January 7, 2006
It is a brand new year full of brand new hopes and opportunity! Well, if you want to get technical, it is a few days old but still has that new year smell and we wish everyone out there a happy and prosperous 2006! On the agenda this year - SAILING! And lots of it! If you have a sailboat, get out there and sail as much as you can! Looking at getting into sailing or learning how to sail? Get out there and do it! Sailing is one of the many joys life has to offer...even in January!
Today was Father/Daughter day at the races. If you didn't know that it is because we, just this minute, decided it was! David Freye on Banana Split returned after missing his only ever Shackleton race, again accompanied by Jacquelyn, who did a fine job in Race 2. On board I Soar, Warren Sickler had the services of his daughter, Katie, who we understand has also done some Sunfish sailing - and yet to tip one over! The rest of us don't have any female offspring and therefore, were sailing without crew this promising day. (Not that that was a prerequisite.)
The sun was out and the warmer southern air was being pumped in, giving us yet another beautiful day on the water. Only one poor day so far, this series. David and Jacquelyn were all business at the start of the race as Banana Split hit the starting line the moment the horn sounded and pulled out to an early lead. The rest of us chased making short, quick tacks out of the narrow Sale Creek channel on our way downriver to the Opossum Creek vicinity.
As we ventured downstream, Hasta La Vista and Banana Split were sailing in close proximity when I noticed David tacked earlier then expected. I also noticed that Dutchess was favoring the other side of the lake. Was there some strategy that these masters were following that I wasn't picking up on? I decided to stick to my plan and sail "my race." Well, that was the problem right there - "my race" didn't involve rounding the infamous "Three Hour Nun" that everyone else's race did. I was a few hundred yards or so past it downriver when it was brought to my attention. Oh, well, no big whoop - we were all having too much fun!
Meanwhile, Banana Split and Dutchess began battling it out for the lead position. Andre was doing an excellent job and for those who don't know, Dutchess requires more wind than the rest of us and anything less than gale force is child's play. While the rest of us were hull speeding around the lake, Andre was working to keep pace at around 5-1/2 knots, unable to tap in to the reserve capacity on Dutchess with the accompanying winds. Andre got the upper hand on one crossing and invoked his starboard right of way privilege. David said he contemplated holding his course and passing in front of the Trintella but said they had more fun ducking behind and trying to take out Andre's flag pole mounted on the stern.
I Soar and Summer Breeze were quietly sailing along under radar and not drawing too much attention to themselves, except for the fine sailing they were doing. Mike Rice, on Summer Breeze, was showing us that all the practice he has done over the past year (sailing at least once a week) was paying off.
I plodded my comeback and eased my way back up towards the front of the fleet. Some might say that I was the beneficiary of a wind shift to the SE. I would like to think otherwise, but by the time we were approaching Buoy 4, Hasta La Vista was back in the lead, and there was no way that would have happened otherwise. After witnessing this, Warren mentioned that he had "Olsen 30" flashbacks from the last race.
After weaving through the next three buoys and beginning the downwind leg, I went into lazy sailor mode. Seeing the number of jibes forthcoming, I discarded any whims about flying the spinnaker solo. Conservative thinking like that cost dearly as one by one, I witnessed Banana Split, I Soar, and Dutchess breeze by. It was a good battle between them boat for boat, especially between Split and I Soar who were neck and neck for the next few miles.
The spinnaker was lowered earlier on I Soar than the rest of us expected to see. Warren had decided to forgo most of the labor intensive jibing and figured he was close enough to the front to correct out. Despite the fact that Banana Split quickly pulled away (it's amazing how much speed is gained by flying a spinnaker), it wasn't fast enough as it would be I Soar getting the edge in the end. David and Jacquelyn's efforts would earn them second place. Although there was a good wind today, it wasn't quite enough to get Dutchess sailing fast enough to break away from the fleet and I remained close enough to correct out in front of him THINKING I had taken 3rd place. But months of hard work and perseverance paid off for Mike on Summer Breeze. As Mike said, "the turtle may be slow, but the turtle didn't make any mistakes this time!" He sailed a solid race and I am happy to report that it would be Mike finishing third. GREAT job by everyone on this most enjoyable day. The new year is off to a great start!
RACE 5 RESULTS
Written by Eric Almlie. ©Copyright 2006. All rights reserved. Photos by Eric Almlie and Andre Rijsdijk.