I'm excited to tell you that the boat I crew on, N'Surgery, for the Friday Night Beer Can Series, won! We won our class I should say. Now I'm happy about this, but the fact of the matter is that only 3 of 8 boats started the race and only two finished. So, winning a race of two boats is great, but not nearly the challenge that we'll face once all the other boats come out. Who knows why so many didn't show, perhaps the Mother's Day weekend, but we'll take the win towards the end of the series tally to be the overall class winner.
After the race we headed to the Eastport Yacht Club, the sponsor club, and picked up the first place award - a tshirt. Gus, the boat owner and skipper, said that he still has a case of Rolling Rock beer from a race 22 years ago or so when he won first place. That's a dry spell... We'll see what next week's prize is - because we're aiming to win that as well. One race down, seven more to go.
Gus was in high spirits and treated the crew to dinner at the Annapolis Yacht Club. Great food by the way. After dinner, and much talk about other boats, what happened during the race, previous year antics, etc., Gus announced that he would not be able to skipper this coming Friday and turned to me and said he wanted me to be the skipper. He said when he saw me dock my boat at the end of the April 1st delivery, he was impressed and knew I could steer a boat.
My thoughts? Whoa. So it was all fun and games and I'm laughing and enjoying myself at the club, but as soon as Gus says I'm the skipper, I go into full panic mode. I do manage to have enough wits about me to graciously accept the honor. I mean, at least I think it's a big deal! I had my heart stop a little as I realized I was going to be calling the shots on someone else's boat. It's no big deal on my own boat and I don't and can't race CALIX (she's not set up for racing). Sure being crew is one thing, skipper, totally another. I guess I shouldn't make too big a deal of it and get myself all wrapped around the axle, but I do want to perform well and make sure that we have a fighting chance of winning, even though I've never taken the helm of Gus's boat, ever.
I turned to the crew and told them I'd do the best I could and that we'd sail it like Gus sailed it, except that I know my port from starboard. Gus may be a surgeon, but I keep it simple for him and when someone calls head up, fall off, you're pinched, etc., I just point in the direction he should go or shout out, "Go left" or whatever the occasion calls for. I told the navigator that I would rely on him heavily to get me in the right place for the start, as I'd only ever started in one other race before on a very much smaller boat in a lot less intimidating environment. That was "Pink Night" on the Magothy and every boat had assigned a female as skipper. There aren't many female skippers on Fridays and I'll be the only female on N'Surgery as all the other gals haven't shown up yet for the season (not warm enough?). No pressure...
I'll be doing more reading in my Racing Rules of Sailing this week and taking some more quizzes on race scenarios that UKHalsey provides for free! I've already downloaded the rules app for my phone, of course, and hopefully I can get Gus out for a sail this week to get the feel of N'Surgery. Stay tuned and wish me "fair winds and following seas".
I leave you with this quote, which could be adopted as the motto for the Beer Can Series: "Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk". - Sir Francis Chichester while loading his boat with gin.