Friday, February 12, 2016

I'm Officially a Racer!

Yes, I can add racer to my resume!
I crewed during Grenada Sailing Week aboard a J 125 Ultra Light
called Eagles' Wings.

The regatta is made up of a series of races spread over 4 days.
It takes advantage of numerous venues by beginning and ending
in different marinas around the island.  Sailing conditions also vary
as the racing moves from the protected west coast to the windier and 
rougher south coast.

Days 1 and 2 began from the Grenada Yacht Club which is located
on the lagoon in St. George's.  Racing was off Grand Anse Beach.

I can also add "rail meat" to my resume! 
I'm 4th from the right in the turquoise shoes.

Tight quarters during the race.

This is Eagles' Wings with her rail in the water while Rapajam
tries to steal our air and pass us.

Eagles' Wings is given a pretty stiff handicap in racing rules even 
though she is rigged for cruising.  For example, we had 2nd place at
the finish line in 2 out of 3 races the first day but placed last in the 
points system in our field of 5 boats.  We were also a fairly 
inexperienced  crew with several first-timers like myself.  
We did have one mishap on the first day.
Our skipper had us in perfect position at the start-line for the 3rd race
when another boat T-boned us!  We saw them coming at us and had time
to pull our legs up but their skipper made no attempt to roundup away
from us.  Luckily no one was hurt but Eagles' Wings did sustain
damage.  The other boats' bow snagged our lifeline and pulled it,
ripping one stanchion from the deck, bending another stanchion,
and twisting the bow pulpit.  There was also some hull damage.
Somehow we managed to recover and still placed second!

The bent and twisted stanchions.

End of day 2 and cold Carib for everyone.

I loved sailing with this amazing crew.
We represented 6 different countries, the U.S., Canada, Scotland,
 England, Spain and Trinidad!

Day 2 finished at Secret Harbour Marina.

The only experience I've had with flying a spinnaker is in light winds
when cruising on Merengue.  Flying a chute in 20 kts of wind in a 
race was something entirely new and it became my responsibility
along with another crew member.  We also didn't have any practice
time before the regatta but by the last day we were pretty good!
Eagles' Wings looks pretty running downwind with her chute up.

Day 4 had us sailing back to Prickly Bay Marina.  At the awards
ceremony that night we won an award for the crew showing the 
most perseverance.  I think that's code for "you're last but you tried hard."
We never gave up and sailed the last race as hard as the first.

I had a blast!  What a great experience.
I'm now an official member of the Red Hat Club.
I have the bruises to show for it.  I earned it!

There are lots of great race photos at