Today was one of those days that make you glad to be alive.
I arrived at the lake and helped a new member of the Laser fleet rig his boat. The wind was whistling in the rigging of the boats in the boat park - probably gusting in the mid-20s. I was raring to go. After 8 days of heavy air practice I was feeling confident.
One of the other sailors came by - a man whose ability I respect enormously, and he asked if I was going out. I was flabbergasted. Is there any question? Of course I am.
When we get out to the race area there are whitecaps all over the course and a few of the less experienced sailors have already returned to shore. The beat is a gut-wrenching, thigh-burning, back-aching grind but it's fun. Downwind the boat just skims over the wavetops. In these conditions, I think the boat goes faster on a lake with little waves than on the sea where it slows down as it tries to go over each wave. Halfway down the run in the second race, a humongous gust hits us. The boat starts to death roll but I throw my body over the side and keep steering. For what feels like 10 seconds I am suspended like that with only the gunwhale in the water as the boat skids downwind heeled at 45 degrees on the edge of control. Somehow it flattened and then it's a wild wild ride all the way to the leeward mark. I look behind and everywhere I see upturned hulls with centerboards pointing to the sky. Man this is fun.
When I get back to shore after racing, I am still pumped up. It seems that my early season practice in Florida and N. Carolina has paid off. Now I am loving the heavy stuff. I'm feeling good.
On the car radio on the way home I listened to the end of the Yankees game. For the second day in a row they have had superb starting pitching and have shut out the Oakland A's. Life is good.