Friday, September 9, 2011

Sailing the Rum Race.

What did you do last night? Anything fun? No? 

Oh, well I went sailing. Like on a real sail boat. In a race.

Let me back up a bit. We live right near the ocean where there is a marina. The Canadian and his buddies all grew up sailing there as kids. Today, they still continue to race. They just happen to sail on bigger, faster boats. John, TC's bestie, now owns a J24 named Out of the Blue. John, Tyler, Jackson and Andrew all race OOTB during the summer and The Canadian helps crew when he's around in the spring and fall. Last night was the last weeknight race for the season and for some reason they call it the Rum Race. Basically, its an excuse to drink rum while they sail. Tyler and Andrew couldn't make it so I somehow got suckered into going out with them. Let me state for the record that I do not, under any circumstance, know how to sail. Nor do I have any desire to learn how to sail. I'm perfectly content to sit there, hang out and stay the hell out of the way.

We got to the boat late. Which apparently is normal for the OOTB crew. Jackson jumped right below and started getting out the sails and getting the boat ready to go.

Jayne stepped in last night to crew as well. The biggest difference between her and I is she is a sailing badass. The girl knows her stuff. She immediately started unrolling the main sail and getting it ready.

We motored out to the bay to join the other boats while Jayne and The Canadian raised the main sail.

There are two sails on a J24 -- the main sail and the jib. The main sail went up first and then they went to work on the jib. Mind you, at this point the race is about to start. We were a tad bit behind.

All the boats were positioning to start at the sound of the horn when we finally got the sails up. 

My favorite part of sailing is hearing the names of the other boats. The usual competitors are Blackjack, Joker, The Simpsons, Rumblefish, Courage, Muffin, TipSea (haha), Knauti Boys (bahaha!), August Wind, Mastreal and a few others that I can't remember.

If I was going to name a boat I would go with 'Cupcake.' Then I'd paint it navy and purple. Just in case you were wondering.

We were near Courage right at the start. We gave them a little wave as we blew past them. Afterall, it's owned by Andrew's dad and it is the boat that the boys used to crew on before John bought OOTB a few years ago. 

As the wind picked up I just stared at my Sperry's and was happy that no one had asked me to do anything sailing related yet. So far, so good. Score one for me and my camera. 

The boys and Jayne, however, were working hard to keep us on course. It wasn't too windy but it was raining a bit and getting a little chilly. Plus, this was the Rum Race so we were hoping to do well. 

I honestly don't know how they keep all these lines strait. At the bottom of the mast there is a whole mess of "lines" and "haliyards" and "sheets" that are much too complicated for my feeble motor-boat-loving mind. John simply yells "Let out the jib!" and the boys just magically know where to pull, what to pull and how much to pull. It boggles the mind.

If I were in charge of this boat it would be upside down and floating backwards. Probably towards a rock. It's a damn good thing Captain John is in charge of the tiller. So you know, the tiller is the wooden thingy that controls the rudder to steer the boat. It's basically a steering wheel on a stick.

Meanwhile, The Candian was working hard on the front of the boat (aka the foredeck) to keep the jib where John wanted it. 

I kept staring at my Sperry's and hoping no one would notice me unless they needed to utilize my bartending skills. Remember, it was the Rum Race and there was rum to be had.

Jackson was in the back of the boat working the main sheet. That means that he kept his eye on the main sail and pulled the sheet (aka rope) to trim the sail and keep it full of wind. I think...

Anyway, The Simpsons were gaining on us...

Which meant we were going to have to bust out the can of whoop-ass and get all tactical on them.

Eventually we rounded the buoy which means one thing. Changing direction. Which means one thing. Flying the spinnaker. 

Next to hearing the boat names this is my favorite part of sailing. Spinnakers are big sails that go up in place of the jib (the front sail). They are usually bright colors and look really pretty. The only catch is they cause a little bit of chaos when the crew puts it up and takes it down.

So Jackson jumped in the pit and got the spinnaker ready to fly. 

Then Jayne and The Canadian lowered the jib and put up the spinnaker. Again, I just tried to stay out of the way.

See what I mean? I love it when a manly boat flies a pretty pink sail.

We kept on sailing and Jackson kept cranking the main sheet...jib...whichever...

And John kept driving...

And it was intense. (Note: this is John's intense face. it's very similar to his relaxed face.)

Do you see how close we are to that other boat? I have a heart attack and they don't even blink.

This went on for a few laps around the buoys and somehow I managed to keep my composure. Thank the Lord.

By the time we finished it was dark. We were all a bit chilly but the rum was definitely helping keep us warm. Fortunately there was a BBQ afterwards while they presented the Rum Race trophy. Rumblefish took the win while OOTB finished 4th overall.

And you know what? I'm good with that. Everyone had a good time and I was just thankful the boat didn't capsize. Not that I'm a weenie or anything, but you know what I mean.

**Warning! I do NOT know what I'm talking about where sailing is concerned. This is what I think happened and what I think they're doing. It's probably all incorrect. I may have mixed up the jib and the mast for all I know. Whatever.

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