AMA on Orcas Island—Sailing News from the U.S. and Beyond
Memorial Day Weekend is the traditional start to the American summer-racing calendar, as celebrated by three classic distance races: the Block Island Race, which starts off of Stamford, CT; the Figawi Race, which starts in Hyannis, MA and the Swiftsure International Yacht Race, which starts in Victoria, British Columbia, and which is my personal favorite of the lot (the scenery is impossible to beat, even if the breeze is sometimes 'unpredictable'). Sailors all over the U.S. are reliving the weekend's glorious spinnaker sets, the starry-starry night watches and the joys of simply racing a small boat through the inky dark of adventure. Sadly, I'm not one of them as a 'Ream and Run' (the surgeon's term, not mine) artificial-shoulder surgery (the sins of a life spent trimming symmetrical spinnaker poles and spending WAY too much time rock climbing at the Gunks) added three-plus pounds of titanium and stainless steel to my right shoulder and has sidelined me for the entire sailing season.
|Local children race remote controlled boats in the race village - Extreme Saling Series Act 2 Lloyd Images ©|
Or so I thought.
Instead of racing this weekend, my wife and I travelled to nearby Orcas Island, in Washington's glorious San Juan Islands to unwind and visit friends. While the rest of our gang was playing on a pristine mountain lake on SUPs and in kayaks, my dear friend—who just happens to be a world-class sailor—magically produced a high-performance AC-class remote-controlled sailboat. A light, shifty breeze with a few pronounced bends made for an incredibly entertaining afternoon of tacking, gybing and learning to work the foils on this quick little craft that at times gave my wife a run for her money on the SUP.
For those familiar with RC sailing, you know the joys. For the uninitiated, RC sailing is a seriously fun and cerebral challenge that's both joyous and humbling, often simultaneously. For me, the strangest part was the 'remote' nature—not feeling the breeze on my ears, or being able to feel boat movement/trim and translate it to wind/wave patterns—but this was quickly overcome by venturing into the windy, steady part of the lake and running endless windward-leewards...probably not too unlike what plenty of physically capable readers spent their weekends doing.
The best part? My surgeon, a truly 'challenging' man, can't complain. True, I went sailing, but—dear reader—is it really going Against Medical Advice (AMA) if ones feet never left terra firma? I'll argue no, and since my bone cutter doesn't read this newsletter, there's little risk of getting busted. After all, it was Memorial Day Weekend and there was sailing to be done. In my family, there is no other way to celebrate the weekend, its national significance, or the start of a wonderful sailing season, and I was happy to keep the tradition alive, albeit in a scaled-down, semi-AMA way. And fortunately, my parents took my Dad's J/44 out for a spin on the East Coast, so order and balance were maintained. [Deep sigh of relief and a big THANK YOU to my friend for lending me his remote racer.]
|Krystal Weir, Laser Radial - Delta Lloyd Regatta 2012 Thom Touw ©|
Meanwhile, on the international stage, there are plenty of great real-sailing reports to read in this issue. In addition to the Big Three distance races (Swiftsure, Block Island and Figawi), the Atlantic Cup 2012 featured around-the-buoy racing on Class 40s on Newport's Narragansett Bay; the Delta Lloyd Regatta has kicked off in Medemblik, Holland, giving One Design sailors a serious pre-Olympic stage; the World Match Racing Tour is taking place on Germany's Lake Constance; the Global Ocean Race is on its final leg, taking the fleet from Charleston, South Carolina to Les Sables d'Olonne, France, and—finally—the Volvo Ocean Race fleet continues to battle a high-pressure system that (at the time of this writing) was preventing some teams from tapping into the breeze train that will hopefully carry them to Lisbon, Portugal. Get the full scoops inside, enjoy the long weekend of sailing, and—should you ever meet my shoulder surgeon—please don't blow my AMA cover!
|Kelvin Harrap enjoying some light-air downtime on the bow. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race) Amory Ross/Puma Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race© |
May the four winds blow you safely home,
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor
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