I've had an amazing summer this year, and I just wanted to share part of it. I think the sailing community is pretty awesome and this is just an example of how great it really is.
My summer of sailing started out by getting membership at one of our local YCs. It was an awesome thing for them to do, I'm in the Coast Guard and never stay in one place for too long, but last summer I started to make some contacts at the club and they accepted me this spring.
My sailing summer actually started in the fall, when I bought Thistle #597 from a guy's barn. It was in pretty rough shape and I started restoring it with the help of my wonderful fiancee. We got it finished by Memorial Day and took it out for 2 glorious days of sailing. On the third day of sailing, I had it on the hoist to put it in the water when the lifting bridle failed and it fell about 6 feet onto my trailer. A pretty big hole was cracked in the bottom of the boat and I had to take it back to my garage for the rest of the summer.
The weekend after the boat drop was the Bayview One Design Regatta. I raced that with what would be my regular boat for the summer, a pretty competitive Beneteau 36.7. We did alright that weekend, it was my first time playing on the foredeck and I had to learn pretty quickly. It's just a little bigger than a Thistle
I kept sailing on the 36.7 in the local weekend regattas, including a snoozer of a Night Race where we started at 7 on Friday evening and ended up finishing at 10 the next morning. I got about an hour's worth of sleep, which turned out to be good training for the Bayview-Mackinac Race.
I also got to crew on a Cal 25 owned by one of the Thistle sailors at the club which was a ton of fun. We went out and won just about every race we sailed in while drinking a lot of beer. It was amazing to sail with a bunch of kids my age, where everyone was a really good sailor and we could have great results while having tons of fun.
In June my best friend from work bought a Beneteau First 38 to liveaboard. He's not a huge sailor and I helped him pick out the boat and went on the sea trials. It performed brilliantly and I've been sailing with him just about every week, helping him get it set up and teaching him some of the intricacies of sailing. We went out and saw the July 4th fireworks on it and slept over on the boat. It's been a great time sailing with him and my fiancee, very relaxing and super enjoyable. We've been able to introduce a lot of our friends to sailing and have definitely sparked an interest in our sport to many newcomers.
Of course there was also the Thistle sailing... One of the awesome members from my club agreed to let me use his spare boat on Wednesday nights, so I would show up with my fiancee and look for a third crew. I also spent time crewing for other people and doing race committee. It was tough knowing that I could've been out there if I'd rigged a better lifting bridle for my boat, but everyone was super supportive and it was just a great time.
One of the highlights of the summer was sailing the Bayview-Mackinac race on the Beneteau. We did alright on the race, not super well, but it was tons of fun. We had a bunch of sail changes the first evening, blew up the genoa, lost the spin topping lift up the mast (when that happened I jumped up the mast and free climbed to the first spreader to get it, then shinnied down and realized what an idiot I was). The first night was upwind in 20 knots of breeze and consistent 5 footers. We all spent the night huddled on the rail trying to catch some sleep. Being the bowguy, I spent the night blocking everyone else from the waves. It was a loooooong night. The next day made up for it though, as we spent the entire day reaching to the finish. We had the jib up for about 5 hours then switched to one of our spinnakers, and sailed under spin for the last 9 hours of the race, reaching the whole way, with only one jibe thrown in at the finish.
One of the very coolest things that happened this summer happened in South Bristol, ME. I went up there with my fiancee for a week's vacation and I decided to head to the Christmas Cove Improvement Association (basically a yahct club) and see if I could find a ride on a boat for their Saturday series. I ended up getting a ride on an Alerion 28, a very beautiful boat, owned by a retired lady who lives on the island part time. Our third crew was a retired gentleman who was a big Thistle sailor back in the day. We had a great time racing, beating the nearest boat by 20 minutes and enjoying ourselves immensely. Again it was the situation where all three of us were very good sailors and very relaxed, and we just went sailing, and ended up winning the race. The best part of it was that the lady who owned the boat let me take it out by myself the next day! So I took my fiancee sailing on Sunday afternoon. It was the most beautiful sail I've ever been on. Sunny day, 15 knots of breeze, a beautiful boat, and a beautiful and exceptionally capable companion to sail with.
Last weekend I went to Chicago to sail in the Verve Cup on my 36.7. It was an awesome event and it was so cool to have that opportunity. In a couple of weeks I'll be headed back there for the North American Championships.
I can't believe how fortunate I've been this summer to have all these sailing opportunities. I came into the Detroit area last summer knowing nobody, not having any idea of the awesome sailing there is around here, and this summer I've been able to do some amazing sailing and participate in some incredible events.
It continually amazes me how open and welcoming and generous sailors can be. From the yacht club accepting me, to the owner of the 36.7 asking someone he didn't know to crew for him for the summer, to the lady in Maine letting me sail her boat the day after I met her, I'm just astonished at how awesome sailors are.
I just found out that I'll be transferring to the Washington, DC area next month. It was a huge shock for me and I'm really sad to be leaving the Metro Detroit area. I sure hope that next summer I'll be able to make some new friends there and hopefully get some more awesome sailing in.
Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to get something written down to help me remember it better. Hope y'all can share some stories from your summer of sailing, and I hope the rest of it is Awesome!