Our yacht club in the UAE, the Abu Dhabi Cruiser Association (ADCA) held its season-end prize-giving barbecue on Lulu Island on Friday, June 1st 2012. I was excited to go, because this would be our first trip to Lulu Island.
Also, Emiliano would be collecting our trophy for 2nd place in our division. We managed to do well enough in the last two Commodore’s Cup races to beat Yalla Yalla, whom we refer to as “the French.” Idefix, the Mumm 30, was 1st for the season.
Lulu Island is privately owned by a developer but the latest project in a series of plans is again on hold. Meanwhile, access by boat is unofficially allowed. As far as I know, there is no water or restroom facility available. There is one dock, but it’s not for public use so visiting boats anchor out.Thankfully, there are shade structures, and trash that’s left on the island or drifts ashore is picked up periodically.
At 2:00 p.m. Emiliano, Mark and I loaded food, beverages and my ULI SUP onto Unwind in the 100-degree heat and motored over. It took about fifteen minutes; just enough time for Mark to inflate my SUP for me.
Emiliano didn’t need to inflate the dinghy; we ferried all our belongings to shore on the ULI, and I brought coolers and gear to shore from other boats as well. This generated some interest in the board, which was great because I wanted everyone who was interested to try it out.
The party was amazing, especially considering the location and lack of facilities. Lots of Brits and Aussies belong to ADCA, and they shop at Spinney’s market which has a Pork Room. We were treated to genuine salami, prosciutto, and sausages – pork, not beef! And grilled lamb chops, chicken, vegetable kabobs, salads . . . so much food. The coolers were packed with beer and ice. As Mark says, “There is no such thing as a Teetotaler’s Yacht Club.”
There aren’t a lot of boats out on the waters around Abu Dhabi, even on the weekends. Most boats sit in their slips. Later in the day the jet skis come out, and they sometimes like to pass very close to sailboats. During one light air race, a group of jet skis roared around among the fleet right after the start creating big waves which stopped the boats, much to the frustration of the racers.
During the barbecue, there was one incident when two powerboats passed by our little our anchorage, one of whom chose a path right through the anchored boats without slowing down. What the – ???? – we all said. Fortunately nobody was in the water, and the powerboat didn’t catch an anchor line.
But what were they trying to prove?
As dusk neared, the prize giving ceremony began. The ADCA pride and genuine affection and camaraderie among this group are heartwarming. I love sailors! There is a lot of enthusiasm for growing the club and doing more racing; everyone is already looking forward to next year. We’ve probably been to hundreds of awards presentations, but there is nothing like giving trophies out on a deserted island in the Arabian Gulf with a bunch of expats.
Funny moments included:
- Malcolm, who is ENGLISH not Australian, and enjoys kissing, accepts the 3rd Place prize for Yalla Yalla and pretends to be French. Malcolm actually sails on Idefix but nobody from Yalla was present. He also collects a 3rd place prize for the other Yalla. The one that “sank-a.”
- There is confusion over the pronunciation of the name Unwind. The boat already had the name when Emiliano bought it and, because he knows more Italian than English, he thought the name was pronounced with a short “I” as in un-wind, there is no wind. This puzzled him. The first time we went sailing with him, Mark and I pronounced the name with a long “i” and told Emiliano that it means “to relax.” The rest of ADCA is still learning this new pronunciation and gets it wrong. This may be on purpose, just to get a reaction out of Emiliano.
- Emiliano, Mark, and I toast our 2nd Place with champagne, and Emiliano declares that next year we intend to win 1st Place.
- The owner and crew of Idefix collect their 1st Place season championship perpetual trophy, and crystal vase, which they fill with beer.
- We say goodbye to a couple who are moving on, which happens often in expat communities; it’s hard to lose ADCA member, especially ones who race consistently.
- We are happy to induct a new treasurer, especially one that is Scottish and won’t spend the money.
What a difference a year makes. This same weekend last year we were on our Santa Cruz 37 Wildcard sailing the Delta Ditch Run, which is usually a downwind race, but last year we had record-breaking upwind conditions.
This year, our sailing friends sailed the Ditch Run in epic downwind conditions gusting to 40 knots while Wildcard was tucked away safely in Nevada. I always feel a pang of regret at missing an exciting race, but I have to admit that I’m sort of glad we didn’t subject the boat to this year’s punishment, especially because even if we were to finish first, the small boats always correct out ahead of Wildcard on handicap.
But it sure is fun to see the photos.
There are always boats that run aground in this race, because they lose control and cross out of the channel boundaries. This year several boats were dismasted, as well. But it wouldn’t be a Ditch Run without the carnage.
Photos by: http://www.norcalsailing.com/
|A Wylie Wabbit broaches, which often leads to running aground.|
In this case, it looks like they are headed into, not out of, the channel.
|Wildcard’s sistership, Tiburon, ran aground.|
Take a look at the slide show at http://www.norcalsailing.com/galleries/201206-deltaditchrun/201206-deltaditchrun.mov