Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Etchells and Optis

My whole family raced sailboats last weekend. My husband and I are sailing an Etchells that was very generously loaned to us for the season from a friend and all around great guy. We named the boat 39 Steps for the season for a couple of reasons. The boat was previously named Rebecca, for whom I'm not sure, but it's the name of an Alfred Hitchcock film and I'm a super big fan. 39 Steps is another Hitchcock film, and the name of a play my husband and I saw when we were in London this past fall. It's also the number of steps it takes for us to get out on the water. In other words, it's complicated.

My daughters raced Optimists, or Optis, out of the yacht club next door to where our boat is dry-docked. So first thing Saturday morning, we drove out to Point Richmond, dropped me off at 39 Steps so that I could get the cover off and set it up to put it in the water. I had help from our "third" crew,  a great guy who's been a friend of mine ever since I've known my husband and to him even longer. The two of us moved the boat to the hoist and lifted it into the bay. We set it up, including raising the sails and checking all the lines, etc.

My husband went with the girls and got them set up. They needed their boats off the trailer that had delivered them from our club. Then, they needed their boats rigged, sails tied on, splashed in the water, usually with a lot of encouragement for the girls to do what they need to do, like get dressed, make their lunches, go to the skipper meeting and not a lot of help to get the boats ready. And we're usually late for everything, too.

Once we were all out on the water and doing our thing, the sailing was fantastic. We sailed separately from the girls and didn't see them during the day, but we knew they were okay and looked forward to watching them race the next day.

I'm in the pink life jacket.

For the first time ever, I drove 39 Steps. I usually work the bow, which includes adjusting and trimming the jib and setting the pole for the spinnaker. I also jibe the spinnaker pole when necessary and help throw the sail up and take it down when it's ready. It's a lot of work and is exhausting. So exhausting, in fact, that when we raced last time, I couldn't manage the last race and we dropped out. Sailing isn't thought of as strenuous, but it really takes it out of me.

Driving the boat is a little less strenuous physically, but it's mentally draining. There is a lot of concentration involved. I was pretty wiped out at the end of the day on Saturday. I took a lot of direction and tactical advice from my crew and focussed on keeping the boat going as fast as possible.

If I thought that racing was complicated, so is writing about it. I'm being pulled in a million directions or at least 39 of them. Consider this - To Be Continued.

1 comment:

hokgardner said...

So so cool. I grew up sailing on Sarasota Bay, and boy do I miss it.