Saturday it was hot as blazes. Or as we used to say, 'wicked hot.' I drove to Lake Phalen for the annual TransPhalen Regatta, a race between all the instructors and instructor assistants in the Red Cross Sailing Program. I've raced this race for the last 6 years and have never won. Other than the heat, it was a perfect day. The skies were blue and the wind was blowing. We rigged the boats and hit the water at 11:00.
The course was set up with a buoy at each of the four "corners" of the lake. The route was a one time circumnavigation of the lake in a counterclockwise direction, cross through the start and once again in a clockwise direction. Normally I botch the start somehow, and then spend the rest of the race trying to catch up. But not this year. This year I had a fabulous start. I crossed the line second and headed on my first tack right behind the guy who has won the race the last two years running. When I came about the first time is where things all went to hell. I tacked, but it seems like the wind shifted at the same moment. So the boat turned, the sail crossed, but I was sitting there doing nothing. So I started falling off and finally found the wind. I sailed that tack but gave up way too much of the lake and fell behind. And after that, I spent the rest of the time trying to catch up. In reality, I spent the entire first lap trying to figure out what the hell the wind was doing.
Once we changed directions I felt much more in tune with the boat and the wind. I had fallen to fourth place by this point, and I knew that first or second was out of reach unless one of those guys capsized. So I just raced my own race from that point. I had several great tacks where I was hiked out the full length of my body. It may not be the fastest point of sail, but it's one of the most exciting, especially on a Sunfish. I managed to make up some time and did pass the third place sailor. She's fairly petite and the wind was really pushing her around, so I think I passed her based on weight, not skill. I held on and finished third.
This was my first regatta of the year and my first time out on a boat this year, so I was really rusty. And it showed. I'm happy with the finish, because usually I finish further down, but lack of time on the water really showed. But the most important part is that it was a blast, as always. The people who volunteer for the program are great, and it's always fun to get to see them and sail with them.
If anybody is interested in learning to sail, I can't say enough good things about the Red Cross program. For a mere $100 you get 8 three hour training sessions (that's only $4.16 per hour), and with the exception of the first night every session includes time on the water. If you would like more info about the program, feel free to contact me.
Date: July 17
Ride type: Commute
July mileage: 131
Year to date mileage: 1953
Date: July 18
Ride type: Commute
July mileage: 154
Year to date mileage: 1976