Monday, October 13, 2008

Cost vs Benefit

This past weekend I sailed at the AYC High Performance Dinghy Open in Rye, NY, finishing 2nd behind Peter Becker and just ahead of Gui Vernieres. Also sailing were Chris Williams, Joe Cummings and Devon (?).

The wind was light, with foiling possible only on the first couple of legs on the first race on Saturday. The second race was definitely a cable disconnected, wand-raised low-riding affair. Sunday was about like Saturday with a little foiling out to the course and before the start only to race in the dropping breeze.

So I started to figure the cost vs. benefit for the experience. The entry fee was $50 and I spent $123.37 in fuel and $98.95 in tolls for the trip up and back (786 miles, round trip.) Towing the trailer added to the toll costs but if the boat was on the roof I'm sure the mileage would have been much worse than the 19.5 mpg that I averaged. In return I got the two days of sailing, a nifty AYC-Heineken embroidered polo shirt, a green Heineken ball cap, a nylon drawstring bag with a zippered compartment, a huge buffet dinner Saturday night and free beer after sailing on Saturday and Sunday. My second place garnered a compass and a 4x6 photo of a foiling moth (it happened to be Peter) in a nicely engraved picture frame. I'm also to be sent a photo cd of the competitors sailing which should include a spectacular shot of me falling out of the boat. Anyway, the $$$ costs expended seem to just outweigh the tangible benefits received.

But the weekend was really about the intangibles. I first of all put to use one lesson learned at Weymouth: if at all possible, never record a lettered score. Both days I could have bailed and gone back in to the waiting keg (as everybody but Peter and I did for at least one of the four races,) but I stayed and finished each race. This included Sunday when my vang broke on the way out to the start. If it was breezy I would have had to go in to manage a repair; as it was I jury-rigged a fix on the water and sailed two races with a barely workable purchase arrangement. More to the point, sailing in the light breeze on Saturday showed that I have good speed in low-riding conditions, even with my klunky mainfoil and my torn upper batten pocket. I lead everyone around the course only losing the gun to Peter at the finish line as I got tangled up with boats in other fleets. I think the relatively higher volume of the Hungry Beaver design had a lot to do with my displacement speed. Also, my years campaigning low-riders back in the day certainly helped me find the elusive boatspeed groove (in, as Bill put it, "a wind of 3 with lulls to 1.")

Over and above the on-the-water happenings were the interactions ashore. Notably, the hospitality of Peter and Adrianne in housing and feeding intinerate mothists was marvelous. I got a soft bed, a hot shower, a hearty breakfast and personalized instruction in making foofoo coffee. Thanks, guys! Even the socializing onshore with the folks in the other classes was enjoyable. The moth generated a lot of comments like "That's the coolest thing around." There were 8o some odd boats at the regattta, including A-cats, 5o5s, Fireballs, ICs, K6s, and Contenders (plus a few other classes that I forgot,) and I'm sure it was the first time most of the competitors had seen a foiler in action. It's too bad that the breeze didn't cooperate for more spectacular sailing.

I hope to make the regatta next year. Peter and I were discussing what it would take to get more participation. Perhaps designating the regatta as the Moth Atlantic Coast Championships?

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