Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Annapolis Race Week

Looking behind us between races
Wow, what a ride!  We had amazing conditions for this series of races & all I can say is, "whew!"  I am tired  & bruised, but very glad I participated this year.  I wasn't able to race on Saturday because my BFF(J)'s son was a Bar Mitzvah & of course I was there.  He did an amazing job & the service & luncheon were very nice--my BFF(J) should be so proud!  I know she is.  I was happy to be there to share in the special occasion as her family was there for my son's as well.  My son told me that the evening kid's party was a lot of fun too (I had skipped town by then & down in Annapolis to join my crew). 

Day Two of ARW looked & had great wind--we seemed to gel well as a crew & we sailed well--after the races, Barry dropped by to speak to us about how we felt we did & what we learned, etc.  I am excited to begin to look at improving our game--I just want to learn to race better--trim the kite, jib, etc & develop a real understanding to make the boat go faster.  Sunday was an example of a team that executed well & although we didn't win or for that matter even place, I think we all finished that day feeling like we accomplished something--no drama & excellent teamwork.  One of my off-season tasks is to learn the rules--the book is a thick one & I think getting a better understanding of the rules will also approve my racing.    Also great was having the opportunity to sail a regatta with Xing Fu--he has so much more knowledge then I do & I certainly want to learn from him as well--he's been at this racing gig far, far longer than I have & I can certainly benefit from his input.

After the races, we all took the water taxi over to City Dock for the party.  Of course the Dark n' Stormies flowed as Gosling's was one of the sponsors--many quite jovial sailors.... We met up with friends of ours who will be getting married this week--I am very excited for them & look forward to seeing pictures & hearing all about it when they get back.  We went to dinner & had a great time together--they were a lot of fun & it was good to spend some time with them. 

Monday had great wind & we were looking forward to another day.  For me it was a bit more difficult--I woke up feeling a little ill--nope, not hungover, just what appeared to be some stomach bugaboo (definitely NOT what you want to have while racing) so I was having difficulties from the jump getting my head in the game--we figured we'd have one or two races so we wanted to make them count.  The second race was quite exciting--we pulled ahead of another boat & then he fouled us by making us alter our course to avoid collision (an example of knowing the rules).  I couldn't watch too much of this as I was busily flying the kite on the leeward leg.  We couldn't find the yellow protest flag & managed to rig a yellow bag of cookies off the backstay--turns out that they did get a penalty so we ranked over them for this race.  As we finished the race, we thought we were done for the day.  But--5 minutes later we were in sequence for a third race.  Off we go, but I think we were all pretty tired by this point & perhaps collectively not prepared for another race thinking we were going home after the second one.  It was a very difficult race for me--I ripped a rather deep gash in my finger crossing the cockpit to fly the kite on the first downwind leg.  I had blood dripping down my fingers & obviously could no longer execute effectively.  I think at that point I hit an emotional & physical wall.  I went down below to try to stop the bleeding & I began to shake all over--the tears were not far behind--I was just so drained.  After a bit, I collected myself & tried to resume my place--just couldn't do it--I managed to reopen the gash & just had to quit--there is nothing more frustrating & helpless when all you can do is sit on the mast & watch everyone else work around you--I felt incredibly defeated--still--a learning experience because I'd never had that happen before--it was a tough time but I still feel positive about what I've learned--certainly made my share of mistakes but I continue to grow & I'll get better.

But the best part of all was time on the water with Xing Fu & my crew--people I've come to really enjoy spending time with & consider my friends--thanks all for a great race!

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