23 July 2011 | Oak Harbor Marina, Oak Harbor, WA
We arrived a week ago Thursday and I had just enough time to catch my breath before Race Week started last Sunday night. Whew, that was close! I got a ride on my friend's Beneteau First 35s5 -- J Rosenbach and s/v 'Bodacious' -- and I was glad we made it in time for the racing. It was good!
They put us in with the P30 group -- a bunch of 30-footers that include Olson 911s and S2 9.1s. It is a fun fleet, even if I did diss them in a letter-to-the-editor several years ago! (Ooops! Another "foot-in-the-mouth" move!) Anyhow, we also had a Cascade 36 with what I will affectionately call a "gift rating"-- s/v 'Rain Drop' from Portland.
This boat has had so many facelifts it makes Joan Rivers look like she only recently took up knives and sewing!! This thing is a late 70s/early 80s vintage sailboat that looks like it has had about $80,000 crammed down its 36-foot length. It is really too bad because the boat takes away from the good sailing that the crew aboard did all week. Any good sailing the crew did was immediately chalked up to this really whacko boat and its 'improvements'.
Anyhow, we got off to a slow start on Monday. I think the crew might have been a little intimidated. There was lots of competition and it was alllll good! I know I was a little intimidated. J had me calling tactics -- a position I am still growing into. Being up there on "the big stage" kind of got to me, I think.
The boat was going OK, but between a few bad calls I made and a few crew snafus, we managed to eke out a 2nd in the 3rd and last race of the day to save our pride. Tuesday was slightly better -- again with one 2nd but also with some more crooked numbers. Instead of posting a 2-5-8 on Monday, Tuesday we posted a 2-5-9. But the crew was feeilng 'up' because we were definitely sailing fast. The 9 came when we had a huge 'issue' that sent us from 2nd to last, only to claw back to 9th. So we knew we 'shoulda' had a 2-5-2.
Wednesday came and we knocked off a pair of 4s. Not really a stellar performance. But a bad call on my part in the last race of the day gave up, like, 2-3 MINUTES to the competition! We had 3rd locked up and I went and threw it all away going to the wrong side. Had we gotten a 3rd, we would have finished 3rd for the day and been in the prize giving.
I was feeling bad cuz I couldn't deliver the hardware (trophy) to J for the day. Thursday morning I woke up hungry for a trophy and confident. We had the boat going well and we were just getting better and better. I knew the team was peaking at a good time. When the breeze in Penn Cove picked up, I knew we had a fighting chance.
Sure enough, we scored a 2-1-2 in Thursday's 3 races and now J had the pickle dish I so desperately wanted to deliver on. A side benefit was that it moved us from 5th place overall to 3rd!! Not only did we have a pickle dish for the day, but we were in contention for the week as well. All we needed to do was sail well on Friday (which we were already doing) and protect our lead.
The wind was real light on Friday -- not conditions that favor our boat. But the breeze never filled in and with no races on Friday, 3rd in class was ours.
The whole week was a positive experience for me. Even though I made a few bad calls early in the week, I redeemed myself later in the week when the chips were down. Plus there were a couple of times when J let me drive down wind and I either held our position or gained. So both of those positives helped me gain confidence.
Calling tactics can be a 'pressure position'. Make the wrong call and everyone points the finger at you. Make the right calls and the crew pats themselves on the back for a good race. But J's crew was great -- keeping the pressure off and letting me do my thing. And it worked out great.
We did a year's worth of lee bows in one week. The competition was fierce and I got a chance to sail against some of my old crew -- Jeff Janders, Kelly Havig and Jeremy Groesz. Sailing against them was almost as much fun as sailing with them. Maybe if they hadn't beaten us and finished 2nd in class it would have been more fun!! :-)