Yesterday, Lulu and I joined Dave and Marj on Kievit for a little regatta. Turns out there were only four boats competing but, what the hey. Lulu and I have never done any racing except on Kievit, and then, only once, so we're not a hell of a lot of help. But it was just a race for the fun of it so it didn't really matter all that much.
The race started out somewhat dubiously. D & M had attended a skippers' meeting to get the course layout, etc. The diagram we received made the course look like it was just a long straight course. Around the two buoys twice and done. We headed out from the marina a little early to get the sails up and get a little feel for the course before the race started. You can see how seriously we were all taking the race as Lulu checks to see where the heck the wind is coming from and Dave readies the fishing gear.
Finally, all 4 boats were out on the course and it was getting close to starting time. Again, my experience is limited but from what I could gather from Dave, the way these things usually work is that a specific starting time is set. a horn is sounded 5 minutes before the starting time and then sounded again to start the race at the precise time previously announced. During that 5 minutes, the racers are jockeying for position. The idea is to be as close to the starting line as possible, going as fast as possible when the starting horn sounds to get a running start. The race was supposed to start at 1:00 and all communication would be on channel 69. We set the VHF to the right channel and started heading up to the starting line to be in position. Then we hear over the radio that the race would start in 10 minutes (or something like that; it was hard to understand what was being said as most of it was in Spanish). OK, we'll go around again. We pass the committee boat, where the starting official is, and ask "how long?". They come back with "three minutes". Then, a few seconds later, over the radio, we hear that it'll be four minutes. Then we hear it'll be five minutes. It was impossible to keep the starting time straight. Finally, we thought we had it right and started chugging to the starting line. It was getting closer and closer and there was no indication that the start was imminent. We sort of slowed down as best we could and hollered at the committee boat, "When?" We didn't really get an answer until we were pretty sure we were over the starting line. Then the official on the committee boat said, "OK". OK what? OK, it's time to start? Or OK, you're looking good and can continue? We had no idea so we just started racing. Of course, by now, in order to not go over the line too soon, we had slowed down and lost speed. The other three boats headed off in a NW direction and we headed on a SW course to build our speed back up. But, it turned out that Kievit can point so high that we were actually on a really good course for the first mark.
There were some tense moments several times as we neared and rounded the buoys. Our main competition was a brown-hulled Mexican Cal 29. I can't remember the name so I'll just call it "the brown boat". This guy could turn on a dime. We'd go around the mark and he'd be right beside us and between us and the mark. It was pretty cool to watch. Anyway, we all went around the first buoy and then we thought we were supposed to go to the other buoy. But the brown boat's skipper said, no, we had to go back across the starting line and then go to the other mark. Huh? That meant that the course, instead of being in a straight line like it showed on the diagram, was actually L-shaped. Geez! Could this be any more confusing?
Well, we managed to follow the course with help from the other boats. Dave made a couple of very smart calls as far as how to go before tacking and we ultimately crossed the finish line first. Of course, we were the biggest boat and, after all the handicaps were figured in, we came in 3rd on corrected time. Seems like there should also be a correction for whether or not your boat is all loaded up for cruising as Kievit is. But, whatever, we know who crossed the finish line first. If we'd been trying to be the first ones to get our goods to market, the other boats would have gone home hungry.
The weather was beautiful although a little more wind would have been nice. But, it was warm and sunny and the seas were quite calm. Only thing that would have been better would have been if we'd hooked a big ol' dorado.
Obligatory food content:
I decided I'd make dinner tonight. I love to play with my pressure cooker, y'know. I spent the afternoon putting together "BBQ" ribs, oven-roasted potatoes, and fresh steamed green beans. The ribs weren't actually ribs as near as I could tell. Oh, they probably came from somewhere in the vicinity of the rib cage I imagine. I think that, once the really nice slabs were harvested, they handed the leftovers to the bandsaw operator and said "Cut this into as many 1.5" wide strips as you can." It was pretty unrecognizable anatomically-speaking but, after pressure cooking for 13 minutes followed by a nice finish under the broiler, it tasted mighty fine. Next time I'm getting real rib slabs.
Music: Been listening to "The Loft" on the Sirius/XM radio. I'd swear these guys stole my iPod and then just added a few songs of their own. What a great station most of the time. This afternoon we've heard EmmyLou Harris, James MacMurtry, Buffalo SPringfield, Dion, The Delphonics, War, Robert Cray, The Flatlanders, Tift Merrit, Drive-By Truckers and so on. If you wonder what kind of music we like and happen to have access to Sirius/XM, tune into The Loft and find out. BTW, I found out about The Loft when I heard them playing it at The Container, the bar/restaurant that Keith (s/v Chamisa) and I frequented in San Jose Del Cabo on the way down here.