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“Close” racing in Antigua

It takes a night and some thought to make sense of all of the action of the day before when racing with 100 other boats that start in a 2 mile area.  Lots to think about and keep track of. We lost track yesterday and scared the crap out of several people… least of which was an amateur photographer in his dinghy that got trapped under our bow for ten seconds that seemed like minutes instead!

Apologies from the crew to the unfortunate operator. (we had to check our shorts too!)

Our fault entirely for not avoiding him- and a little his fault for apparently shutting down his motor in the path of 9 boats just starting a race. Hopefully he has only some stained shorts and a wild story to tell in his old age… and maybe even saved an image on his camera. So glad he lived. Scary stuff and not always a good ending.
Racing… oh yes that was what we were out to do. Really.

Another great day on the water and our team on “High Tension” is settling down a bit and with less tension (Haha) is performing better. Beautiful sailing conditions for 2 races yesterday (Tuesday) and good results to show- now sitting in 1st place by one point over the “Kick ’em Jenny 2” team from St. Maarten on the Melges 32. (Great name as it refers also to the underwater volcano near Grenada that is getting closer and closer to the surface)

We are now the rabbit and the foxes will be all over us! Two more days of racing Thursday and Friday and we have to be on our game… the incredible number of moving pieces and things that have to go “right” on a sailing vessel to keep her moving well is phenomenal. A few missed tacks or fouled lines and the lead changes. Some of our wins and losses were counted in single digit seconds!

I have been sailing for over 50 years and racing for at least 47 of those and it still is the greatest challenge I choose to participate in. The dynamics of physical strength, timing, wind reading and “naviguessing” are still so demanding that not much else enters my mind during those hours. Add to this the personalities of 9 human beings with all our own views on “how to do it” and the results are really impressive.

To anyone who doubts this.. get to a regatta and ask around for a crew position- even with zero knowledge- and you can be part of this. We have had several “day” guests that lend a hand- even limited- and you too can see close up how wild this sport is. I started on the bigger boats by “sponging the bilge” and handing up drinks and sandwiches. My first real introduction to sailing with other people was on a Soling in big seas with Alan Gordon and Basil Wynn. At 12 I was bailing water out of the boat the whole time as we rounded the Tobago islands and the Jost’s (yes there are 2). Puking and bailing, and puking and bailing. One of the guys empties out half a can of coke and pours in a dash of rum- Voila! Instant alcoholic! (just kidding- but not seasick anymore)

Today we are sleeping late and preparing for the Lay Day racing at Pigeon beach.. in provided RS Elite sailboats- vying for a weeks stay at Nonesuch Bay Resort here in Antigua- bed and breakfast included!( if we win and Kai joins me they may wish they did not include breakfast!)

“I do have a long list of complaints- but seem to have lost it”

Signed- “A lucky sailor”

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