Monday, October 06, 2008

The Over 60 Skipper's Race

After the single handed race, I get back to the dock, I'm tying off the bow... I'm not even finished and I see this pair of shoes really close to me. I look up and see Bob Frey Sr. He's just watched to first two races of the day and my boat has finished first twice... he says, "Hey Eric, there's been some talk about an over 60 skipper's race and I was wondering, could borrow your boat?" He looked so excited to get out there and race, how could I say no? Bob Frey is an excellent sailor, a legend in the fleet, his son was going to come with and he's really good too... all I had to do was let them talk it out in the back of the boat, trim the jib and work the foredeck... sweet.
In the pre-start youcould see all the old habbits and rituals coming back to him and he started getting more and more agressive. He was so pumped and kept asking questions about the course, where the weather mark was, who was keeping the time... He said, "Ready about, helm's over" and I knew Bob Frey Sr. was back in the saddle again.
Wasn't the best start, the wind came up just in time to bring most of us way too far down the line and Bob Jr. made it clear we were jibing and getting out of there with 24 seconds til the start. It worked. We were in clear air and in the middle of a group, but we were surging forward nicely and got ahead of most of them. We were third at the windward mark and below is the picture of how it looked from the bow.

We pulled the classic up and under move at the leeward mark which gave Bob Sr. quite a thrill, he just trusted us that we were clear of Roger Rapp's stern and stuck the bow right in between the channel marker and Roger's stern and well, it was tight at the mark, but Roger went too wide and had some issues. We chased down Ed Welch and by the time we got to the windward mark we were leading.
Ed was off to our starboard and losing ground in same wind, but worse current and we held him off until the finish.

Bob was an old pro on the helm, he really just felt the conditions so well, very often holding the sweet spot going to weather for long periods of time without correction. Not bad for the oldest guy out there... 80 is the new 60 for sure. Thanks Bob, that was fun.


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