Saturday, July 18, 2009

"Ass to the Rail, Balls Over!"

Sailing is an inconsistent sport, especially while racing. One day you're sitting dead in the water & the next things are happening so quickly you can barely think. The last few Wednesdays have been quite tame & then there was Saturday & this past Wednesday. My son was racing with me on Wednesday--the last time before camp starts so I was anxious for him to get out there. I just don't think he was prepared for the intensity. There was a fairly brisk breeze & in the past, under light air, crossing the boat on windward tacks hasn't phased him. He wasn't quite ready for the hiking-out part of life--leaning against the metal lifeline, hanging over the edge. Quite the thrill ride. In other words--get the boat flat--as much weight as possible to get maximum boat speed across the water. Again, I came home with a bunch of bruises all over my legs & a cut on my knee, but it was worth every bump & gash. I think my kid loved it but he needs some time to adjust to the change in wind force--you race a much different type of race from the light air races. Everything in triple-time--like a fast forward button that doesn't pause.

I really am a novice racer & learning this sport has been at times great fun & at others quite terrifying. The unpredictability of the wind & what it can do the the sails, to the lines, to you, well.....things can go very wrong very quickly if everybody isn't on their toes, especially under heavy air. Listening to the horror stories of experienced crew--on the one hand, what NOT to do & on the other--always an opportunity to learn. Even after you've done the right thing. Example: After raising the spinnaker the person in the pit (me, in this case) flakes the line. What this means is essentially coiling it so that when we douse the chute very quickly, there are no knots to foul up the works & cause the spinnaker to catch air or drag in the water--both extremely bad things to have happen. So during one of the douses on Wednesday, even after I'd flaked the line, a knot miraculously appeared and caused the works to grind to a halt. I couldn't get the knot out & felt like a real boob because well, it appeared that I hadn't done my job. When you're new, you just don't want to make stoopid mistakes like that, even if you actually didn' just looks like you did. I think that's one reason I love racing--not the mistakes or the problems, but that you're battling the elements, yourself, & the unpredictability of it all, throw in a bit of danger and... what a fucking thrill ride!

So I was scheduled to race this weekend but instead I'm taking my son down to North Carolina for sailing camp. Four weeks & I really hope he comes back with more experience beyond sailing sunfish. I'd really like him to get competent with Lasers--those he can really race around here. He's too big for Optis. In the morning we will be driving down to Arapahoe. He is so excited--this will be his second year. I am excited because I get a few weeks to just be single again--no responsibilities beyond me, my animals, & my house--I already have a few dates lined up. Then later this month, I hope to sail in the Governor's Cup...

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