MOVED !!! The 2017 Huddleston Cup Regatta


ALERTA !!! MOVED TO JUNE 3rd and JUNE 4th !!


Come one, come all to our first race of the season! The Huddleston Cup will be held on SaturdayJUNE 3RD and Sunday JUNE 4th. Please contact Bill Miller – Vice Commodore, if you want to serve on the Committee boat. Skippers Meeting at 10am Saturday and Sunday, with racing starting soon after. Saturday morning will include breakfast. Saturday night we will have a meal for $10. Racing will be $25/boat includes both days.

Caillouet’s Cruising back from the Caribbean

S.V. Escapade

After spending several months in the Caribbean on their boat Escapade, Larry and Diana Caillouet will be sailing home. We will leave Tortola in the British Virgin Islands on May 15 and sail north to Bermuda. After spending a few days there, we will sail on to Newport, Rhode Island, leave the boat there, and then fly home. To follow our progress, go to to open the OCENS Snap Track website. When it opens, you will see a meaningless close up map of the Seattle area. Enter the word Escapade in the blank for name, and set dates as 5/15/2017 to the present date. This will show you our location on the map. When it first opens it may be extremely close up or far out. Zoom out or in as the case may be to see our position in context of the map. To see all the boats sailing in the Salty Dawg Rally, remove Escapade from the name blank and enter SDR in the group blank. We will report our position twice a day until we reach Bermuda and again when we leave for Newport.

In addition to Diana and me, we will have two crew sailing with us, one from New Hampshire and one from Toronto. We will each stand watch for 3 hours and then be off watch for 9 hours. The onwatch person will be at the helm and will usually be the only person up during the night unless weather requires more hands on deck. During daylight hours several of us or perhaps all of us will be up. People have asked me, “Doesn’t it get boring sailing the ocean since the scenery never changes once you are out of sight of land?” No, because that’s not true. The ocean and the sky and the wind change constantly. All require constant monitoring because changes may be needed in the course heading or the set of the sails, but usually they invite monitoring for their beauty. Our shifts will rotate so that everyone will have the opportunity to see the sun set, the moon rise, the stars shine, the dawn break, and the day evolve.

And what about safety? Well, there are plenty of true stories of lives lost at sea, but each day they are far exceeded by lives lost on highways. Escapade is designed for blue water sailing and is loaded with safety equipment such as a life raft and flares and many forms of emergency communication equipment such as VHF, SSB, satellite phone, InReach, and EPIRB. We are safest once we lose sight of the shore–no rocks or reefs to hit, and very few boats to hit or be hit by.

Well, I may have painted the sea as a bit more benign than it actually is or can be, so pray for fair winds and following seas for us.

Safely Sail in Windy Conditions – by Lee Huddleston


By Lee Huddleston

Of course, one way to be safer when the wind is blowing hard is to not go out.  Before you go out, check the weather.  There are numerous aps available for your phone and computer.  Even if the weather is beautiful where you are just before you go out on the Lake, remember the admonition about Barren River Lake, “the only thing consistent is change.”

Even with a good forecast, look before you leap.  The wind in the Yacht Club Cove may be quite pleasant.  While at the same time just outside the Cove it may be blowing “like stink.”   If you look out on the Lake and see a herd of stampeding white horses, they aren’t horses.  They are whitecaps.  And whitecaps form on our Lake when the wind reaches about 12 knots.  That may not seem like a lot of wind, but it is enough to challenge most of our sailors, especially in dinghies.  At the very least, be prepared for a very rapid knock-down the second your bow gets past the protection of the point.

Another way to deal with strong wind is to hoist smaller sails, if you have them.  Of course, that may not be an option for you.  If not, perhaps you can reef your sails.  If so, reef them before you go out.  When you get out on the Lake and find that you can handle the wind without the reefs, you can always shake out the reefs.  It is much easier and safer to shake out reefs than it is to try to reef when you are already struggling to manage your boat.  There is another traditional admonition, “When you first think that it might be a good idea to reef, go ahead and reef.”  Trust your instincts.

On a windy day, a good crew can literally be worth their weights in gold.  But not if you coddle then and let then just go along for the ride.  You have a right to wear them out moving them all around on the boat.  After all, they are movable ballast.  It is a rule that Captain Bligh came up with.  In fairness, you might want to apprise them of this before they sign on.  There is nothing like a mutiny in the middle of a race to throw you off your stride.  On a dinghy normally have them sit as far forward as possible, such as right up against the shrouds, which are convenient since they can hold on to them as they hike way out.  You should slide right up against the crew, which is why you bought and installed that tiller extension.  On cruisers, if they are not performing their tasks such as adjusting a jib sheet at that instant, move them forward along the rail.  Sitting in the cockpit is not a good idea unless they are going to have to go back to work in a few seconds.  Technically, I understand that they can hang their feet over the rail but should not put their upper body outside the lifelines, if there are any (but, really, who is going to call you on that?)

