A nice tribute to Moms everywhere…
After giving up racing for 6 years and the loss of two very old friends that raced with me, I just let the boat sit at the dock. Time commitment, finding crew and the new generation of immediate gradification youth just got to be to much. Especially after the great crews that I had on the boat.
Amazingly, after one year of absence of even going to the marina, I went to the boat yesterday and spent about four hours just cleaning, draining, fixing and washing. And then just sat back, relaxed, in clothes that were soaked in sweat , and enjoyed the beauty of that ridiculously wonderful and beautiful damn boat. Great weather in the morning after the Houston floods.
I don’t want to start racing again, but it was a very nice morning to just relax with the past. I also lost about five pounds of weight for all the work, but I am starting to get a really nice tan! How many of us old racers know how good of a day that can be?
I never wanted to have anyone else help prep the boat for a race. I liked the mindless work (like the house gardens) to just spend time getting ready and being on the boat all alone and enjoy the weather and the experience. At the end of my racing “hobby”, I would get the boat ready and let the crew take it racing.
I went out on a power boat to watch. I think I liked the precision of preparation and then seeing the results. So, regarding a delayed Mothers Day tribute, thanks Mom, you made it all happen. I got into sailing and eventually racing because of a graduation present from Texas Tech University from my Mom. She let me have my summer of graduation to just go surfing and camping on the Texas beaches.
I grew up in Southern Ca. surfing and got a baseball scholarship to TTU. Now that was a change from beaches to the high plains, and long drives home across the southern US to visit the girl friend and go surfing. Mom sent me money each month of that graduation summer so I could just have the experience and time to decide what to do next. That took a lot of trust and risk. Or maybe not, she knew I would make good decisions. So, I guess it was Mom that got me into sailing.
And here is why Mom is responsible.
One night of that summer I was in Corpus Christi, TX sitting on a place in the yacht basin called the “T Head”.
I went into town from the beach to get dinner before the night I planned to go home to Harlingen, TX to go to work. It was about 9:00 p.m. and I was thinking about driving home that night or the next day to end the summer when I heard some sounds from the water that were musical. It was a boat tacking to go to the boat dock. I sat there and watched for about an hour. I was hooked.
From that night, in August of 1973, I knew that I was going to own a sail boat. I bought my first boat in 1983, It took ten years, but I did it. And then I wanted to start racing. I bought my first racing boat in 1990, and it was slow and not competitive, but I learned a lot about success.
Seven more years of saving and commitment to spending the money to compete.
Then in 1990, I bought “Motel Jet” and is was fast and a winner. And the folks in Ventura/Oxnard know that boat. An Andrews 26 MORC rocket.
That is the boat that was almost sunk by a delivery captain on the way to North Sails Race Week in Long Beach in 1998, but the event got me an invitation to see Pywaket when W.D junior saw the boat in the Long Beach boat yard, damaged and hurting and gave me a tour of his boat. And Walt Jr. was a hell of a man. Pywaket was in prep for the run to Hawaii. I got the invitation when his wife came on deck of Pywaket and said ” Walt, come look the shrunk our boat”. That was a great afternoon.
But, I decided that I didn’t want to keep sailing because it took so much effort and money to be a respected competitor.
Ten years later, I found that I needed to finish my dream and so, I headed to Detroit, and spent about two hours with my Pakistani cab driver that had a problem understanding “I am going to the Bay View Yacht Club”, and bought “Bondi Tram” in the middle of the 911 situation. That was an interesting reintroduction to racing!
After seventeen years of effort and commitment and learning, you know what? I was the best in the fleet for many years in my sailing venue and have life long memories.
And from all the effort I learned, “this is a tough sport to master,”
I probably would have a lot more money if I didn’t get into sail boat racing, but it was worth every penny. It scared me at times, and I wondered more than once, “Why am I doing this”. But what I learned is, “sometimes, you just have to jump into to something that is all about being who you are”. And the people that raced with me are life long friends.
I plan to spend a few more days getting the boat up to being able to be sailed again. God help me. Maybe just go motoring around the Bay to take a look and watch some races.
It’s about taking chances. And Mom would have understood.
Thank you Mom, it has been a life gift.
– Anarchist Clark.