Summer Sailing on the Charles River
A few days ago, I was like “hey! I’m gonna go to Boston and do the whole fireworks thing and also sail around the Charles River with Laura. It’s gonna be so 👏 fun 👏”.
Laura has years of experience racing and I do not. (Remember that time my parents wouldn’t buy me a boat because Laura was going away for the summer so we wouldn’t be able to “share” so I got a job and then the next year they bought Laura a boat? Ahahhaha. Ha. Good times.) She was like an NCAA scholar or something and like a starter crew in college (basically means she was the opposite of a bench warmer) before she went on to be the world’s best at autonomous underwater robots or something. (I only mention this because allegedly we have the same parents, so like greatness must lie within me too by proxy. But I just like to keep things #real and #humble to keep everyone grounded, ya know?)
So Laura was all like, “hey, let’s do Monday night racing”. So I’m like, “yeah sure. Sounds like fun”. Turns out everyone last night was like a college sailor or something. And Laura’s all, “see I told you the American circuit was more competitive than Canada”. And I’m all, “No where on the planet have I ever been an actually competitive sailor so it’s all the same to me…”.
Laura and I are polar opposites in most ways. She’s super intense… I sail with my feet up on the deck… We came in dead last in the first round. By like, not an insignificant amount. Like in Mario Kart, they would’ve just cut you off and been like kk cool you’re last no one needs to watch you suck anymore. So Laura’s all flustered because she hasn’t come last since she was forced to sail with me in high school. So I’m like, “well… since we’re the worst, what the heck, I wanna skipper!”
Laura spent a couple hours teaching me how to roll tack the “American way”. So I got “pretty good” (her words, not mine) at it as crew (in light wind).
So we’re racing, I’m skippering, and completely fucking up every tack (Laura making sure I know this) because I have no idea what the heck I’m doing. Because I don’t. A similar situation would be like, so today you just figured out how to drive a stick shift. Awesome. Now go to the UK and drive a stick shift on the passenger side and on the wrong side of the road. Also the gear shift is now on the ceiling.
So we get to the last race of the night and I’ve finally figured out how to time my starts.* Woo! 🍻 Figured out the whole mess that is river sailing. *** Woo x2! 🍻
Got yelled at by others for “sailing with my motor on” (a joke). Woo! 🍻 Was in first place, but they changed the course so after reaching the first mark I was like I LITERALLY DONT KNOW WHERE IM GOING. And Laura’s like, time to head in to the docks. And I’m like, yeah okay that’s reasonable. Then like a few minutes later I’m enjoying the warm summer breeze ladeeda and suddenly I notice that Laura is seething. She’s all like, “Do you even have a competitive drive? At all?” And I’m like “hmm? What’d I do?” So turns out the race ended at the docks. So I accidentally checked out of the race and had fallen to the back of the pack. Whoops.
I literally thought she was gonna murder me.
So this is just a long, round about way of saying, hi, when I figure out what I’m doing, I’m not the worst. I’m pleased with myself. Laura is probably still frazzled. 😬✌️
So sailing race starts are kinda weird. It looks like a mess to people who don’t know what’s happening. Basically a boat isn’t like a car. You can’t just like stop and stay in the same spot and go at the start line. There’s a countdown situation and an imaginary start line between two marks. So imagine a car race except you have to be stepping on gas at all times so you’re constantly moving and you need to be shooting out of the start line at “go”. So there’s a lot of going back and forth trying to avoid a mess of other people doing the same thing, trying to time it so that you’re going full speed through the start line at go”.
*** the wind shifts constantly up to 180° within like 15 minutes which is insane… and a bunch of dead zones with literally no wind. Like nada. Nothing. You mess up and you will have a lovely view of other people sailing and you’re just stuck bobbing.