So, the water is dropping perilously low in our lake. But that in a bit. Back to the race...So my last sail last week, I was swept into a race I thought was going to be a delightful little sail around an island with burgers and wine tasting at the clubhouse, and turned out to be a rather highly competitive 3 hour afternoon torturous experience in less than 3 knots of wind that concluded with 15 knots, gusting to 20 with daylight fading and an outboard motor run out of gas...back to that in a bit too...
So I took BaggyWrinkles out into her last sail for a while the other day with about 30 other vessels, most all of which were larger than her. The largest was 34 feet in length. It was a race sponsored by a sailing association on the lake. Being that I've only competed in about 3 races in my entire sailing experience, I was certain I would not fare too well in the standings. I also knew these sort of events caused my blood to boil. Some sailors love to hold the knife in their teeth and take these events seriously while others lollygag their way around the course drinking beers and dangling their legs leeward avoiding seasickness. I am somewhere in between these metaphors.
I recall the last time I volunteered to join one of these expeditions was in the British Virgin Islands aboard my 47 foot Beneteau cruising yacht with our crew of 6 and winds of 3 to 5 knots (barely). Torture. And yet we manged to make it from Cane Garden Bay to the finish line near Norman Island ( and the infamous Willy-T's Bar aboard this old hulk of a ship where the established routine involves jumping into the water from a perch some 20 feet up, below you see some rather large fish, the size of human beings swimming below awaiting pieces of hamburger...and if you wait until later, word has it that if you jump in the altogether, you get a free t-shirt, and you can imagine the rest of how that evening wears on with all sorts of nearly legal teens on the bar and old men, well ok ... ) needless to say, we were the 3rd vessel across the finish line following two large catamarans. Yet we were not accorded our 3rd place as the 1st monohull across the line because that had to be given to a grandson and his grandparents aboard a 30 something foot sloop, handicapped of course so that all our efforts to blow on the mainsail were fruitless torture. Torture in the BVI. Crew was sour and I was furious.
So I realized I was going to be tortured again. I was thinking, it was a good thing the First Mate was not aboard for this adventure because not only was I periodically ridiculing my involvement in such a fiasco, but was doing this out-loud with a sneer every few minutes that drifted into an anxious groan toward the last mile of barely drifting toward an orange tetrahedral I'd rather have shot with a flare than passed to the hardly interested Committee boat gazing at this classic, less than long enough boat which neither belonged in the South nor looked like it was anything that ought to be racing!
Just a week prior to this I had volunteered to serve on another racing committee to place the tetrahedral markers for a Flying Scots' race. However, it was fine for me to watch those rather gossamer adorned little boats skate across what looked like a glassy lake. I did not have to race, nor did I have to be tortured that day. This time, I was being watched, tortured, and for little more than to arrive at the finish line and promptly be met with 15 knots of wind!
I couldn't have been more delighted with the arrival of some sturdy weather, yet my inner scorn of racing was now bronzed-up rather well as the Dory leaned over and I let her run where she wanted to run. The sky had suddenly gone from dark grey to boiling grey and the lake began to furrow its brow and dare me to make headway. At least I was free of the race, and my next to last place finish.
But now I must get back to the water issue...