Well, let’s assume that you are out sailing on the Lake when the wind is strong, either because the wind changed or because you are racing and having a blast.  You are able to handle the steady wind, but the periodic bursts are knocking your over and making you round up due to weather helm.  By the way, if you would like to see a prime example of that embarrassing event, watch the video on our Web page with my brother, Philip, and Margaret, my sister-in-law, one more time.  There is a shot where three cruisers appear to be about even with each other while they sail toward the camera.  Suddenly the cruiser in the middle, my own sweet Orion, rounds up, loses control, backwinds the genoa, and spins 360 degrees.  You see, the advice I have been trying to share with you in these articles was earn honestly over many years of sailing and making mistakes.  My role in life, I am afraid, is to be a bad example, “This is what will happen to you if you don’t do such and such.”

Meanwhile, back at being knocked over and rounded up in puffs.  There is a simple thing you can do to help solve this problem if you have a centerboard, keel-centerboard, or swing keel.  Raise or pull in the centerboard (or whatever you have) just a little bit.  The first few inches that you pull or crank in will not significantly reduce the lateral resistance provided by the board.  What it will do is move the majority of the board aft.  Your mainsail and the aft part of your genoa are acting like the tail on a wind vane. When the wind hits them, the vane, your boat, points up toward the source of the wind.  By moving the board aft, you are putting more sail in front of the pivot point and taking some sail from aft of the pivot.  In other words, you are reducing the power of the wind vane effect to a point that you can handle it.

If your boat is not rounding up on you but is still heeling more than you want in puffs, raise the board a little more.  Often sailors think of centerboards is binary terms, either up or down.  You should think in terms of analogue, an infinite number of positions.  If you keep heeling excessively in puffs, you probably are “tripping over your board.”  When the puff hits, it is trying to push your boat sideways across the Lake.  The board, with its lateral resistance, is trying to keep that from happening.  If you raise the board a little more (a little at a time and not all the way up if you want to sail to windward), when the puff hits, the boat will trade a little leeway for staying more upright.  In other words, instead of tipping, the boat will slide a little.  Even when racing, it is sometimes more valuable to stay flatter at the cost of some leeway.

When your boat is hit by a puff and tries to head up, there is a tendency to pull the tiller toward you (with your back to windward, as it should be, especially in strong wind) and just hold on trying to get the bow to go back to leeward.  Often that does not work when the bow has already started swinging to windward.  What is happening is your rudder is stalling.  It is no longer functioning as a rudder.  Water is passing around the rudder, sometimes around both front and back.  Water is not flowing along the sides of the rudder, which is essential to make it function.  It is similar to tires skidding.  Once they start skidding, they are virtually worthless.  With tires, you break the skid by momentarily releasing the brake and then reapplying the brake repeatedly.  With rudders, I call it rowing.  I quickly push the tiller forward to stop the stalling and then bring it back as though I were rowing a boat.  I do this repeatedly until I can get the bow back under control.  I think that the rowing not only breaks the “skid,” I think it actually does row the bow back to leeward.  In the Philip and Margaret film, I had to just sit there like a fool and watch helplessly.  That was before I figured out how to row the rudder.  Since learning it, I have made countless other mistakes but not that one again.  Where are the cameras now?

Maybe you can avoid such an embarrassment.  Be safe and have fun sailing as much as possible.



The Blessing of the Fleet

All mates had a good time Saturday as we came together for the Blessing of the Fleet.. Please follow the link to view some pictures and check out the video.

2017 Blessing Videos and Pix

I did the best I could but had some phone issues and missed Rob Wyatts flag raising and Bill’s speech about Nautical terms, my apologies.

Thanks to all involved who planned this event, gave talks, readied the yard, blessed the boats, and ordered and fixed the food. We have a good start to the 2017 season.


Anchoring on Barren River Lake by Lee Huddleston

If you are sailing on a hot day and decide to go for a swim, do one of two things: leave at least one adult on board while everyone else is swimming, or anchor the boat. If everyone gets into the water without dropping the anchor, you can be surprised at how fast a boat can drift away from you in the calmest wind. Even if you survive, it is quite embarrassing to have to flag down a motorboat to help you chase down your boat.

