We have a strict 'no sailor left behind' policy on Thursday's Child. We always want people to have a chance to get out on the water. This generally works out well as often crew are unable to make it at the last minute. Somehow on this day almost every crew member I had invited showed up. This was awesome, until I realized I was about to cast off with 14 people on my boat; twice the number of crew I would usually race with. As we were heading out I could really feel the extra weight on the boat. She bobbed more than usual, and didn't stand up quite so quickly when leaning over with waves and turns. I did some quick math (yeah right) and figured that the 2000lbs of led on the bottom of the boat was handily outweighed by the 14 people and gear on top of the boat. Fortunately TC crew member and fellow Hotfoot 31 owner 2014 Ironman Australia Champion Elliot Holtham was out on his boat to race and was looking for crew. I quickly selected my three... err... meatiest crew members and pawned them off on Xcentric (Sorry Dan, Orion, and Brent!). Down to 10 svelte crew members and myself we set the boat up to sail, ran through a few quick drills and got ready to race.
New bottom and new pace! We started on time, in the best place to be on the start-line, and with great speed! We were off like a herd of angry turtles on rollerskates. We were rocketing towards the mark (A navigation buoy off of Stanley Park) and were handily ahead of the boats we were competing against. As sailboats aren't capable of sailing directly in to the wind we have to tack up wind towards the mark. On one tack we were on a collision course with Talisman. Shane, the skipper of Talisman called out that he had right-of-way (which he did) and in the spirit of competition we pushed our tack to the last possible minute. The intention was to tack to put ourselves directly in-front of Talisman which would have meant we had right-of-way and force him to either head towards the wind to go around us (which is slow) or tack away which would give us the advantage of sailing a shorter distance and with fewer speed-costing maneuvers. We completed our tack, Talisman had to head up and towards the mark we went. MUA HA HA HA "I'm so good" thought I! America's Cup watch out here my crew and I come on my little boat! Unfortunately Shane saw this differently and felt that I was perhaps being less tactful and more kamikaze in my attempt to slow him down. Shane called protest and eventually flew a protest flag. Confident that we were in the right we sailed on and we had a very respectful second place finish, behind... you guessed it... Talisman... Grumble.
The second race was much less eventful, we managed a terrible start (my fault entirely), but with great crew work we recovered brilliantly. We sped around the course and finished first in our division! WOOT! I thoroughly enjoyed calling out to Trev the skipper the of much faster and bigger Mañana who has on occasion intimated that I follow him around the race course, "How in the hell am I supposed to follow you if I'm ahead of you!?". I couldn't quite here his response but it sounded like he was calling me "Duck-hough"? I don't know what that means though... I think it might have been German?
As is the tradition after racing the skippers and crew of each yacht gathered together to drink beer and recount the day's events in the pub at the Vancouver Rowing Club. Talisman's protest was definitely the topic du jour. Most skippers were venturing an opinion and everyone was arguing both sides. I think if we'd left it up to them we would have both been disqualified for some reason or another.
Slingshot Skipper and good friend Kevin was convinced that, in order to prove his position in relation to my boat, Shane aboard Talisman should have hit Thursday's Child, protested us, had us thrown out. Thursday's Child should have in turn protested Talisman for unsportsmanlike behavior for hitting us and had them thrown out. Somehow this idea seemed a special combination of beer-fueled and unappealing to both Shane and I. The most frustrating part of this entire situation is that however certain that I was in the right, Shane is equally emphatic that I was in the wrong. To add to this is that I completely trust Shane he is a good friend and a good sportsman. How is it possible two perspectives could result in two vastly different accounts of the same situation. The fortunate thing is that either way the results were not affected... Talisman did beat us after all so this is all somewhat academic and rooted in morality. Having said that, in the interest of sportsmanship I will retire from the race if it becomes evident that I was in the wrong. I'm polling my crew to get their take and will keep y'all posted! (All three of the people who read this blog... Grandma, Mom and I suspect Shane this time...)
Judge for yourself!
To view both races including the protested crossing head on over to the RaceQ's Tracker by clicking here. In the interest of fairness, I should mention that the tracking system used isn't exactly accurate and should not be considered to be sacrosanct by any means. Often it is off by a few boat lengths.