The race, Wednesday, 3/5/14 and after.
The gentleman registering us was born in Glendive, MT, and his folks owned a place on Flathead Lake when he was growing up. He spent summers where we now live and sail. Di’s catamaran was used as the committee boat. Her friend from Kalispell visits her here every winter.
Several other folks had ties of one type or another to our home state. Of course, we were asked more than once “how long does it take you to sail here from Montana”? And, “how cold is it really up there?”.
Another frequent question was “what kind of boat is that?” I resisted the urge to answer “sail” and responded “1969 CAL Cruising 36” usually to hear back “that’s a CAL?”. This led to several folks talking about CALs they used to own, or sail on or race against. Jim used to own a CAL 36 but they now cruise in a trawler. He knows where there ia a CAL Cruising 36 with a new engine which he thinks he might be able to get cheap, but do not tell his wife!
During registration we were assigned a handicap significantly faster than we are, but we did not care since we were racing for fun, not glory. In the midst of registration, hauling marks and pre-race excitement, I forgot to ask for more crew. Poor Barbara didn’t want the helm, so she was stuck tacking and trimming the genoa, trimming the mainsail, adjusting the traveler, grinding on the winches, and everything else needing done. She had a well earned nap when we returned to our slip.
The race was held in perfect conditions; wind 10-15, calm seas, blue sunny skies, crystal clear waters deeper than our keel reaches. There were 15 boats entered of all kinds and sizes. “White sails only” was the rule. I was a little late to the start line as usual. It did, however, keep us from being caught in the crush of boats at the start which forced one boat over early. The race was six legs long, windward, reach to triangle mark, reach to start, windward, leeward, windward.
We passed a few boats (a couple were quite surprised), were passed by a couple, and played cat and mouse with a couple more. It was a fun time. We were reminded of a few things. It takes a long time to learn how to sail a boat well. We have not sailed “Submit” enough. You learn more about your boat by racing it than you do day-sailing or cruising. Our old genoa is way past its days as an upwind sail. Old CALs sail well even with the handicap of me at the helm. After seeing pictures of us on the racecourse, I told Barbara the biggest improvement she could see on this boat would be to have someone more svelte at the helm. Pictures can be seen at the clubs website www.hopetownsailingclub.com
The “Standup” late that afternoon was great. Tables of hors d’oeuvres complimented the BYOD affair. Results were announced and awards given. We were assigned ninth place. No award for that, just the joy of participating. And all the folks were great. We would go out of our way to do it again.
Yesterday saw blustery winds and threatened rainstorms. The threat was fulfilled in the evening and for a fair share of the night. This morning dawned sunny and then provided a few thunder showers. We’ve done a couple small boat projects. Barbara did laundry and collected several gallons of rainwater for non-drinking water jobs.
Tomorrow, we plan to head to Lynard Cay to anchor out. This is a staging area for trips south. If all goes well, we will head out into the open Atlantic to sail to Spanish Wells in Eleuthra. It is about the same distance as the trip across the gulf stream to the Bahamas from Florida, but somehow it seems more major. If you turn left you’ll find nothing but open ocean for thousands of miles until you hit…Africa?
We have no idea what we will find for internet services or other communications so it could be a while before more folly info shows up here. Meanwhile, family will receive occasional updates from SPOT.