“How’d you do?” Judy asked me when I arrived home after dark. “I didn’t win, I didn’t lose, and I capsized only once,” I said. “I call that a good day.”
Since I took up racing a 14-foot Laser sailboat late last year (for the first time in nearly 40 years!), this was the first day we actually had some decent wind. Most of the racing days over the last few months have been drifters … very little to NO wind to propel the boat, making for agonizingly slow racing and even more agonizing sore muscles. The Laser is not a very comfortable boat to begin with; even more so when you’re contorting your body to try and get every ounce of speed from the slightest breeze.
This day was different. The wind was still shifty and there were a few times when it seemed to say, “just kidding.” But for the most part, we had breezes between 6 and probably 13 miles per hour. The upper end of that range really gets the boat “on its feet” and requires the skipper to “hike out” to counteract the force of the wind against the sail.
Racing among this group of sailors is extremely competitive, but good-natured. We fight for position on the starting line and at the rounding marks, but we also make sure when someone goes into the drink because of a capsize that they’re okay and will “stand by” if needed (At least three of us capsized on this particular day!). There were nine of us in the Laser class racing and we were all ecstatic about the fresh breeze. I’ll admit there were a few times when I hollered a couple of hoots of joy. THIS is why I love sailing!
There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. When there’s a nice breeze blowing, there’s nothing quite like being on the water. Give it a try!
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