Saturday, July 21, 2007
Sail Nicely, Christ Is Watching
We sailed the practice race today.
The tide had just started to flow (come in) about the time we were to start and during the slack tide time, somehow our starting line was placed in the middle of a liquid garbage dump. There were plastic grocery bags semi submurged all over the place. There were palm frons. There were leaves. There was a window frame with a screen still installed in it. I'm going to assume the rest of the house must have sunk. This is mildly off-putting, but one of the Hobie-16 sailors reported seeing what was either a dead dog or a dead pig floating somewhere near the port layline. Anyway, this racing is going to present some unique challenges because while there is is a very long starting line to provide room for the Hobie 16s which go warp 27. You really ought to see them. Most times I've seen a Hobie 16 it's been being piloted by a honeymoon couple at Sandals. Here the sails are all new. Both harnesses are installed and the crew is horizontal. The weather rudder is popped up and it's carbon. In short, these boats fly...silently. Anyway, they require a lot of on-ramp. So we start on a big line and there is immediately lots of potential separation. If two boats tack away right off the line and sail for 5 minutes they're a LONG way away. It doesn't take a very big shift for them to be launched. Theres not much to be done about situations like that. Normally, you could sail up the middle sailing the windshifts. Here the current seems to dictate a different strategy. We will see.
In the practice race we had a difficult start. We had to to two clearing tacks, but were lucky with a little right shirt. We sailed off on starboard just upwind of Chile and Brazil. We were holding them off well...even separating off them to weather. Then they started sailing out from under us. In about 3 minutes they went from just underneath us to about 3 boat lengths in front. We tried a lot of tuning adjustments before determining there was something on our centerboard. We cleared it. We got to the weather mark about 2 tacks and a garbage bag behind the fleet. Then we went downwind and passed all but two and got right back into the race which was gratifying. We closed the gap with the leaders up the second beat and then they (Chile and Brazil) droped out. It's bad luck to finish the practice race. We continued one more lap of the course and were leading when we sailed by (not through) the finish line. We'll be ready to go tomorrow.
God may always be watching. But here, it somehow seems slightly more on our minds
At no time did anyone raise their voice on the boat today. We've decided that when the race course is being policed by an approximtely 20-story statue of Christ, you'd better be nice. Wednesday is the lay day and our team is scheduled to go to the
Christ the Redeemer statue and the tram ride at the Sugerloaf mountain. I hope we can at least see the two famous beaches. I also hope we have wind on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday so we won't be sailing on Wednesday and miss the tour.
Tonight's "Neatest Thing That Happened Today" Dedicated to Camryn and Sabrina:
The most interesting thing that happened today took place on our ride home. We were driving away from the Gloria Marina complex along the cityfront when a tourist bus actually almost identical to ours...not in the village vehicle pool pulled right across the road in front of us and stopped. The driver was merging onto the road on a conventional on-ramp when he apparantly decided to TURN LEFT at the onramp and go South into the Northbound lanes. That would have been one very acute angle turn in a Mini Cooper and he was trying it in a 65' bus. Our driver pushed his foot through the floor. I was in the front seat. I almost left the font seat for the windshield...my bad was temporarily in earth rotation. Incredibly, we didn't hit him. I have no idea what the other bus driver was thinking. I was thinking we were really lucky we didn't go right through the side of his bus. We might have come directly out the other side. If driving through greater Rio on the way to go sailing doesn't remind us how lucky we are, that might have been a not so subtle refresher. That was the 'neatest' thing that happened today.
Ok only one picture tonight. Happy Sunday in N. America and sail fast to all the Lightnings in Greece!