Monday, May 25, 2009

Master Mariners Regatta 2009

On May 23rd, I got to crew on Bradley's boat Chorus in the wooden boat regatta sponsored by the Master Mariners Benevolent Association.

My dad was in town, and despite the overcast, chilly weather it was simply a great day of sailing with some great friends, and the man whose infectious love of the water got me into sailing, windsurfing, and all manner of ocean-based activities in the first place: my father.

It was an amazing learning experience to sail with such a wide variety of boats: large, small, old, "old at heart". There were boats from such venerable SF Bay one design classes such as the Bear and the Bird boats, there were gaffers in all shapes and sizes, lovely schooners and piratical square riggers.

It's a fun-loving event, as evidenced by the "potato rounding rule." Less weatherly old girls who can't quite round the weather mark can opt instead to throw a potato at it. Close counts; just like in horseshoes and hand grenades.

I was on foredeck for the first time; and had many fumbles and recovery due to my unfamiliarity with the role and various equipment gotchas.

Bradley was on the helm, Craig trimmed spinnaker.

Aaron, who I've sailed with on the Ultimate 24, was on mast.

Our tactition (as well as moral and spiritual advisor, hehe) Peter English, sailed such a perfect course that despite our (I should say my) clumsy hoists and douses we won our class by 6 seconds.

It was a literally photo finish, with the second place Farallon Clipper right on our quarter as we heard the shotgun blast signalling our win.

We relaxed as we sailed down the Estuary to the post-race party at Encinal Yacht Club. Seeing the stately wooden craft rafted up three or four boats deep, I was reminded of the pictures I've seen of the three-masted Alaska Packer ships that used to raft up in the spot now inhabited by our marina. It was easy to half-close my eyes and daydream about a not-so-distant past and rapidly approaching future where "wooden boats and iron men" (these days a growing sisterhood of "iron women" too!) are central to Alameda's economy and culture.

That night we enjoyed a celebratory dinner and reception put on by the Encinal Yacht Club.

It was a great weekend with friends and family, and a great introduction to racing! We plan to practice as a team until we get our symmetrical spinnaker mojo working better!

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