September 30, 2006-Weekend Racers
It feels strange to be back in the working world, living ashore and trudging off to the office each day with my Dell notebook over my shoulder. We only make it to the boat on the odd weekend or so when there is a race scheduled in Singapore. This isn’t what we had in mind when we left Seattle to go cruising over ten years ago.
But reality sometimes forces its way onto the scene.
We only planned to cruise for 5-7 years, until the money ran out. We figured we’d have to go back to work.
So, I guess this is all according to plan, sort of. We never imagined that “work” was going to be in Bangkok, Thailand.
But we’ve got no complaints. Bangkok is great. It is an exciting, exotic, wild city. Our apartment is nice. Our jobs are challenging and rewarding. Several friends from overseas have come here to visit.
And it’s only temporary. Before we know it we’ll be back cruising.
Meantime it’s fun, if hectic, working here and racing in Singapore on the weekends. We rush off to the airport after work on Friday and arrive at the boat about midnight, open the sea cocks, turn on the aircon and roll into our berths. Saturday morning we get up and have breckkie at the Marina, then prep the boat for racing. At 1:00 the crew turns up and out we go onto Johore Straits. Racing is fun and it sure wipes the cobwebs from our minds. Saturday night we have some brews at the Raffles Marina Bar, and Sunday: fix what ever broke on Saturday, put the boat away, close the sea cocks, turn off the aircond again, and head back to the airport. We get back to Bangkok about midnight on Sunday.
The race last Saturday was hard work from the get go.
A force 6 squall is blowing through just as we leave the harbour; whitecaps to windward and blowing salt spray everywhere. We rig the #4 jib.
The course upwind and weather marks are obscured. The sailing looks to be exciting; and challenging. I am relishing the beat; Wings’ weather.
The committee boat is bouncing wildly but they get a mark set and the sequence starts on time.
Then the wind starts dropping and we change to the #3. Time is running out fast but the wind is still dropping. The three is the wrong sail. I have to make a decision. I call for the #1. Just a few minutes to go and there is a pile of sails on the foredeck but we get the #1 up and we are settled down; this crew is doing pretty good, since they’ve never changed a sail before. Judy’s been helping on the foredeck, not the best place for the owner but she is good; looking young and agile. I wonder if she’ll have aches and pains tomorrow.
Two minutes to go. We don’t have a chance to check the line or get on the wind to look at the sails. Never mind, we are now stuck into a crowd on port tack going away from the line at 1 and a half to go and I have to duck and weave to get out and tacked over. We’re over early but I get back and we head to the boat end and hit the line going well, and right on time.
Then the jib needs to be hoisted further and we blow the sheet while the halyard is cranked on. We lose some distance to a leeward boat and sag into his bad air. We tack away and he tacks on us. Then I’m distracted with some crew problems and by the top mark we are in fourth.
At another rounding a Laser 2B cuts in front of us at a distance of about 20 feet and calls starboard. I have to spin wildly to miss him, and it messes up the rounding. Oh well.
The wind has gone away entirely and a strong current pushes us around, but we do OK in the light stuff. Or the crew does. A few more bad choices on my part and the day turns into a practice, which is what it was meant to be anyway. We finish about where our rating says we should, and we go in reasonably satisfied. Anyhow, there’s beers waiting.
Not a bad life, but it still feels strange on Monday morning heading off to work again.
Fred & Judy, SV Wings