Rick said I needed to be the one to write up our excursion Tuesday night.
We were sitting on Dragon III in Collingwood Yacht Club in an almost dead calm, idly talking about making dinner while we looked at different boats around the harbour who were still flying their regatta flags. People began to arrive and we guessed that it must be a race night. Some of them recognized our regatta flag, and tried to get us to come racing. We declined. Doug from Sgian Dhu called over as he single-handed out of the harbour, saying that he was Race Committee and that we should come racing. I'm told that Doug is the competitive fellow who is so fussy about boat weight that his regatta crew eats ramen noodles cooked with lake water. We watched the rest of the fleet leave. They mostly didn't look too intimidating. Finally Tiroc (loud older guys) called to us again to come racing, and we looked at each other and said Let's do it!
As we got out of harbour we had to rush around finding the jibsheets, our shoes, the light number 1 sail, etc, and rig things. We caught up to Doug and called over to find out what was going on. He vaguely explained the course "you go around this triangle of buoys, but if nobody gets to the green then you just come straight back from the green one and finish here" and sort of explained the start sequence, and Rick told him that we'd be sailing whitesails and would give him our rating afterwards. (The start was about )
We had a non-aggressive start (partly because there was no wind to be aggressive with and partly because I was driving while Rick was still rigging the foresail) in a fleet of about 9 boats. We had a starboard start but were behind everyone else. After a little while, we were approaching another boat which was on port tack. So Rick called "Starboard" and the older couple on that boat shouted back "We have no way! We aren't moving! We can't steer because we have no way" which did not seem true to me, but they were very worked up about it. Rick called back politely "If you aren't moving you won't hit us!" but they didn't seem to grasp that concept. The man ran up to his foredeck and fended us off firmly with his bare foot while his partner called "That's how you break your ankle!", and the fending-off made us tack. Anyway, after the tack we pulled away from them, and headed smoothly for the mark, making better time than the other boats who had started near us. I kept looking to the front of the fleet trying to figure out the 8-oclock thing. A J-80 reached the mark, popped up an asymmetric chute, and headed right back at the harbour, so I assumed they knew what they were doing. Second to the mark was Agent 99, the X-boat from the regatta, and they seemed to be doing something different. After that, we were the next boats to the mark (!) so we followed the J back down towards the start. By this time both of us were really getting into the racing mood, so Rick pulled out the lightest spinnaker and the little sheets and went up to rig them while I steered. I watched the knotlog speed drop and called up to ask Rick what I should do to get the speed back up. He said "It's just my fat ass on the bow, there's nothing you can do." We rounded the mark, headed down, the spinnaker went up tidily, and Rick flew it as I drove and nobody caught up to us. It felt great! I had to stand on the seats because it was the only way I could see over the dodger and steer, and we didn't put the umbrella away either. Near the end, Rick doused the spinnaker all by himself and got it in dry to the bag on the foredeck. I suggested that to get the full flavour of being foredeck crew I should yell at him to do it quicker, so he decided to yell at himself instead. Laura, you would have been proud of both of us, and not just because of the no yelling - we didn't even get the lines tangled.
Anyway, we came up to the two pins which were the start, and there was no sign of the committee boat, so we took our time and went back to harbour. Eventually everyone else came in. We found out that Doug had actually changed his mind during the race about how to shorten course, and announced it on the radio for people who were listening to the radio. And that the J-80 and Agent 99 weren't actually eligible for the race, so they did whatever they felt like for practice after the first leg. But since everyone else in the race followed us, they had no finishers! We talked to Doug for a bit, and then the guys on Tiroc invited us over there with some other racers, so we listened to them all complain about Doug. It was pretty funny.
So now I can say I've raced on