...It would be in the Solent taking part in the Round the Island Race. I did it once, in 2001 and it was one of the best ever experiences, although I had a bastard of a hangover. I crewed on a Clipper 38 and I think we came 175th. That's out of 1500+ boats so not too shabby.
The winds were a little light and the swell made it feel oliy at times. Came close but didn't chuck.
Coming round the Needles was amazing. 100s of boats squeezing through the Race between the Western end of the IOW and Hurst Castle then making the turn.
We cut inside and hugged the southern coast of the island. This was the right call as the favorable current carried us round. For seven hours, you race with spitting distance of dozens of boats including some real beauties.
Here's a rather groovy promo video for this year's race.
Pretty cool mosaicy thing. Here's a blurb about the Baltimore from the original Flickr post
"The Pride of Baltimore II was commissioned in 1988 as a sailing memorial to her immediate predecessor, the original Pride of Baltimore, which was tragically sunk by a white squall off Puerto Rico in 1986, taking her captain and three crew members down with her. Both ships were built in the Inner Harbor as replicas of 1812-era topsail schooners, the type of vessels, called Baltimore Clippers, that helped America win the War of 1812 and finally secure its freedom"
As regular readers of this blog (Ha, who am I kidding?) will know, I recently joined Raritan Yacht Club. It has taken us a while to find our feet and figure out how to get racing. With a bit of prodding from the extremely able Rear Commodore, we got our asses down to the club early on Saturday, hung around the dock and within 5 minutes, we were snatched up by Howard, the skipper of a C & C 35 MK III, Knot Again who was on the look-out for a few select athletes to add to his top-notch crew list.
We went through a rigorous interview process, which involved ensuring that we were breathing regularly, that we vaguely knew the sharp end of the boat from the stubby end and did not suffer from hydrophobia. The next thing we knew we were crewing in a 2-day regatta run by Keyport Yacht Club. I am happy to report, that we won all three races in our class. I was going to say because of my contribution but despite might be more accurate. I think I managed 10 over-rides on the starboard winch.
I want to give Howard huge kudos for his post-race libations. Rather than the usual six pack of coldies, Howard provided some delicious wine and a fantastic spread of cheese, pate and other fine comestibles. Class!
On Wednesday, I turned out for the mid-week evening race. This was the first of what I hope will be many of these. What a frickin' blast. The racing was a lot of fun. There were a ton of boats out with 4 classes of boats crewed to the gills. Although we put in a valiant effort we did not fair as well as we had at the weekend.
We were not helped that after a late sail change, yours truly stepped up to re-tie the jib sheets and took 10 minutes (that felt like 40) to tie the sheets to the clew. This is typical! When there's no pressure, I can tie a bowline, eyes closed, one-handed behind my back with a flourish. If there is an ounce of pressure, forget it, I tie 'em wrong every time.
Suffice to say, the end of the evening was a highlight. Dark and Stormies in the bar. Some celebrating of Sinn Fein's accomplishment and huge amount of mirth at my expense.
Yesterday was a big day for firsts. the first "first" was a blog meet. What's a blog meet? Well it's when bloggers meet in real life.
As readers of The Peconic Puffin will know, I had lunch with "His Puffiness", Michael Alex yesterday. We had a great time. I suspect we both approached this with trepidation. Would the other guy have two heads? What if we had nothing common and spent an hour talking about the weather? Actually we talked about the weather a bit but an interesting way.
Michael and I found that we had a ton in common. Our lives have followed similar paths. We both started our blogs for the same reasons and at about the same time. The Puffin gets a lot more traffic than mine and Michael works a lot harder on his blog than I do. He is a very smart guy about he builds his community.
I have no doubt that we will be repeating this. And if any of the other NY area bloggers want to have a blog meet, and Joe or TMan happen to be Gotham, lets do a big blog meet. Now how cool/nerdy would that be?
And Tillerman, Bonnie and Joe, I don't care what Mike says about you, you are alright in my books*
A proud moment for my new-found home, Raritan Yacht Club, Sinn Fein (pronounced Sin Fin) won their class and were overall winner in the Newport-Bermuda Race. It's the second year in a row they won the lot and fourth year in a row they won their class. This year was a lot closer. After over 100 hours of racing they beat Sylkie by about 20 minutes. Sinn Fein will be a lot heavier coming back as it will be laden with trophies!
Not bad for a bunch guys from New Jersey!
They were toasted loudly at the post-Wednesday evening race celebrations. Dark and Stormies all round! Cong