(J-24s racing as we sail home with the spinnaker)
So I just finished another race today--the Hospice Cup. I was on the Beneteau First that I raced on in the spring & early summer. The skipper goes away with his wife up to Maine for the summer to cruise on their other boat--50 feet & then come back to race in the fall series races. Today was just a practice for those of us that he's chosen to be regular crew for the fall. I'm pretty happy about that because most of the rest of his crew have some affiliation with the Navy sailing teams & again I have an amazing opportunity to learn. It was a great race with 20 knot winds--I was back in the pit but I was grinder for the chute so I had to be able to anticipate what the guy on the chute would need--I must admit--I did quite well--our jibes were very smooth & synchronized--we didn't lose much speed--and the skipper kept telling us how well we did. I am a bit battered--bruises up & down my legs & arms & I re-opened a gash I received that I thought had healed from way back in August--but I am proud of my war wounds.
It looks like most of October will be taken up with racing on the weekends--I am so not complaining. My parents on the other hand, are. They told me that I'm obsessed & have been focusing too heavily on racing to the exclusion of all else--this coming from lifelong sailors! They should at least get it...but then again they enjoy push-button sailing these days. I don't think they've raced in over 20 years--since by grandfather was still racing. Push-button sailing is--push a button, out comes the mainsail. Push a button & unfurl the genoa. Bleh! From the other side of my mom's mouth are statements like, "I really admire you getting out there & racing without knowing anyone or what the boats are like. I would be scared to put myself out there." So which is it? Admiration or condemnation????
I do admit that there is some obsessive behavior but I have this drive in me to get out on the water, sailing as much as I can. I just love the thrill of the race, the way things can go wrong at the drop of a hat--case in point--foredeck screwed up today & managed to wrap the chute around the headstay--we had to douse & re-set the spinnaker costing precious moments. I love that we all know what to do & move in a kind of synchronization that is cool to see--crossing the deck on the windward tacks. I love watching other boats tack & seeing the crew dive for the rail as quickly as they can. It can be hard work--my shoulders are killing me, but I wouldn't trade it.
Which brings me to a source of puzzlement. A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a fellow sailor who described the following scenario: Women who go sailing to find a husband & then once they do, quit sailing & try to force the husband to stop as well. I just don't get that. Yes, if I meet someone while I am racing that would be awesome--but for me it's because I want to be sailing as much as possible & sharing such an intense hobby is important. So there are women out there who have really never sailed before & they don't plan to sail again after the ring is on their finger. In my opinion that seriously sucks--sailing is in my blood & I imagine that the men I sail with have it in their blood as well--to try to make me stop sailing would be like cutting off my air--NEVER!