So, after all the feelings of intimidation and that I'm not good enough to be in the upper eschelon of sailing, I go out with my sailing team and continue teaching them about getting around a race course. We sail in small 8 foot prams with a teeney-tiny course barely 50 yards from the windward to the leeward mark with a start/finish line halfway in between. The idea is to know instinctively when one is on port or starboard, how to cross the start line within a 3 minute timed sequence, rounding marks and when the windward or leeward position is favored. Anyway, today was our 3rd practice in prams and in 3 out of 3 races crewmember Maryanne, beat me. This was getting annoying because my starts were better but inch by inch she would pass me to leeward!
After the 3rd little race I hailed her over and insisted we change boats. She still had the last laugh because she had figured out the correct way to rig the silly little sail sprit which is why her boat was decidedly faster than the others. Despite my enthusiasm for the progress my crew is making it was a bit haunting to have the student beat the trainer.
Back at the dock the big boat folks were organizing their boats and crew. At this point in my sailing career I search for sailors deemed better than me to crew for. I do enough teaching others 2, 3, and even 4 times a week. So, I was hesitant to jump on just any boat. While one team was reticent to invite me on board (the owner/skipper) who I deem to be the best sailor in our area, I quietly stood feeling like a wall flower at the middle school dance. Finally, someone said, 'Hey Dave is sailing alone and will take someone." In a flash I lifted my chin and scurried down the dock. I looked square at Dave as he was saying, "Hey, Marlene, sure come along."
I knew this would be a great opportunity because in certain conditions his boat is as fast as the rest even though it is a smaller displacement boat than the 25 - 28 footers. The story gets better. As we made our way out the channel he asked if I could steer while he hooked the jib hanks onto the forestay. "Sure," I replied and instinctively took the tiller.
Knowing I favor multihulls, he laughed and said, "Are you sure you can drive a monohull?"
Truly, I reflected on that question and mentally thanked Jim Henry, a local monohull sailor who has coached me these past few months on a Lindenberg 28. With only two minutes to go for the start Dave softly said, just hold this course and we'll be in the perfect starting position. While I brought us closer to the starting pin Dave tweaked the sails and before I knew it we were off in good style.
It was a reverse handicap but the conditions were near perfect for this little Hinterholler, a beautiful little boat that Dave resurrected several years ago. By the end of the race only one cruiser stood between us and the finish mark. Overall, we finished in second place but first against the racing fleet. I'll have to write to Dave and remind him he can crew for me anytime.......This is a big feather in my cap because the girl who I aspire to race with was on another boat. I'm not sure where she finished, but it was sure nice to have her notice that I know something about racing. Maybe, just maybe one day she will call and invite me to join her racing team - - -
Life is good!