On Tuesday of last week the weather forecast was "iffy". Light winds and possible thunderstorms in the area. Should I go sailing or not? I watched the sky. I checked the weather forecast. I studied the radar maps hour by hour..
Eventually at about 3 o'clock I decided. What the hell, I'm going sailing. What's the worst that could happen? Oh, I guess I could be struck by lightning, but I'll stay reasonably close to the launch area, keep an eye on the sky, and head back in if it starts to look ominous.
When I arrived at Independence Park in Bristol things were looking good. There was a gentle westerly wind blowing, and in the sky to the west there was a bright blue patch among the surrounding clouds. Seemed like things were going to be clear for a couple of hours.
As I launched I could see what looked like a thunderstorm way to the south over Portsmouth and Middletown. I practiced sailing up and down the harbor, trying to remember all the light air skills that I had been taught at Kurt Taulbee's clinic in Florida. The area of clear sky came directly towards me, but then a huge long cloud like a man's arm pushed out of the blue with what looked like a comic book fist about to zap the zenith. Dramatic, but no thunder.
I half expected some of the Laserite crowd that were here two weeks before to come out and practice too. But at 5pm none of them had appeared. Maybe they were freaked by the weather forecast? Maybe someone sent round an email saying, "no sailing this week". Whatever. In an case, I didn't get the memo.
I kept on with my practice. Some A-cats came out from the yacht club for their regular Wednesday night races. Then around 5:30 pm another Laser did come out to join me. Never seen the guy before. Another ex-pat newcomer to the area it seemed. He was hoping to sail with the Tuesday night regulars but I guess he didn't get the memo either. We talked about where we had been sailing in the last year and did a few practice races in the light airs.
We sailed in before the wind totally died. There was no thunder. Nobody got struck by lightning. Just two Laser dudes racing round a sausage on a summer evening. Priceless.