|This is my favorite competitor ... always smiling and always says hello and thank you.|
Sitting in the harbor getting ready to head out, our wind meter was steadily climbing into the 20s. As we motored out of the harbor, it continued to build until we were consistently hitting the 30s. Sailors were making their way to the race course with minimal tippage but the guys on the boat were wondering aloud if they would start a race in those conditions.
One of the guys sitting next to me said, 'they say if you can sail in the Irish sea, you can sail anywhere.' I think he may be right.
After most of the fleet battled their way to the course, the wind died down to the mid teens, the sun came out here and there and the PRO started the sequence almost exactly at noon. There were a few general recalls but the delays were not too bad and the fleets were off.
My job on the finish boat has ranged from just take some pictures to taking scores with my left hand and snapping random pictures and video with my right. I only really get to watch the Apprentice and Master fleets go around the course because once they begin finishing, all the fleets seem to come in together. We've decided the inner loop is shorter than the outer loop.
After the Masters fleet rounded the bottom mark in the first race, I looked back at the start for the Great Grand Masters and they were all gone except for Doug, sitting there all by himself. Turns out just before the race began, he pulled on the Cunningham and it broke and he couldn't fix it in time and became a spectator.
Next race, I watched him through binoculars and heard them say on the radio that they got one boat over early and from what I could see it looked like it would be Doug. Sure enough, at the end of the day, when they posted the scores, he learned that he had just acquired another two throw outs in addition to the two he already had. And since it appears there is only one throw out for this regatta, this is now a relaxed learning experience and a chance to try various things he's learned recently.
I'm just thankful I was not watching yesterday when he almost drowned himself, torso dragging through the water, feet still under the hiking strap, not willing to capsize (too cold) but not able to get the boat to come back up. It gave him a good fright and put all things into perspective. He is doing his Worlds journal but not sending it out and will eventually publish it. I don't know if it will be entertaining, enlightening, or kind of sad. We shall see but like my favorite competitor above, Doug is a happy guy with a wicked sense or humor.