Imagine the deck of a 31′ sailboat, slick with spray and heaving over three-foot waves while heeling at a 45-degree angle. As she tacks, you duck out of the way of the boom and hang on, while keeping feet and legs away from the jib sheets, which can pull you overboard.
Then climb, climb her 10′ beam to the windward side, hang your legs and arms overboard and lean out between the lifelines. Wind in your hair, spray in your face, the boat speeding at 8.1 KT, the exhilaration is marvelous!
That is how I spent a few hours on Saturday, during the Frostbite Regatta off Quantico Yacht Club, aboard Te-Keel-La, a beautiful Catalina 310. Te-Keel-La already had more than enough crew, so I mostly served as rail meat/photographer. While these positions did not help me advance my racing knowledge much, they were highly enjoyable, and allowed me to catch some very good pictures of the action, both on board and in the scene.
Te-Keel-La competed in the first race, a challenge in winds of up to 28 KT, and waves about three feet. Two of her reef points tore before she crossed the finish mark in about an hour and a half. The Catalina 310 served as the committee boat in the second race. While bobbing on the anchored committee boat was not as exciting as racing, it put me in position for action shots at the start/finish line.
I was lucky enough to be able to sail again on Sunday, teaching basic sailing, then enjoying a pleasure sail with friends–for a total of five hours in a fresh breeze. These three sails brought me sore arms, legs and back, sunburn, windburn, chapped lips, two broken fingernails, three small cuts and several bruises, but I’m still smiling because I actually had enough sailing this weekend.