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More Lessons

More Lessons

Our
last man overboard article (Lessons Learned) spurred a lot of discussion.
Here is another.

I’ve
been racing sailboats a long time, about 30 years, primarily in Saginaw
Bay but all over the Great Lakes. This past Saturday, May 17, 2008, I
participated in one of my favorite rites of spring – the start of racing
season. Excitement and anticipation fueled our crew of 7 as we prepared
Jester, a C&C 99, for a fun day of racing. It was sunny and windy
as we headed out to the starting area – a perfect combination for great
racing – 20+ knots of breeze with waves out of the NW at 3 – 4 ft. with
the occasional rogue a foot or two bigger.

At the start of the first race we hardened up on the weather and climbed
to the high side hiking hard taking a few cold showers as the waves drove
up the hull powered by the wind to douse us all. Getting that first spray
of cold water in your face is akin to taking communion for avid sailboat
racers, manna for the soul, as Jester worked its way to the first weather
mark. We raced our way around the course without incident finishing only
a few seconds behind our competition, and we shortened sail to reorganize
the boat then grab a quick sandwich and re-hydrate ourselves before the
start of the second race.