Big update!

It's time to get back to writing.  After Haydn, things have been out of sorts, but the sailing season is in full swing and Brad and I are fully immersed and working back toward "normalcy".  There have been a number of changes and challenges thrown at us this year, but I'm going to stick to sailing; it's what brings us the most joy either together or as we pursue our own interests.

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The day of Haydn's passing, Brad called in a favor and got me on one of the VOST boats for a practice.  Brad had to go and I didn't want to be alone, and well, being with a crew of Mids while they put up and take down a spinnaker about a hundred times, it seemed, in order to practice for an upcoming parade, was amazing and humbling.  I was so impressed and completely understand why Brad volunteers his time - it's like getting a shot of youth, and top notch at that.  Our future Naval officers are the right stuff.

Only a couple of weeks later was the start of the Annapolis Yacht Club's Wednesday Night Racing, which I'm happy to say I'm doing again with the Etchells guys.  We've got a "new to us" boat and are working out the kinks, pretty much we're middle of the pack but with designs on grabbing some glass by the end of the season.  Unfortunately, the season hasn't seen much sunny weather so far, but we did have quite a blow two weeks ago for a romp around the marks, of course that was followed by a cancellation this past week with no wind.  Gotta love summer in the Chesaspeake Bay.

I know, that's not a sailboat!  But it is boating related and it's been one of Brad's projects on the side.  You're looking at the hull of a 36' HInckley Picnic Boat Classic.  We had a heavy debate about the "right and proper" bottom paint.  Topsides of course in "Flag Blue" already existed.  The bottom was some black or blue color, wrong.  Brad picked "Green", just right, but we all sorta freaked out at first, because freshly painted, it's practically neon!  But it's right.  The only other option would be "Red".  "Blue Yonder" gets dipped this coming Tuesday and Brad and I are looking forward to a wonderful summer aboard, of course when the actual owner isn't using her!  Who says sailors don't enjoy stinkpotting once in a while?

As part of Brad's VOST duties, there's the annual training circumnavigation of the DelMarVa peninsula in early May.  Brad was sitting on the bow as evening waned and Integrity passed a channel marker clearly showing a favorable flooding tide.  You really want to go with the flow when you're in the Delmarva Bay, trust me.

In addition to racing on Wednesday nights, I also race on Friday nights.  Eastport Yacht Club puts on the Beer Can Races.  It's low key, it's fun, it's a better happy hour.  This year, the owner of the boat asked me to skipper for the season as he was having hip surgery.  I of course wasn't going to turn him down, and not just because I'd get to skipper a boat in races, but I'd been a part of the crew going on 4 years now, the crew is crazy, and while the owner is a savvy surgeon, he sometimes forgets port from starboard.  But we can win.  Our navigator wasn't with us this particular evening, but she got some nice photos of us.  Our spinnaker is not really for racing, it's undersized for light winds but it sure is colorful.

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Brad joined some of the usual suspects aboard Schematic for the 65th annual Down the Bay Race over the Memorial Day weekend.  I was supposed to race to St. Michael's but that didn't pan out.

Over the winter, somehow, this onion sprouted aboard Schematic.  Clearly some work to do to get ready for Newport-Bermuda.  And Bob is on it!  He even got interviewed about race preparations.  I'm not doing the race, but I am part of the Annapolis-Newport delivery crew.  I'm excited to get out into the blue for a few days.  Brad will be a part of the race crew.  He's loves this stuff enough to turn around from one ocean race right back into another...

And this is what all the VOST prep is for, a beautiful spinnaker start for the Annapolis to Bermuda Race which is going on right now!  Brad has a very nice post about the race so far, and it was a doozy of a slow one getting out of the bay.  Yikes, speed over ground of 1.3 knots.  Yawn.

To finish up with something great, Brad got me this half hull of CALX.  I had no idea he was up to this!  What a huge surprise.  It was a welcome bright spot.  I've already got her hung on the wall, ready to show off.

I don't have any pictures from one event that I participated in this year that was a total blast, NOOD Annapolis.  We came in second in our class (J30) despite ourselves - over the start line both races on the last day!  I even had the privilege of racing with Larry Leonard on the first day.  Awesome.  One last picture of me, out for a chilly but spirited sail on the J80 Emotional Rescue (fitting name for the time) with Brad early April.  We love this stuff.