Dear Catherine, Meg, Robin, Sue, Sue Zee, and Susan,

While sailing in the drizzly rain today a conversation started about fear and how it holds us back. I said one of my approaches to bringing our team to the winner’s circle has been to help each other overcome our fear. Curiously Meg asked what my biggest fear was in racing Fast Lane. Reflecting on our first day on board I relived the horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach as to what I would do if someone got hurt on the foredeck.

In the mid 1980s I spent 7 years as the jib trimmer aboard a Morgan 27. Sue Zee was with me on one occasion when we were in an ocean race and had the spinnaker up, the jib up, a blooper up (whatever the heck that sail is) and the mainsail. Suddenly the boat started rocking and rolling. Our 6’4’ foredeck crew, Don, was trying to gybe the pole, when Renee, the spin trimmer went flying over my head, and grabbed the lifeline. But he didn’t stop there. While he was going heels over head the boom flew across the cockpit and Sue Zee was nearly strangled when the main sheet blocks burned the skin off her neck and décolleté area. All of this happened within a five seconds.

Finally, the boat settled down. I puked up a few nuts I had eaten about fifteen minutes before the chaos, then washed the taste away with some red wine. Ay, what the heck, I think everyone took a drink at that point!

Fast forward to August, 2008: Now, after one and half years, Meg, Sue P, Maryanne, Susan, and I have been on Fast Lane for just about every women’s race. We have all come home with some ‘souvenir’ bumps and bruises. Thankfully, none of us have had to experience the wild ride Sue Zee and I had been through. Although poor Robin was recently left feeling as if she was the only one who was ever confused and fumbly on the foredeck. We continue to make our gains on the race course in a slow, methodical manner. When everyone is 100% comfortable in any position on the boat, we will then, be winners beyond any other team we ever face. (Didja notice who was driving Mouse when they passed us to leeward?)

Maryanne was so cute today when she tried to give me the helm back. “Ewwww, it’s windy” she whimpered. If I give you the helm, it is because without any doubt I know you can handle it. If I ask you to sit on the bow pulpit it is because I know you can do it. If I ask you to gybe that pole it is because I know you can do it. If I ask you to make tactical decisions it is because I know you are capable. If I remind you to come out in a pram, it is because I know that whatever fear you harbor will be eased the more you come race that little boat. Keeping you safe is my #1 concern. Always has been, always will be.

Golly, you are an awesome group.

We graduated today!

Truly, doesn’t it feel good???????

P.S. For my non crew readers, graduation was the the designated day that the boat owners would let us take the boat out without one of them on board......

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