blew us all out of the water on corrected time. We were dead last.

The second race was much better. Either we shook off all the barnacles and did really well, or we just made fewer mistakes than everyone else. I was still too early on the start and had to bleed off energy, and we had the jibe-set issue. Mouse got out ahead of us again, but the tide turned at the rounding of the first downwind mark - the parallel Manatee zone sign. I remember this well because I actually made a good decision. We got there the same time as Mouse and they were overlapped on the inside, so we gave them room. They rounded first, but our bow was right at their transom. Common racing knowledge said that we had to get above them, which is what Ralph and others on crew were telling me to do. However, to do that, I had to pinch like a maniac and lose speed. I decided to do what the telltales were telling me and fall off. Apparently we squirted past Mouse and got the lead in short order. We rounded the windward mark ahead of them and had a stupendous chute launch and run. Dick Tillman was on his sail-board by the Manatee sign as we rounded and said "Nice rounding". What a nice compliment from such a legend! We came in spot-on first physically and in corrected time.

Our next race is on the ocean on June 16, and we decided not to have a male observer this time. I don't think poor Ralph's tongue could take it again.