Sunday, May 29, 2011

A perfect day: 2011 Annapolis to Miles River Race [LinGin]

Continuing the astoundingly sailor-friendly weather trend this year, the 2011 Annapolis to Miles River Race was treated to...well, astoundingly sailor-friendly weather. Here I make a distinction between sailor-friendly and race-friendly; we're often presented with race-friendly conditions that are uncomfortable, at best, for the sailor or sailor-friendly conditions that are difficult to race in. I might start calling this "sailing weather": our local prevailing breezes south-southeast at 10-15kts, air temperatures 70-75, water temperature 73, clear skies.

I was lucky to make it to the race. First, after a long ten days of "too much work and too little sleep makes Glen a dull boy" I was spent both mentally and physically. Second, thanks to Linda's generosity in driving down to pick us up it worked out my wife Emily was able to go with us, too. Along with Scott, we made it a fun family day with Tim and Andréa and their kids Mackenzie, Darcy, and David. Spending time with my wife and great friends is a way to recharge, no matter the depth of my zombie-tude. I was definitely sucking more energy out of the environment than I was putting in. I'm lucky to have these people in my life.

At the start, with no race preparation, I was below reading the Notice of Race, checking the course, searching for GPS batteries, firing up & figuring out the new chartplotter and generally playing catch up. It is saying something about my lack of mental agility when you realize I was struggling to keep up with the movements of a 9000 pound, full keel sailboat on a 17 mile race.

What I heard was that LinGin started not at the favored end but on the line with speed and going the right way. The ebb tide made the deep water on the left (east) side the place to be for going south quickly. We kept heading left until forced to tack by the large obstruction known as an anchored freighter, in this case named Vega Dream. This tack proved our lucky break. As the rest of the fleet was able to continue on starboard toward deep water, the separation/leverage from our tack put us significantly to right of the fleet when the breeze gave us a gift 10-degree right shift. This thrust us way ahead of the other boats and put us in the comfortable position of simply doing a loose cover of the nearest boats for the rest of the 7-mile beat to Bloody Point light.

After Bloody Point and the reach to the second mark we popped the chute and sailed in a relatively clear lane until the last turn. We two-tacked in increasing breeze up the Miles River and took the gun.

I went below and napped, i.e. collapsed, for the 45 minute sail into St. Michaels where we rafted with Calliope and Skybird. In the perfect weather and perfect anchorage we immediately commenced hanging out, chatting, swimming, eating, and the innumerable things that make up those times which we all look back on as perfect moments. I sincerely hope my comically ragged mental state doesn't affect the clarity and longevity of the memories I will keep of this day.

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