Thursday, July 22, 2010

Screwpile Regatta--Strike Papa

(Solomons Island)
 (Screwpile Lighthouse)

 Nope, not some off-beat sexual position but a sailing regatta that lasts three days on Solomons Island in typical July Chesapeake heat & no wind (or very light air).  Of course, most sailing terms could be considered sexual....but I digress.  I spent 4 days down on Solomons sweating buckets & baking myself in the sun.  But unlike another blog post that I saw (whine, whine, whine) about the regatta, I had an amazing timeYeah, it was blistering hot most days & I got pretty dehydrated, & yeah, we had serious equipment failure on day two, but my team rocked!  Especially on day 3 when our crew was down to only four people (6-7 is favored for the J-30). I was just so damn happy to be down there--last year I got bumped off the boat I was to race on less than a week before the race, and on my birthday no less, which majorly sucked--so this year I was greatly anticipating...including the fact that Xing Fu would also be racing.  Altogether a great few days.  
So a recap of sorts:  On Saturday Xing Fu & I drove down to Solomons & pitched a tent (more on this in an upcoming post).  There had been an overnight race from Annapolis to Solomons & a lot of folk were already in, but my boat had just taken Saturday to motor down from the West River.  Sunday was the first day of Screwpile and we knew it was going to be a scorcher--light winds, etc.  But, luckily it was not too bad--we had a good crew on board--6 of us, including a guest appearance from an old buddy of mine--Seamus.  As I've mentioned previously, he is a great sailor & tactician & his joining our team led us to a second place.  It was great fun to catch up with him.  
The entire fleet was divided into 3 courses: North (our fleet), South (Xing Fu's fleet) & West.  Our Race Committee was phenomenal--they really were an excellent team.  I loved hearing them over the radio, "Strike papa, raise delta" just before start for the one minute warning.  My understanding was that not all of the courses had as good an RC.  Our courses were windward-leeward (four legs).  As for my boat--we executed beautifully on day one & ended our day very hot but happy--hopped in the pool at the marina to cool off & then joined the party under the tent at the Holiday Inn.  Big Party--lotsa rum drinks, Spinsheet Birthday--15 years.  I purchased a t-shirt & a long sleeve tech shirt with our boat's name listed along with the other competitor's names on the back.  

Day 2 was not such a good one--we had sustained 18-20 knot winds which is actually really good but as we were reduced to only 5 crew it became very difficult--in addition, we had some problems with equipment namely that our spin halyard broke, the traveller lines broke as well as the boom vang...time to go back & visit Marine West for some needed repairs--we cut our loses after the second race & returned to port--swimming & party--a girl can get used to this.  We also visited a few restaurants on Solomons--I had a great crabcake the second night at Stoney's Kingfishers.

Day Three brought even more challenges--further crew reduction to 4, had to repair the damages, blistering heat--but I gotta say that we kicked ass--not only did we get the boat around the course very well but we put some serious pressure on the leaders--they covered us & watched us quite closely--a tip of the Mount Gay Rum red hat to the underdogs!  Speaking of red hats--as the core 4--we received the red hats for this regatta...nicely earned.  After the last race, we pulled up to another boat in our class & I hopped aboard as we were sailing...had to slow power as much as possible to bring the two boats together but we did & I scrambled on for my ride back to shore as my boat pulled off for the long trek home. 

I must say that I truly enjoyed the entire experience at Screwpile this year & am looking forward already to next year's--Xing Fu says that Screwpile is the height of his sailing summer--he looks forward to it all year--I agree--we had a blast & got a ton of sailing in too.
Believe it or not, I came back for more yesterday--it was the Wednesday Night Series after all. 

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