In some places, the Lake is surprisingly deep. Right off the Yacht Club Cove, at summer pool the Lake is 70 feet deep. The old river channel runs right through that area. Farther out from the Cove the Lake averages 50 feet at summer pool. When travelling between the Peninsula and Mason’s Island with a depth finder, it is fascinating to watch the depth get progressively shallower until it is about 15 to 20 feet. Then suddenly the depth will jump to 65 feet. That was a cliff that overlooked the old river channel.

The point is, the depth can cause problems in anchoring. As you know, “scope” is the ratio of the anchor rode let out to the depth of the water (and the height of your bow above the water). The normal recommended ratio is 7 to one. In other words, 7 feet of rode for every one foot of depth. The reason for that ratio is to make the anchor lie flat along the Lake bed so that when it is pulled it will dig into the bed. With 70 feet of depth or even 50, that scope is not practical. Few of us want to carry 490 or 350 feet of rode. Nor do we want to swing in a huge circle.

So, is it possible to anchor in the middle of the Lake? Yes, it definitely is. On a regular basis I anchor Orion in the middle of the Lake and only use about 100 feet of rode. One reason is that I don’t often anchor in the middle when I anticipate a very strong wind. Another reason is my ground tackle (anchor, chain and rode).

I have anchored Orion more than two times in winds exceeding 60 knots. Once just last year. Many years ago I saw a storm coming over the Dam and got in behind the eastern side of Mason’s Island (toward Bailey’s Point). I put the bow up close to the Island and dropped the anchor into the old river channel. When the wind pushed me back, the anchor dug into the relatively vertical eastern side of the channel. It was exciting (I’ll have to tell you the whole story at a later time). The other time was just last year. Nicole and I were just day-sailing and ignoring the warnings of remnants of a 90 knot storm in Indiana. We came around the southern end of Mason’s Island and there was the big, black, monster coming over the Dam. (Maybe the Dam just generates these storms.) I could see a whole herd of white horses bearing down on us. I told Nicole to go below and hold on. I then headed up and dropped the anchor and fell back on all of my 150 feet or rode. I then quickly got my sails down and secured (barely in time). The wind and rain hit like a full-force fire hose. In the short fetch between the Dam and our location the storm had kicked up waves about 3 feet high. I was proud that the ground tackle held us as if we were glued to the ground. The only problem was that I have needed to replace the port lights in my windows. As a result, we sat there laughing while the rain poured in on us. After the storm it took a lot of patience to get the anchor back on board. It had dug half way to China. I pulled up the rode and snugged it to the bow and then waited for the wave action to slowly work the anchor free. With repeated pulling and snugging the anchor finally broke free. When I tried to pull it up to the boat, it was a gigantic ball of mud, rock, and gravel. But after a few minutes of dunking it I was able to get it clean.

When I first started sailing Orion I purchased a 13 pound high-tensile Danforth anchor from West Marine. It has worked exceptionally well. You will recall that a Danforth anchor has a shank in the middle and triangular “flukes” on each side of the shank. When the anchor is on the bottom the flukes drop down somewhat. As the anchor is pulled by the shank the flukes dig into the bottom. The more the anchor is pulled, the deeper the flukes dig (which is why I got such a huge ball of Lake bottom in the last storm). If the anchor is not lying flat, the flukes can flip up and the anchor will just drag across the bottom. There are many types of anchors (Bruce, claw, Delta, CQR, plow) all of which can work well in the Lake.

Anchors do not hold due to their weight. They hold by digging into the bottom. And they dig into the bottom because of their shape. Accordingly a mushroom anchor or any variation of it is completely worthless. To be held by weight alone you would probably need to get an old engine block.

After the anchor, you need to get a chain to go between the rode and the shank. On Orion I have a 6-foot length of 5/16 inch chain. That is a relatively heavy chain on purpose. A light chain will not accomplish the purpose. And that purpose is to help keep the shank along the bottom when the rode is pulled. The difference between an anchor without a chain and one with a chain is dramatic. Any old rusty chain will do, the longer the better.

When I first started sailing Orion, I wanted to get the best for her. So for my rode I purchased 100 feet of ½ inch braid-on-braid Dacron line. Bad idea. When I sailed with Karl Millen in the Bahamas on his much larger cruiser, the Succubus, I noticed that his rode was smaller than the one I had purchased for Orion. When I asked him about it he pointed out that the breaking strength of his smaller rode was strong enough to lift his boat out of the water. He also pointed out that a smaller, twisted (rather than braid-on-braid), nylon line would stretch and absorb the jerks from waves that can pull an anchor free. So, I purchased 150 feet of twisted, nylon, 3/8 inch line. Since then my anchor has held much better even in the strongest winds.

