Saturday, June 03, 2006

Sailing in High Wind

I was invited to go sailing today and was really looking forward to it; it's only my third time and I learn so much each time I go. The yacht is a fairly old 30 footer, and enters a race most Sundays on Lake Macquarie with about 20 others in the same class.

Having checked the weather forecast in the morning though, the signs were ominous...gale force southerly gusts predicted - up to 40 knots. Now that's what I call windy, and suddenly sailing didn't appeal to me one little bit.

I called Peter to check if the race was still on (not wanting to pull out myself as I may not get asked in the future!). I should have guessed that his answer would have been "yes", after all he's a professional sailor, and wind is what these guys like the most. Of course the race was still on.

"Are you still coming?" he asked.

"Sure thing" I said, trying my best to sound convincing and nonchalant at the same time.

Another look out of the window confirmed my fears though....

  • The large gum trees in the garden blowing horizontally? Check.
  • Threatening, dark clouds? Check.
  • Leaves and branches scattered all over the road? Check.
  • Gina looking more worried than I was? Check.

Okaaayyyy, with my bravest smile I said farewell to Gina and the kids and wandered off to meet Peter at the jetty. Within an hour of arriving, the race had begun with five of us on the boat.

It was exhilarating to put it mildly.

I only play a bit part in the race (pulling the odd rope, letting go of a clip here and there and passing the beer around during a lull), but it's amazing to see the other four jumping madly all over the boat in a superb show of coordination, especially in high wind. At times, the high gusts meant the yacht was right up on its side and we had to lean over (hang on for dear life, in my case) to make sure we made best use of the wind.

The race normally lasts over 2 hours, but we finished in less than 1 hour 20 minutes...

And, even better, we finished in 2nd place !!

This could get addictive...

0 comments - click here to leave your comment: