Glass Off in Key West

With racing cancelled for the day, I headed to the beach and played tourist.

Sailing World

KStorck368c

--Kaitlin Storck

As predicted, the morning greeted us with a shimmering sea of glass as we pulled out of our condo driveway on the south side of Key West. We headed down to the boat to listen up for the 10:00 a.m. radio announcement as to whether we were postponed or not. There was a feeling in the air it could be a beach day.

As soon as we arrived in J/80 land, rumors were spreading we had been postponed until noon. The only problem was that no one had actually heard the announcement. Apparently, our location was too far for the VHF signal. Many of the J/80s, Rumor included, dock over at Stock Island, a place most racers only pass through twice each year, as it's the last island you cross before reaching Key West. It's bittersweet being over there. It's nice not to have to wait in line to launch our boat, and we can park the car directly in front of where we are docked. The boat is literally about 20 feet from the truck on most days. At the same time, we miss out on some of the excitement happening at Key West bight.

Today brought little excitement, however, as the noon radio announcement instructed us to wait until 12:30. That announcement extended the delay until 1 p.m., at which time they decided to cancel for the day. I know many in J/80 land were happy to hear this, as sitting on land waiting for wind can cause sailors to slowly lose patience. I saw more than a few randomly wandering on their smartphones, eventually finding the end of the internet.

Given the beautiful day—besides lack of wind—I decided I'd head to the beach for one of my three beach days a year. I believe that is what I had last year, so this will give me a head start for 2012. As a sailor who gets entirely too much sun as it is, I really don’t enjoy basking in the sun. So, even when I do hit the sand, an hour or two is just perfect. Smathers beach is a gorgeous spot directly across from the condo where we've been staying since my first Key West Race Week, in 2005. Until today, however, I'd never stepped foot on that beach. So with book and towel in hand, I headed across the street.

After some solid progress in my book, my mom met up with me, and we went for a dip. The water was cool at first but just perfect once we got in. I think this was the first time I've ever partaken in traditional daytime tourist activities here in Key West. That is the one bummer about sailing sometimes. We travel to amazing places around the world but often are unable to fully experience them as they're meant to be experienced. Well, at least I can check Key West off that list.

Tomorrow brings another early start time for hopefully more racing. We personally could use all the racing we can get, given our current position and proximity to the boats in front of us. Although I enjoyed today’s beach day, it's the only one I'll need for the next four months; here’s to better wind tomorrow.

_ Access SW's complete coverage of Quantum Key West 2012. _