Remember this crew of sailors? It's TC and his buddies. In the middle is John, he's the captain of their sailboat, Out of the Blue. OOTB is a J24, which means she's a twenty four foot boat that is designed to race. She's got a cabin and you could sleep there, but you probably wouldn't want to for more that a night. She's designed for racing, not vacationing.
J24s are a popular boat. You can probably find one in just about any marina. At our marina there are a handful of them. In fact, there are enough similar boats that they race twice a week all summer and sometimes even travel to Maine and Nova Scotia to race. In Canada, especially on the coast, sailing is really big.
This week, the OOTB crew has a once in a lifetime chance - racing in the World Championship!
The Worlds are at a different location every year and this year the race is in Rochester, New York on Lake Ontario. I know, weird to be on a lake and not the ocean, but remember that Lake Ontario is like an ocean since it has big waves, tides and huge wind.
There are 15 countries represented and over 130 boats. The European boats were shipped over and the Japanese team unwrapped a brand new boat this weekend right there in New York.
Not to be outdone, OOTB drove their thirty year old boat down and even managed to blow out a tire on the way. Everything is an adventure with these guys.
While some of the fancier, sponsored teams are living the high life in hotels, TC and the crew have set up what they are lovingly calling Camp Canada, which features a party/cooking tent, an old Canadian flag and another ten tents where all the Canadian boat crews are sleeping right at the marina.
Apparently they've become quite popular and the other boat crews like to come by and hang out. TC says it's because everyone around the world knows that Canadians are the most friendly and fun to hang out with. To this, I rolled my eyes.
So, they spent the weekend getting the boats ready to race. Each boat has to be weighed and measured so everything is even and fair. They measure and weigh everything they can get their hands on - ropes, anchors, pulleys, sails, life jackets...everything...including the crew. Sometimes a heavy boat is good. When there is a lot of wind you want a heavy boat for ballast. When the wind is light, you want a light boat so it doesn't drag. In these kind of races there are weight and size minimums and maximums on everything.
In this type of race the boats are not racing from point A to point B. Instead, a typical J24 race has two or three races per day. Each race is a course with big buoys that you have to go around. Sometimes the course is a triangle shape and sometimes it is a sausage. There are all kinds of rules and penalties but if you hit another boat or hit a buoy then you have to make your boat do a 360, which is a pain in the ass and time consuming.
Yesterday, the boys had a practice race to get used to the lake and make sure everything was working properly. It must have been, because they won! They were even awarded a big bottle of rum to bring back to Camp Canada.
The first day of official racing was today. Can you imagine being out there on the starting line with a hundred other boats? It's crazy! I don't know how they all don't tip over and crash into each other. It defies the laws of physics.
I searched and searched for a photo of OOTB racing today, but to no avail. I also couldn't find the results. I'm not a very good sail widow.
In the mean time, thank you CJ and the World Championship FB page for letting me steal your photos.