My first sail on Fernridge was in 1986. After so many summers, you start to get into a rhythm and years of low water are a real nuisance. The last few years have been phenomenal! We have had plenty of water, and this year has graced us, so far, with clear air and warm but not hot days.
Our Tuesday night events have been fun and each week we see many new faces on the water. This is essential to keep our sport healthy and active. Hopefully, some percentage of the new faces will join the race community as well. Since 2008, we have seen the number of PHRF boats racing on Thursdays dwindle from around 20 down to 7 or 8. I understand that racing is not for everyone, but for those of us who enjoy it, the benefits are many. Back in 1986, we were just getting into regularly planned sailing days and racing was not on our radar. One evening, we joined in a weeknight race (I think it was on Wednesdays back then). We were hooked right away and began learning about how to join formally. We also began to study “The Racing Rules of Sailing” which at the time, were way more complicated than today. I say that not just because I am more familiar with them today, but because a big simplification effort was put into it in the late 1990’s. I believe they succeeded. Part 1 and Part 2 contain the 9 or so important pages to follow. The rest is back-up material such as how to run a race, and other forms of racing.
So, because of racing, I find myself to be a more confident sailor when cruising. Because of racing, I have gone out in conditions that I might have avoided without the drive to compete. I mean, why go out in a blow in foul weather? Right? When cruising, you may be out and the conditions will suddenly change. Because of racing, I know how to handle that situation and am able to do so without panic or jeopardizing my crew. Because of racing, I have invested more time into learning many sailing skills such as picking laylines and trimming sails effectively. These skills help you to be more efficient when cruising and make your trips less stressful and more enjoyable.
Bottom line: I would highly recommend learning and participating in racing. It may be a little intimidating at first, but most racers will be helpful when asked. Advice is free and will be always be given with the best of intentions as we all profit from you becoming a better sailor.
Back to this season: We have one more Regatta left on the lake in the form of the Harvest Regatta. I will, unfortunately be out of town and will miss it. Saturday and Sunday, September 7 & 8 are the dates. If nothing else, come out and watch the event from your boat. Try to stay clear of the racers for pure courtesy, but the rules of the road apply to them as well.
Finally, The Triton Emerald Cup had fewer participants this year, so I”m sure that the board will be discussing how to improve attendance for next year. I know that the timing for me was bad and that June works better for my Summer schedule. Again, these discussions will be happening and we will see what solutions are proposed.
Ohana is out of the water now because of other late Summer commitments, but we’ll be back first thing in the spring. In the meantime, I’ll see you out on the water from other peoples boats. This activity/sport is in my blood and so I will always participate at whatever level my body and schedule permit.
Don’t forget to be preparing for the end of the season with the lake draw-down set to begin on October 1. Keep a watch for any notices from the Army Corps of Engineers that indicate an early draw as they did last season. Let’s hope they don’t, but as always, “Be prepared!”
Fair winds and following seas!