Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kids Sail The Stars" and Racing Under the Stars on Block Island Sound.

I recently sailed in two sailboat races which I will remember for a long time.  The first was CBI's "Kid's Sail the Stars". As a guest "star" I was paired up with two junior sailors and charged with offering as much support, advice, and wisdom as I could to help them get around the race course as well as possible.  I was not allowed to steer, trim or otherwise physically put my hands to the task.  Neither of the juniors I was sailing with had raced before.  We sailed 4 races. What I enjoyed most about the experience was that while our finishes were generally near the back of the fleet, their enthusiasm was at the top of the fleet.  Half way through the evening, one of them just blurted out, "This is so cool. I love this".  What I percieved was that they both had great instincts, and a fearless love of trying to make the sailboat move faster.  They loved being on the water. I don't think they will find themselves near the back of the fleet too much longer.

The second race was the Ida Lewis Long Distance Race.  We started at 1:00 PM last Friday and finished a bit after 12 noon on Saturday.  Generally light winds prevailed and the wind forcast was only about 50% correct (what a surprise).  We sailed well, made good decisions, and finished near the top of the fleet.  But what a night.  Clear clear skies. A brilliant sunset. Light from the moon glistening on the water.  The moon set early in the morning and the milky way came out in all it's splendor. Sunrise was like one more encore of a virtuoso performance. Through out a sailboat race you are constantly focusing on VMG (velocity made good), proper sail trim, having the right sails up for the wind conditions, and keeping your focus positive even when things go wrong. You fill in the gaps with good food and a brief nap (if you're lucky).Working together in a single minded effort with your crewmates ties the whole experience together.   It does my heart good to know that CBI  opens the door to sailing for so many, especially  kids.  I know that the two juniors I sailed with will one day find themselves sailing, maybe racing, under the moon away from land.  I hope they will remember their experiences here at CBI.   I also hope that they will adopt an attitude of giving back to others, having received much themselves.  Then I'll know that CBI did what it's supposed to do.



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