Last night we went to bed at home, nice and cozy and quiet. This morning we woke up at a Yacht Club. We are the owners of a lovely lake side home, which becomes on Thursday night during sailing season, “The Otter Landing Yacht Club.” We also become, for one weekend in the summer, the locale of a Regatta including our fleet and boats from Coos Bay, Oregon.
There are only a few boats from Oregon, which is a good, since our dock is full of the locally owned fleet. A kindly neighbor has let us use his dock during this regatta. The boats started coming yesterday. We were enjoying a peaceful evening when one boat arrived, silently put the boat in the water, tied it to the dock and then disappeared. They have come other years. They know the routine.
This morning they arrived before we were awake and started setting up the needs for the day. While we drank our morning coffee, they made sandwiches in the kitchen, bagging them to be ready to hand to sailors as they leave the dock for an 11 AM start.
And, I must also share about the race committee outsiders who have come for the week. Our youngest daughter, Sia, arrived over a week ago and her husband, Gary, came last Sunday. When they made their date to visit, we told them they had been requisitioned to be race committee. They didn’t complain. In fact, Gary has managed to prepare a pre-programmed horn to provide the starting signals. It will be tested today. Of course, Sia had to start the day swimming across the lake with Gary on the kayak following her. This has become an annual ritual when she comes in the summer. We can’t seem to get her to try it at Christmas when she visits.
10:30… All gathered on the deck to get a final review of the rules. The committee boat left the dock to set the course and the boats raised their sails and head out on the water. It is a beautiful sight: 13 boats headed for the race, sailing in all different directions. The horns blow the warning, five beeps, then three, two, one and they all sail across the start line now headed in the same direction for the first mark.
4PM… the boats are back on the dock and the weary sailors are discussing every wind, every tack, every start… my son, Bill, tallies the races so far. Eight races completed that day. The deck table fills with food brought by wives or the sailors and all gather to continue rehashing the day while eating. They are tired but they will be ready to go at it again tomorrow.
Sunday 8AM…The sandwich makers have arrived and not long after that the rest of the sailors. Not much wind, the group assembles on the deck staring at the neighbors flag hanging limply from its staff. They talk and watch and slowly, the wind fills in . They are ready to go.
Once again the horns blast. My husband, Sea, had been worried it would be too loud but the sailors applaud the sound. This horn they can hear as they vie for the starting line. (However, back at home I get a phone call about the noise. How much longer? I assured her it would not be forever.) Two boats tip over and the rescue boat goes to the rescue. Some have had enough and watch from the dock, their scows put to bed.
When the gang reappears at lunch time, Sea visits the neighbor to apologize but concludes the conversation by saying it is too much fun for too many people and encourages her to put her ear plugs back in.
The races resume after lunch. The goal was to hold 16 races over the weekend. But then the “events” began to occur. In the afternoon one boat tipped over. The rescue boat went to help and towed in a sunken hull. We told the skipper it was not a submarine race and they bailed it out and put it to bed. Then another scow suddenly lost its mast. The skipper heard a crack and over went the mast. That was the end of the race for John. The other boats continued around the course.
The agreed upon quitting time was approaching. The 16 races were accomplished. An exhausted skipper and crew team put the scows to bed and gathered on the deck, once more to rehash every mark, every start, every wind shift. Everyone gathered to examine the dismasted scow and offer opinions about how and why it happened and ideas about repair. Thankfully no one was hurt. The dismasted yacht can be repaired.