Fri 11 Jan
What if you threw a party and nobody showed up?
What if you were the race committee for a major regatta and none of the sailors would sail out to the course?
It didn't quite come to that. But almost.
The first day of the 2008 Laser Caribbean Midwinter Regatta couldn't have been a bigger contrast to last year's event. Last year we had waves the size of houses, and winds that... hmmm.... how do they describe big winds in the Caribbean? Blowing dogs off chains? Koalas off trees? I dunno.
In any case there weren't any dogs or koalas whistling through the palm trees this year. At the appointed launch time there wasn't any wind whatsoever.
The committee boat set out for the race area. The AP flag on shore came down at 11am. All the sailors sat on the beach.
The committee waited. The sailors waited. Who would blink first?
A light zephyr wafted across the surface of the water and a few sailors broke ranks. The rest of us watched from the beach as they drifted away on the current, making little or no progress towards the race area.
Around 1pm the rest if us launched and sailed out in a light wind to the committee boat. Where we waited. And waited. And waited.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not criticizing the race committee. The wind just wasn't cooperating. During the wait I tried to practice some of the light air skills that Rulo had taught us on the clinic.
Eventually the committee started a sequence in a light breeze with the current pushing us upwind over the line. General recall. What a surprise. Black flag. Another general recall. Three boats black flagged. Fun, fun, fun.
Then we got away. I made a diabolically bad start near the committee boat followed by a botched tack to clear my air. Hmmm. I'm already with the tail-enders.
It was a two lap windward-leeward course with a downwind finish. I tried to find a clear lane and play the side of the course that I figured would take most advantage of the current. I passed a few boats.
The committee tried to start another race under a black flag but after one general recall where nobody was flagged (how is that possible?) and another one where confusing numbers were posted, they called it a day.
Back on the beach one of the sailors black flagged was organizing some others to file a request for redress. The PRO didn't look too happy. It had been a difficult and frustrating day to be a race committee too.
Not the best day of racing I've ever had. But hey, there's Ron in the hotel room, and wait... it's Friday. Must go to Jose O'Shea's Irish pub for fish and chips on the beach.
Life is good.