You know how sometimes people invite you to do things, but accidentally leave out critical bits of information? This was one of those days. When Lindsay asked me if I wanted to go sailing today, neither one of us knew that we were actually going to be racing the boat. And by “we,” there were plenty of crew members who knew what they were doing, and our job was to sit where they told us… because as it turns out, just being weight in the right place at the right time (staying out of other people’s way) is almost as important as pulling lines and raising sails.
When we first got on the boat, I did what I always do in new situations. I fell down. Monocular vision, fields of vision different depending on dominant eye, didn’t see something because it wasn’t there a second ago, yadda yadda yadda. I banged up my knee and my shin right good. Luckily, I was so hopped up on adrenaline from finding out that we were racing that it didn’t hurt too much. Everyone kept asking me if I was okay, because my leg looks like I got in a fight with a dog and lost…. badly.
All of this is not to evoke pity, just to explain why even being dead weight was a steep learning curve. Tacking and jibing became more and more difficult as the excitement wore off, because that meant our group had to move from one side of the boat to the other, with our heads low enough not to get smacked by the boom. It was kind of like being a soccer goalie, because there were long periods of doing nothing followed by twenty seconds of hauling ass… I had no idea what place we were in, because there were boats all over. You could tell which boats were just on the Chesapeake having fun because they weren’t sailboats…. and yet, there was no real order to the sailboats, either.
I am very competitive when it comes to team sports, because I don’t want to be the weakest link. So I took a video and pictures on my phone during our “down time,” and during chaos, I just gritted my teeth and tried to move as quickly as my body would let me… because thinking that we were losing because I was in pain was unacceptable. Lindsay asked what place we were in, and everybody kind of agreed they didn’t want to know…. but it wasn’t because I hurt myself and was moving slow or that we weren’t a good team. We just weren’t awesome. There were three-man professional teams out there today, and I know that because “I raced with them.”
At one point, in utter disbelief, I turned to the man I’d just met, “Fletch,” and said, holy shit… I’m in the middle of a sailing race. This is not where I expected my day to end up. When Lindsay and I got there, they were loading up the boat with alcohol and ice. I joked with everyone that we were going drinking and sailing was just background noise. They laughed and agreed with me…. when in reality, the alcohol and ice was for after the race was over. So what I thought would be this leisurely sail around the Bay was more like having your hair catch fire several times an hour.
It was exhilarating, every moment of it.