Sailing

Trip Start Dec 08, 2006
1
Trip End Mar 15, 2007


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Flag of United States  , Florida
Thursday, January 11, 2007

We finally have internet access here at our RV park so I hope to write a few stories of our adventures in the Sunshine State.

Many of you who are reading this email know or have heard on the Little Current Cruisers Net Germaine and Terry Hyatt, owners of Blue Heron. They sail out of Little Current in the summer but, the rest of the year, live down here in Punta Gorda. They recommended the RV park we are staying in and, during the past while, we have enjoyed going with them to a number of their favourite haunts.

We're enjoying the comforts our new RV provides but I still miss life aboard a boat. Thankfully, Germaine is the Commodore of the Platinum Point Yacht Club. (www.ppyc.sail1.net) This past weekend, her club hosted the SW Florida Golden Conch Regatta. and, thanks to their connections, I got to race filling in for a sick crew member.

It was very different and challenging to race with experienced people. I'm familiar with reducing weight for a race but they had stripped the boat, even removing the berth cushions and the floor rug to reduce FIXED weight but were quite happy with my weight because, as the captain said, it was MOVEABLE weight. Apparently the boat sailed best with about 18 degrees of heel and was quite sensitive to weight placement. After each tack and mark rounding we would rush forward to be directed to sit in different places depending on the wind strength and race angle with the tactician always attempting to achieve that magic number of degrees. On the last leg, the good winds we experienced all day dropped and we were sailing too flat so I sat, for the first time, on the lee side - just behind the mast.

I couldn't believe how aggressive the boats were at the start line. In the last 20 seconds, we had a boat charging us till our hulls were just a few feet from a collision. The tactician on our boat was yelling both at the other boat as it tried to force us over the line early and then at our captain to hold course as the other boat didn't "have overlap". The man, I assume was the tactician on the other boat, was equally screaming at us and at his helmsman. I just stayed out of the way and waited for the crash. Nothing happened and with only a few seconds to go, the other boat cut across our stern with what appeared to be no room to spare, crossed the line to windward of us winning this little section of the contest. We never caught that boat!!!

The rest of the day wasn't near as nerve wracking but it was always intense, aggressive sailing. It was a great day on the water and I, as a cruiser, certainly learned a lot about racing. Especially from the tactician who had sailed numerous inshore and offshore races around the nation.

Germaine and Terry were the race officials for the weekend and at the Awards ceremony Commodore Germaine got to relax as Terry did a masterful job as Master of Ceremonies. Our boat didn't win a prize but there is a club race next Monday and, as one of their crew is not able to make it, I've been asked back to replace him. Apparently they are in second place for overall boat of the year so I know it will be another intense day on the water. I'm looking forward it as Margaret looks forward to relaxing with the cats, reading a book in peace and quiet back at the RV.

Best wishes to all

Roy and Margaret
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