Thursday, July 05, 2012

4th Man on the 4th of July

Yesterday's 4th of July holiday was like a weekend rolled into a single 24-hour period. My husband and I went sailing on the bay with another couple on their Etchells. Then we ate barbecue, went swimming and went on a big hike to see fireworks. Some of that hike home included me carrying a 50lb+ child on my back.

Today I'm exhausted!

The races yesterday were PHRF "perf" races, where different classes of boats race against each other. They have some sort of handicapping system that I don't even understand, but that allows some sort of fair race scoring. 

We sailed with another married couple and while I usually work the bow, I ended up being the fourth man on a three-man-boat. Talk about being in the way! All I had to do was move from side to side on the boat, but the way the Etchells heels over, it's very hard to climb from side to side without anything to hold onto and nothing to brace your feet on. I got slammed around the boat quite a bit and slid along the bottom more times than I could count. 

We figured the winds were blowing at about 30 knots for part of the day, but I heard today they were clocked at 33 knots. The Etchells is fast and low and the harder it blows, the wetter you get, especially up at the front of the boat. The other woman who was working the bow took the most water of all of us, but I was next in line. The driver was probably relatively dry. Some of the spray was so heavy that a person could have been standing with a bucket of water throwing it at us at times. I got it in my eyes, my ears and down my foul-weather gear soaking me inside as well as outside.

When the first race was over, I could just as well have been done for the day. I was already tired and sore and that's just from moving from side to side in the boat. I don't ever want to be the person who makes us quit a race so I just kept going and kept my mouth shut. In fact, I didn't complain at all the whole time, even when I slammed my hand so hard that I discovered it was swollen after we were done. I thought I might have broken it by the intensity of the pain when it happened. Right now, though, you can't really tell I did anything. 

That's not the case with the rest of my body. This morning the bruises from yesterday had settled in. I have several more on my right bicep to go with my Laser sailing bruises and the back sides of both legs are covered. I have a couple more large and noteworthy bruises on the side of my upper right thigh and my tailbone. It hurts to sit. Besides bruises, I'm just achy and sore. Who would have thought that sailing would be so physical. I mean, I know it its, but I forget that it is, too. 

The second race was a strange course, and had us going up and back and around and we set the spinnaker three times, including the downwind finish. We were flying the spinnaker at the end and the wind was blowing so hard that I don't recall ever going that fast in a sailboat before! We were a rocket ship with a huge wake out the back! It was very fun. 

As it turns out, we won the spinnaker class of the race, beating out all of our competitors. That was very cool. It's different, though, than sailing side by side from your competitors and seeing the finish one after another. When we crossed the line, no one was around us and a boat with a different rating than us - larger, etc - finished ahead of us. All in all, if you're going to get beaten up and run through the ringer, winning is a bonus.

My kids are sailing today and I can't wait for them to be finished. When we put their boats away, I'm not going to think about sailing for a while. And I'm going to recover.

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