Tuesday, February 9, 2016

____________________ It's Becoming A Bit Of A Habit ____________________

It makes me smile to think that the whole rationale for doing this renovation on the Starling dinghy was to get myself a little knockabout cruising dinghy. Since the boats been launched all I have done is race it every Tuesday night at the Onerahi Yacht Club. Here I am yet again on the way to the start.

Some of the fleet tooling around waiting for the start. The fleet was very small tonight. The size of the fleets for the last few race days may have something to do with the lack of wind.

The bigger boats get under way. The Starling fleet always starts one minute after the bigger fleet which makes the whole process easy for 64 year olds. I am still just able to count to 60.

My cousin Stephen Smith sailing his Ok Dinghy. He asks me every time I arrive at the club where my OK Dinghy is.

As you can see - not a lot of wind. Time for a selfie.
We usually race three back to back races, sailing two or three circuits of the course depending on the wind strength for each race. Today as the racing progressed the wind got lighter and lighter making even just two circuits of the course a challenge to complete.

The last race was an ordeal. The tide was flooding in fast which made the rounding of the last mark before the down hill run to the finish very difficult.

Heading back to the clubhouse with the first lights in the houses on the hill appearing. By the time I got the boat ashore, washed and secured to the boat trailer it was after 9 pm.

I am looking forward to this Sundays race which is a 6 hour endurance race. For me this means 6 hours of a special kind of in the moment meditation - sailing meditation is a lot of fun - and fun is very good.


Dan Gurney said...

Racing small sailboats has been tapering off in California, too. Once upon a time at the local club events we'd have three fleets and each fleet had 6 to 18 boats, maybe 36 boats in all. Now we're lucky to get 6 boats in all. Only the big bay area yacht clubs have big races these days. Local clubs are dying out or barely hanging on.

I've switched to kayaking. I don't miss the competition or the really light or really heavy air sailing. But I do have many fond memories of sailing back in the day.... the sixties and seventies when small boat sailboat racing seemed to be growing like gangbusters.

Alden Smith said...

Your California experience is certainly the New Zealand experience. I am not sure of the reasons for the decline. The cost has a lot to do with getting young people involved, also there are a lot of other interesting activities that compete with sailing as a sport. When I was growing up boats were built at home or yacht clubs had building programmes - easy with boats and masts that were made of wood. Fiberglass boats and carbon fiber masts are a completely different kettle of fish. A new fiberglass Starling costs NZ$10,000. No wonder fleets are shrinking. We need to get back to basics.