beer can races

A neighbor invited me to a race. The Friday night yacht club races, also known as the “beer can” races. I immediately accepted the invite, despite not being a competitive person.

The race was great. Beautiful night to go sailing! I was sopping wet by the end of the night and apparently showing up in jeans and a cute rain jacket isn’t going to cut it. After a beer at the yacht club and the race winner announcements, I rowed home (yep, I even rowed over to a boat on the next dock over from me) to get into some dry clothes.

We got third place by the way, which is weird because we were the first ones back in the harbor. I guess there are “handicaps” that get your time boosted or knocked down by what equipment (extra sails) you use. I’ve only raced once before and it was a while ago so I learned some new terms. When someone yells:

“Butt cleat!!” It means to lift up your arse, you’re sitting on a line that needs to move freely

“High card!!” It means you’re about to be passed by another boat, get all your weight on the high side of the boat to help speed it up

There were others but I can’t remember them right now. It was nice to see the spinnakers flying behind us going down wind, and I realized quickly into the race that not only is the skipper bad ass for not having/using a motor but he was so clear and precise in his direction, never once yelling. I hear horror stories of skippers who can’t direct or handle stress, they yell at the crew and make everyone’s tension rise. It’s so pleasant being in good company, even if all I am is a dead weight.

By the end of the sail I had perfected my tacking move, whatever that’s supposed to be called. When switching sides of the boat, all I had to do was try to even out the boat by sitting on the high side. Usually three or four people do this. Tonight, we had three. To get from one side to the other, slipping under the boom and trying not to get tangled in the lines and magically getting your legs underneath the lifelines all needs to be done in a matter of seconds. Seconds!!!

By the time myself and the boat were completely soaked, it made my move easy and slick! As soon as the announcement as made that we were “going to tack in 3, 2..” (lay back and bring my right knee over, flatten out so that I’m lying stomach down on the deck, pull my legs up to get ready to push off and lunge forward) “…1, tacking!” (the boat is tipping over on the opposite side at this point and I’m literally staring at the water, I start to slide forward with a little push from my feet that are securing me on the other side, and whoosh I slip and slide across the deck, arms out grabbing whatever is secure so that I can rotate a little to my left, weasel my knees up and slide my feet right thru the life lines). Then I would announce my satisfaction in how well my technique works. It was actually fun by the time I had figured out how to hoist myself from side to side, and I plan to be back next week to hopefully understand racing a little more!






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *