The Endeavor sailed in it's first regatta Tuesday. We raced in the 3rd start (slowest bracket) and proudly took 29th place out of 32 boats. That's right ... there were 3 boats slower than us! I'm not sure if we earned it or if Kris Lande, a gal I work with, helped us out from her privelaged position on the Duck Dodge committee boat.
Duck Dodge is a casual regatta that takes place on Lake Union in the middle of downtown Seattle. It is a crazy scene of criss-crossing boats, some people laughing, some people yelling at each other, everybody drinking, perfect weather, and the Seattle skyline and hills surrounding us. It is a hell of a good time. Definitely a uniquely special Seattle scene.
I don't know crap about racing and you can really get yourself into trouble not knowing the various right-of-way rules. So we were thankful to have Todd as our skipper showing us how it's done. Well, showing us how to get 29th place. :)
Afterwards all the boats raft up and people walk across the bows drinking, dancing, eating, and telling stories.
I ended the night sleeping by myself on the boat. Woke up the next day, swam in Lake Union, and walked to work. Good times.
OKAY! I GET IT! I NEED TO PUT SOME THOUGHT INTO THE TIDES BEFORE SETTING SAIL. PLEASE JUST LET ME GAIN ON THAT GOD DAMN BUOY AND I PROMISE I'LL DO MORE RESEARCH NEXT TIME.
... so said Dylan 300 times Friday evening as he and Deetz tried to sail into the wind totally against the current. I guess that up until now I've had too many other things on my mind to give the tides any credit. But no longer. I think we left the Ballard Locks at about 8pm and made it to Bell Harbor Marina (downtown Seattle) around 11pm. What a beat! (For the record this would have taken about 10 minutes of driving time from where we started.)
There was good news though. Once we were in Elliott Bay our spirits were lifted by the the presence of the big city lights above us, ample wind, the thrill of sailing around the industrial city scape, and a fair amount of rum. Against my better judgement I copied Deetz and stood balanced on the rails of the pulpit with my back leaning against the forestay, the city above me and the driving wake splashing below. Once we got to downtown we were having so much fun we headed back out to the center of Elliott Bay for a little more time in this environment before docking.
NOTES ON BELL HARBOR MARINA: - $35 per night for our 27' boat - Native Americans have the best slips reserved - the showers don't need quarters! - you are walking distance from downtown nightlife
And so we made the most of our pridicament of only making 1/4 of the distance we intended and walked 4 blocks to meet-up with some of Deetz' chronies. I'm incredibly suprised they let me into Twist (fancy pants bar) with my sandals, tattered rugby jersey, and salty wind blown hair. Afterwards we left and were followed by a mermaid. By dawn we had slaughtered enough songs on our blurry guitar that it was time for bed.
Soooooooo ... this caused us to sleep in and, after the mermaid slipped back into the oily harbor she came from, we sailed BACK up wind again AND directly upstream of the current. Sheesh ... clowns!
At 4pm at the north end of Vashon Island we realized there was no f'n way we could make it to the south end of Vashon into the safety of their sweet little naturally protected waters. So for fun we got a little speed on a beam reach to Fauntelory and then back on a beam reach to the marina at Blake Island.
Dock, bullshit with sailors, walk the beach, sad attempt at fishing, grill halibut on the BBQ attached to the stern rail, BBQ comes loose dropping corn into water, Dylan does once in a lifetime save of grilled pesto basil seasoned halibut, eat, discussion of the Grand Sail over gin, and then bed.
NOTES ON BLAKE ISLAND MARINA: - cheap, only .50/ft - apparently gets very crowded in summer; many moorings and good places to anchor all around island - hike and bike trails all over island are great - sterile state park setting attracts scores of annoying boy scouts (lucky for them they stay out of range of our cannons)
The next day we met an interesting character that invited us onto his beautiful 34' sloop. As his kid spilled small toys everywhere he told recounted scores of stories and useful information in his possibly eastern European accent. He filled a notecard full of tips and Deetz nearly learned something before we left to set sail. The run home was HARMONIOUS. For only the second time ever we hoisted the spinnaker (big balloon like colorful sail; can be a complicated process). We've had ZERO schooling on how to do this. The first time last year was horrible and we only avoided serious disaster by Deetz' luck and my wife's karma. This time, if you were close to us, you would have seen me reading the same page of "Sail Trim Theory" 12 times before I went to set-up the rigging. But from afar I dare say we looked much better than the damn fools we were last time; this time we were clearly AMATEURS. :)
CONCLUSIONS: - The best part about staying in a marina is meeting all the other people there. It's a great way to get tips, advice, and stories. - We both know enough to get by raising and tacking with a spinnaker. - I SWEAR I WILL PAY ATTENTION TO THE TIDES. - A fun sail could be from the locks to Bell Harbor Marina. Then go party or eat downtown and stumble back to the boat.