Looking back on the race, I have a few stories worth sharing, for those that can't sit down with me and share a beer in person!
The race start was on the water, between a buoy on the dock and the committee boat. The race count down was via loud speaker. 3 minutes, 1 minute, racers ready, then we waited forever, then go. It was actually funny, as we were all trying to stand stationary (by order of the race director) in a 20 knot head wind and current. We were told NO running starts. Yet the current and head wind would make you backwards like a missile of you stopped paddling for one second. The starting line was packed. Just barely enough room to not bang the rail of the guy standing next you, barely!
Probably a windsurfer type start would have worked better. 3 horn blasts for 3 minutes, 2 horns for 2 minutes, 1 horn 1 minute, then continuous horn for start. No restrictions on hitting the line a full speed. With windsurfing, hitting the line perfect is considered a racing skill and it spreads the field. The next race will be way too crowded for the type start we had this time.
It was mind blowing to see that 18 foot Bark take off like a missile into the distance. He was half way up the channel to the bridge before most of us went 100 yards.
After only 100 yards I decide my gloves sucked and stopped to remove them. This turned into a hilarious disaster. The race committee made us use duct tape to stick numbers to our chest. The duct tape caused my zipper to jam. So there I am fighting to open my zipper, it took 3 tries and finally I ripped the numbers off my chest and got my gloves stored away. But not before I almost went in the drink when another racer rammed me in the rear. I thought what the hell was that, then I hear someone say sorry. I guess the head wind and current had someone out there paddling with their head down in such deep concentration they weren't looking where they were going. Oh well. After I regain my composure, I turn around to see if anyone else might be about to run me over. Nobody there except the Coast Guard, I'm dead last now!
After getting my act together, I try hard to catch up. Jacky's already at the bridge and the Bark is out of sight. I do catch up and pass a few people, then I see Jacky fall going under the bridge. The swift current and accelerated winds passing under it, carry her board away like a missile. The current is so swift it looks like small rapids under the bridge. She tries swimming after it, but has no chance to catch it, then in a final effort, smacks the deck with her paddle blade and is able to stop the board and get to it. Later she said she was about to give up and wave the Coast Guard boat down. I didn't see anyone using a leash, except me.
Once we make it under the bridge we think the brutal part of the race is over, as the course starts to turn right. WRONG, the head wind just never seemed to end. The fight continued and by the time we finally had wind and current working with us (about the half way point) we were spent.
From the half way point on, it just became a leisure race to home. In the final stretch I slowed down and finished the race with Jacky.
It was a fun way to get some exercise, meet some nice people, and just have a good time.
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