After two cloudy rainy days in Cabarete, on our third day there last month the sun came out and stayed out for most of the rest of the week. Woo hoo!
Day 3 of the clinic was devoted to boat speed upwind and downwind. Aaah Boat Speed. That magic ingredient that is vital to winning races. Some sailors seem to have it. Some don't. What's the secret? God knows I really do need to improve my boat speed.
Rulo talked to us about sail settings, and body movements upwind, and how to use the waves downwind, and upturns, and downturns, and all sorts of other good stuff until my head was spinning. Then it was out on the water for some drills involving long sails upwind and downwind to practice what we had been taught.
It was sunny. The wind was 8-13 knots. We sailed outside of the reef. There were swells you could surf on. What's not to like? This is what you come to Cabarete for. Woo hoo!
We were out for over three hours and my back definitely knew it had been working hard by the time we hit the beach. But a post-sail Banana Mama at the EZE Bar relaxed me wonderfully. And so to dinner with the beautiful Tillerwoman and assorted other sailors at the EZE Bar. Penne Caprese never tasted so good.
The fourth and final day of the clinic was devoted to starts, which god knows I really do need to improve. The winds were fairly light and from the north all day, and we worked on our starting drills just outside the entrance to the reef. The downwind legs of our practice races were painfully slow but I did manage to finish in the top three several times. It was another day of over three hours on the water, which sort of made up for the truncated sessions on the first two days because of the weird wind conditions then. And so to dinner with the beautiful Tillerwoman and assorted other sailors at the EZE Bar. Man, the sea bass was good.
The final day of the week was a regatta which was sailed inside the reef. The conditions were superb - force 4 winds I guess. Because of the relatively constricted sailing area within the reef we sailed 3-lap windward-leeward races with a short reach to finish. 5 races with 1 drop. I surprised myself by getting some great starts but I usually managed to waste them by screwing up the entry to the starboard tack layline, the windward mark rounding and/or the leeward mark rounding all of which were very crowded. Or so it seems now in my memory. On a positive note, in almost every race I was be able to pass one or more boats on the final reach. As I consider myself to be bad at reaches, and we hadn't really worked on reaches at all in the week, that was a pleasant surprise.
The regatta was a helluva lot of fun and a fitting end to the week.
For reasons that are now lost in an alcoholic haze, our little group of sailors from southern New England had decided during the week to call ourselves the Massapoag Mashers and to adopt as our mascot a sausage sailing a Laser. Don't ask. It made sense at the time I am sure. So on our final night in Cabarete I was determined to take the Massapoag Mashers to Jose O'Shea's Irish Pub so that I, for one, could enjoy bangers and mash.
Not the bangers and mash at Jose O'Shea's