RS Aeros at Sarasota One Design Midwinters – Day 1

What I did in Sarasota this month…

On the middle weekend of March, Tillerwoman and I headed down to Florida for the Sarasota One Design Midwinters. Well, I went to sail in the SODM. Tillerwoman came so she could go for long walks on the beach, explore the shops on St. Armand’s Circle, and keep me out of trouble.

St. Armand’s Circle is apparently named after a Frenchman called Monsieur St. Amand who bought a big chunk of land in Florida for $21.71 and who later had his name misspelled as St. Armand on a deed. I feel his pain. St. Amand (the saint not the dude who spent $21.71 on land) is the patron saint of beer of which I used to drink a lot. There is a circle at St. Armand’s Circle because John Ringling, the circus dude, liked rings. The rest is history.

I wasn’t sure about going to this regatta because about two weeks before, right out of the blue, I lost my ability to move my right arm. Totally. Couldn’t move it at all. So I googled the medical websites (as one does) and managed to figure out that I had “frozen shoulder.” Apparently that is actually a thing. Some of the aforementioned websites recommended various tortures one could do to one’s frozen shoulder, so I did some of the tortures and, although my shoulder still wasn’t right (well it was right in the sense of not left but not right in the sense of not wrong) I decided to go to the regatta anyway.

When I arrived at the regatta site on Friday morning I met Bob who persuaded me to use a 7 rig instead of a 9 rig. His logic seemed to be that if the two of us sailed 7 rigs then everybody else would sail 7 rigs and we could have some nice close competition instead of seeing the 9 rigs disappear over the horizon and praying that we could beat them on handicap. Bob was wrong because Big Jim showed up later and Big Jim always sails a 9 rig and Marc decided to sail a 9 rig because he is a nice guy and he didn’t want Big Jim to feel lonely. Whatever. I mainly went along with Bob because my right shoulder wasn’t right (see above) and I thought I would be less likely to further damage my not right shoulder if I sailed a 7 rig which is such a wimpy rig it’s currently being considered as the rig for girls to sail in the Olympics.

Anyway we did the usual regatta first morning thing of saying hi to long lost friends and saying hi to total strangers sailing RS Aeros for the first time and struggling to figure out what the sailing instructions really meant when translated into ordinary English and going to a skippers meeting where a very nice man called Eric explained what the hell we would be doing. (Actually the very nice man called Eric turned out to be a long lost friend so I said hi to him too.)

The first surprise was that we would be sharing a course with the Finns sailing their National Championship. What? I had seen so much stuff on the Interwebs about how Finns are the only boat that real men sail, and how God made Finns to be in the Olympics and how it’s totally unthinkable that the Finns won’t be in the Olympics forever, that I had come to think of the Finns as being totally superior to the more mundane classes like RS Aeros and Lasers sailed by mere mortals like myself. What is going on? The exalted Finn sailors are not only reduced to having their Nationals at a multi-class regatta instead of having a dedicated event for themselves, they are also having to endure the shame of actually sharing a course with an upstart class like the RS Aero?

Apparently so. How are the mighty fallen.

Where was I? Where am I?

Oh geeze. I have written almost 700 words already and we haven’t even launched yet. Maybe I should split this regatta report into three posts, one for each day.

Anyway we launched along with the very large gentlemen from the Finn Class (seriously some of these dudes are giants) and sailed a couple of miles out to the course and waited around for Eric and his friends to set the course which was tricky because the wind kept changing its mind where it wanted to blow from but Eric and his friends were very professional and eventually we did a two lap windward leeward race with a downwind finish in which I beat two sailors from Fraglia Vela Riva (which apparently is in Italy on a lake called Lake Garda) and two sailors from Brooklyn and a kid from Sarasota sailing an RS Aero for the first time.

The first race took 30 minutes which Eric and his friends obviously thought was not long enough for us so we then did a three lap race in which Eric and his friends successfully pulled off a change of course half way through the race when the wind changed yet again and everybody (I think) knew this meant that we had to go round a green buoy not a yellow buoy so that was all good.

That race took 45 minutes – or about 50 minutes if one happened to be near the back of the fleet as one occasionally does. It was at this point that I realized I felt incredibly tired. Maybe it was because the temperature was about 60 degrees higher than it was back home, or maybe it was because I am about 50 years older than I was when I was actually fit. Anyway, whatever the reason, being mindful that I was still recovering from frozen shoulder (which really is a thing) and that I needed to nurse my not right shoulder through two more days of sailing, I decided to call it a day, said farewell to Eric and his friends on the committee boat, and sailed back to the club.

And so, after a couple of hours relaxing in an air-conditioned hotel room, it was off to the Crab and Finn for a delicious seafood dinner with Tillerwoman.

Or perhaps that should really be Fin, not Finn. I think I am a bit too obsessed with Finns.

Here endeth the first day.


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