I went to the Sail La Vie meetup last week hoping to sign up to go sailing on Saturday. I haven’t had the time to go out for quite a while and was really looking forward to taking a leisurely cruise around the bay.
I was really disappointed when I found out that they didn’t have enough people signed up to charter a boat for the group. Luckily, one of the members had a boat entered in the upcoming Icicle Race and offered a spot onboard to me and the 2 others who had been looking to go out on Saturday.
I had never been in a race and was a little apprehensive about it all. I wasn’t really enthused about the idea of rushing around, tweaking the sails for every tiny little advantage we could get out of the boat. I’m MUCH more into just relaxing and enjoying a day on the water. Listening to the soft sound of the waves passing by and the calls of the seagulls following for scraps as we drink some wine and dispose of our uneaten chips. 🙂
I think we must have got lucky. The wind was very light to start, only about 4-6 kts and then for a while it dropped off to nothing. The whole fleet was becalmed. I’ve never been in that situation, a couple of dozen boats all drifting together, so close you could reach across to share a beer.
The wind picked up a little bit just as we were coming up to the first mark. We slid around on the inside of a big bunch of boats and managed to skip ahead of the crowd. It was pretty exciting there for a few minutes. 😉
The crowd thinned out as we made for the next mark, but as we closed in on it, the boats bunched up again. Everyone was trying to cut it as close as possible. We heard a loud bang and CRUNCH ahead of us and watched as a couple of boats tried to get their fenders in place, but it was too late. I’m not sure how much damage was done, but ANY work done on a boat is expensive!
We made that turn on the inside of another big bunch of boats and then made for the finish line. The wind was shifting so we had to tack a few times. It was a challenge to try and figure out how far to go on a tack before coming back to the course for the finish line. I think we made some time up with good estimates on that part of the race too.
As we were coming in to the finish line (between markers 1-2 to Kemah), we were cut off by another boat. They cut right in front of our bow and I don’t know how we managed not to have a collision. I don’t know what they were thinking on that boat, but as we were yelling at them, they called back to us that WE were supposed to stay out of their way. Huh????
Overtaking vessel is ALWAYS the give way vessel!
After that last shot of adrenaline, we took in the jib and headed back in to the marina. We made it home in one piece, without any damage, and I think we did pretty damn good! Capt Vic said we did better then ever before (in this race) and I know we still had a pretty big bunch of boats still out there behind us when we hit the finish line. 🙂