One more technique that I have used on Orion occasionally and almost every time on the Committee Boat when I am running races can multiply the holding power of your anchor many fold. It is called a “sentinel” or a “kellet.” It is a weight that you run down your rode after you have set your anchor. On the Committee Boat I just use a concrete block. I run a line through the holes in the block and then around the rode. I tie another line on the block and secure the tail to the boat. I then push the block over the bow and slowly lower it with the added line. I lower it until it is about at the depth of the water and then I tie it off. At first the line from the block to the boat will be vertical. The line from the block to the anchor will be horizontal along the bottom. If the wind picks up and the boat tries to move aft, the rode will try to straighten out. To do that it will have to lift the block. As it does so, the force will be transferred to the anchor horizontally along the bottom, digging the anchor in deeper. Plus, due to physics beyond the scope of this article, the force necessary to raise the block is exponentially greater than the mere weight of the block.

I hope this has been useful to you. See you on the Lake.




Heading Up by Lee Huddleston

In last month’s Good Old Boat magazine the editors did a review of the O’Day 25. And, yes, they really did contact me to get my opinions. Most of the comments in the article were fair and accurate. They rated the O’Day pretty highly except for one deficiency according to their experience. They found that the boat they were testing had trouble pointing up into the wind as much as they would have liked. That was definitely contrary to what I told them. I explained that I had been racing my O’Day for over 37 years and winning numerous club races and a few Club Championships and regattas (including my class in the Kentucky 100). One of the factors that enabled me to win those races was the ability to point my O’Day higher than most other cruisers against whom I was sailing. So, it is time to share my secrets with you.

One of the “go fast” items that I added to Orion was an adjustable backstay. Orion is a “mast-head rig,” that is, both the forestay and the backstay go straight to the head of the mast. (Many other designs are fractional rigs, where the forestay only goes about 3/5 of the way up the mast.) With Orion’s mast-head rig, if I tighten the backstay, it tightens the forestay. When you look at Orion you will notice a block and tackle system between the stay and the stern. That allows me to put a lot of pressure on the backstay, which, in turn tightens the forestay “piano wire tight.” Without pressure on the backstay, the forestay will sag and curve to leeward. Sometimes you will want it to be tight and sometimes curved.

When the forestay is tight, the luff of the foresail is like a knife. It makes it possible to point up much closer than you ever have before. There is one warning, however, the “knife blade” is not forgiving. You have to pay attention to the luff at all times. One second you will be doing fine, and the next second you will be headed. But for those with a good attention span, a “knife blade” can put you way ahead.

Why would you ever want a more rounded luff? Sometimes watching the luff like a hawk can wear you out and require more effort than you want to dedicate to beating to windward. Another reason is that a slightly more rounded luff can still point without being so sensitive. There is a wider window where the boat is still sailing. Third, remember that curves equal power. If you are beating to windward against waves or a chop, a slightly rounder luff will help you power through the resistance. And finally, when you round the weather mark and head back down wind you will want the luff as loose as you can get it.

Couldn’t you just tighten the halyard? First of all, the halyard should already be tight enough to eliminate any horizontal wrinkles in the luff but not so tight as to produce vertical wrinkles. Yes, it would help, but most sailors don’t think to tighten and loosen their halyard on different points of sail. And you usually cannot tighten the halyard nearly as much as a backstay adjuster without producing a lot of wrinkles.

What if you have a fractional rig such as a San Juan 21? You are in luck, the rig us designed to tighten the forestay automatically when you beat to windward. The rig is initially set up with the forestay being slightly loose. When the boat heads up to beat to windward, you will naturally bring the boom to the centerline and haul in on the mainsheet. As you pull down on the sail with the sheet, it pulls the top of the mast aft which helps tighten up the forestay (or so they tell me)

What other things can you do to help yourself point higher? Adjust the athwart ship location of the fairlead (I dealt with the fore and aft adjustment in my last article). Also pull the foresail in tighter. Ideally, the foot of the foresail should run along the top of the gunwale. I often see sailors racing with their foresail way out from the boat. When I race Orion and use my working jib, I run the sheets between the shrouds so that when I have it pulled in tight, the sail is much closer to the main. When I use the genoa, the fairlead is all the way aft of the cockpit. I tighten it until the sail “kisses up against” the spreader arm. Just don’t go too far and punch a hole in your sail. I admit that it takes a lot of cranking on my big winches to bring the sail in this far if I haven’t brought it in before getting fully on the new tact.

As with all of my advice, this is just a way to do things; not the way. See you on the Lake. Lee