Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sailing: DOSC and VOR

The wind was dying at the finish of the second race
We’ve gotten a good dose of sailing this last weekend of 2011, with a race in Dubai yesterday, the Volvo Ocean Race venue grand opening today, and more VOR excitement coming this week.

Once again we volunteered for DOSC race committee; this time it was the Commodore’s Cup series, which goes until the beginning of May. When we arrived at the club, we ran into Michal and Izabella, along with the skipper of Goan Bananas, and we learned that they were short on crew. After some discussion it was determined that I should race and Mark would go with the race committee. He told the Bananas owner, Jed, “She’s really good.” I just love that guy.

We had a truly international, if somewhat green, crew: Jed and Rob, the mast man, are Brits. Michal, Izabella and Michal’s sister Agnieszka, are Polish, Cynthia is from Toronto, and of course I am USA. I was amazed at how American Midwest Cynthia sounded to me! Toronto isn’t that far from Detroit, where I grew up.

We held our own upwind
A lot of the crew needed to “learn the ropes,” literally. Michal, however, is a great bowman and knows his stuff. He would explain things to Izabella and Agnieszka. A couple of times when I explained something, he would say “I just told them that, in Polish.” I said “Well, now they know the English translation,” and we all laughed. They were all great, though, and by the second race our crew work was pretty good. At one point Jed started barking at us and I said “We’re getting better! You can tell because he’s yelling at us.” I think Jed laughed the most at that one.

Goan Bananas is a Beneteau First 30e, vintage 1984. It’s a good solid boat, if a bit heavier and with a much smaller cockpit than I’m used to. I asked how old the sails were because, seeing them furled, I expected them to be much more bagged out than they were. Jed said they are only two years old, but they look really dirty, because it’s dusty here and it never rains. When the kite went up I said “I know this sail isn’t two years old,” and he said no, but he’s saving up for two new kites – for light air and heavy air.

I asked; the name came with the boat.
Should I tell Jed about bananas and bad luck?
We sailed two races, both windward – leeward with downwind finishes. I reflected on the fact that, one year ago, Mark and I were just getting acquainted with Wildcard. Never in a million years would we have guessed then that we would be where we are now! We finished with two thirds, which was good enough to get us a bucket of Heinekens as a prize. We had a beer with the Bananas skipper and crew, and Mark and I secured our second sponsor signature on our DOSC membership application.

Jed expressed an interest in having me on his crew again. I enjoyed sailing with him but we’ll see, because his regular crew will be back from their holiday vacations. Plus, Mark and I want to either sail a boat of our own or maybe get on a bigger boat that can accommodate us both.

Bicycling to the VOR

Waiting for the grand unveiling
This morning Mark and I took our new bicycles to the Marina area, so that we could ride along the downtown Corniche. We parked in our secret spot, and rode through the boatyard near the ramp, realizing as we did that we were riding right through the middle of Camper’s headquarters. It turned out that we were just in time to see the opening ceremony for the Abu Dhabi Destination Village. We also happened to meet a journalist who told us that he writes a blog for the race, and that the boats are due to arrive on January 4th at 4:00 p.m. Admission to the race village is free, so you can bet that we will be there.

Yes, I said new bicycles. Since I forgot to take photos of them, I am going to save their unveiling for another blog. But I will say that as in everything else, Mark went for the cool new technology.

Happy New Year to all.
I hope that this year, dreams you didn’t even think to dream of will come true.

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