Monday, November 07, 2005

The Poseidon Adventure

Went sailing with Mike Cintron yesterday, racing the Albacore fleet out of Daingerfield Island. It was blowing in the teens, maybe. There was a long wait at the start before the races got underway, and as the wind filled I was glad Mike loaned me his spray suit.

Anyhow, we're doing triangle-windward-leeward, twice around, for each race. We get a decent start, second or third off the line. We beef a couple of tacks, either through me not trimming the jib well, or Mike having some difficulty on the transfer and powering up out of the turn. We lose some ground, and have some technical problems with the whisker pole.

On the final downwind leg, we go to jibe and all hell breaks loose. Somehow, I think we capsized to windward. We turtle the boat, and the water in the Potomac is absolutely frigid. But we camp out on the board and get her righted. We are completely swamped, but Mike says we're going to finish this race. We open the scuppers and try to dewater. But we're still going downwind, and the extra weight has pushed the bow down. Instead of planing in the heavy breeze, the knuckle digs in and we nearly pitchpole. But we take water over the bow, and capsize again.

So, we right the boat once more, and start dewatering again. We're cold, we're wet, and it's still blowing. Mike asks me for my opinion, and I say I might be done for the day. It's very disappointing - I had been looking forward to sailing all week, and it's been months since we've gotten out there so I know Mike wanted to race more. But we were getting out asses handed to us. We headed in.

Mike let me do a little driving on the way back to the dock; I'm rustier than I thought. And we talked about tuning the rig for conditions and tactics, something I've never been at all good at. Mike has always been really good at teaching his crews - he's an excellent skipper for someone who is new to serving as racing crew. I'm looking forward to next season, when he will be traveling less and we can race more.

Now I'm sore from hiking out and getting bruised up in the tacks, but it was a great weekend because I got out on the water. And in a weird sequence of events, right afterwards I spent about 2 hours looking for dulce de leche to make cheesecake. Less demanding physically, but just as frustrating, since I had to go to 5 different stores before I found it. This thing better be delicious.

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