Titan XV, Chris Museler and tells the story
of a much loved sailor
1250, June 19. Okay, typing
while healed at 20 degrees is getting a bit hard on the leg, but I can
think of worse things to complain about aboard Titan XV. It’s
bright and sunny we are within 15 degrees of the rhumb line and sailing
along at 10.5 knots upwind. The evening played out as predicted and
as our tactician, Peter Isler, explained it.
the first tack after the breeze died around midnight made a big
this morning. It really was like a layup golf shot after shanking it
into the woods. The fleet reeled us in but we were well placed as the
breeze filled in west of the rhumb line. The thin light of the morning
showed Speedboat just abeam within half a mile and Rán,
who was doggedly hanging on our hip all day Saturday, well astern.
most emotional moment of this race so far was when we realized this
morning that Vanquish was right behind us, third in fleet on
elapsed time. One of the boats from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
at Kings Point, she’s sailed by cadets and a bunch of old friends
who have been competing in this race together for a decade.
always fun to see a smaller boat up front but they have a special story.
Billy Riker, the leader of this group – that includes his boyhood
friends, close families from Bermuda where he had lived and worked,
Newport sailors and the KP sailing team –passed away recently after
battling cancer. Up until a few months ago, as his condition worsened
the plan was for him to at least fly down to greet the boys, but that
was not to be. It was an emotional few weeks for this group and seeing
them pushing hard with heavy hearts has been inspiring.
of course, have a lot of inspiration themselves in their friend Billy.
Jim Lucarelli, a childhood sailing friend of Riker’s, told a story
before they pushed off from the dock yesterday. It exemplifies Riker’s
abilities and the impression upon those sailors fortunate enough to
have sailed with and against him.
was sailing in the 1975 Blue Jay Nationals on the Essex River,” said
Lucarelli excitedly. ”He must have been 15 and they were sailing with
three in the boat. In their hotel room the night before, he breaks
out a chart and a tide table and plots the current for the races. The
first race, he’s the only one to go around a little island on the
beat, and he’s way ahead. The next beat the tide is slack, the fleet
goes around the island thinking it’s better, but he sails straight
to the mark and won again. That just shows how brilliant Billy
group has sailed together since the 2000 Bermuda Race and they include
Lucarelli, Jamie Hilton, Russ Lucas, Jeff Leach, and Buddy Rego.
They all said this week that Billy always wanted to be on a “Monday
boat” – one of the faster boats of the fleet. In 2008 they came
within hours of achieving that goal aboard Defiance, another
Kings Point boat. Though this is a light race so far, Vanquish
is nipping at our heels with some tactical inspiration that’s worked
very well already. So this close group of friends may get Billy’s
wish after all and finish on Monday.
way, his shipmates are sure that just being here is an achievement
as Lucarelli said, “His wife told us he’d be pissed if we didn’t
From Star Chaser
(St. David’s Light Division): coming and going wind
Saturday 1200 boat time.
565 nm to go. Boat speed 2.6kt, Speed over ground 3.3kt
has been a very interesting last 24 hours, with about everything that
you could imagine (not quite everything you’d want though!). After
our great start, we had some really good sailing: on the wind, but not
quite on the nose, doing good speeds (high 9s) and generally having
a fantastic time. We had a little try out with the screamer (a
loose luffed colourful and thin sail that we can sail fairly high with)
but quickly concluded it was not what we needed.
Food was what we needed! This
sailing business makes us hungry.
first meal of the race was absolutely wonderful, a fantastic tomato
pasta sauce that had been cooked before the start by Jacques with little
bow tie pasta. Delicious! Dessert was a witty and funny affair: we had
Turtles in honour of Fozzie! When Fozzie was in the ice cream
shop, he got all upset as they were selling turtle cheesecake ice-cream.
It was a yellowish ice-cream with brown blobs in it and poor Foz
assumed the brown blobs were little bits of dead turtle…the cute girl
serving him quickly explained that Turtles are actually a bit of candy:
4 pecan nuts held together with caramel and topped with chocolate.
Obviously the turtle jokes have been abounding ever since. . . .
night went on with sail changes, good winds, no wind, zero boat speed
(Nooooooo!), tiptoeing around the boat so as not to disturb the balance
and speed when we slowly started to get going again. Just before dawn
we got the asym up and did some wicked sailing into the dawn.
Back down just before breakfast
and watch change at 6 because of too little wind and since then we’ve
had the No 2 up again.
wind keeps on coming and going. We came through a few more wind
holes and 60-degree wind shifts, and water temp steadily increasing
and we are well on our way to meet “Eddie.” He’s a nice
guy as long as you stay on the right side of him, we don’t want to
get on his wrong side!
Trucking along nicely now,
with blazing sunshine, flat seas, and great spirits!