When I was young, summer Saturdays were race days at the Saunderstown YC on the West Passage of Narragansett Bay. I started off as the forward hand on the family sailfish, which had a nasty habit of punching its nose so deep into waves that I often wondered if it would ever come up for air. At some point, my dad installed a “hiking strap”—a piece of prickly three-strand rope that he tied athwartships between the grab rails. That and the homemade nonskid—sifted beach sand and paint—made it about the most uncomfortable boat you could ever sail.
We soon upgraded to a sunfish. I then moved onto a Lawley, a classic wooden 12-footer, and then back to the family sunfish, but this time on my own.
No matter what boat, however, the pattern was the same. First gun at 2 p.m., racing until 4, then tea on the deck afterward. Normally, children are not allowed at the adult tea. But this rule was waived for anyone who raced. Nothing tasted better after a day battling a typical summer seabreeze than a cup of hot tea loaded with three teaspoons of sugar and enough milk to take out all the color.
Now, my regular racing happens on weekday evenings, with the weekends reserved for larger events, or spending time with the family. But for many sailors—including my parents, who have since upgraded to a Bullseye—Saturday is still the day when everyone goes sailing. So for the third installment in this reader-generated story, we’re going to give those sailors a chance to chime in.
Are you planning to race on July 16th? **It doesn’t matter if it’s with the **local dinghy fleet or in a national championship. Maybe you’re sailing to Mackinac Island. Or just going around the cans. No matter what, if you’re on a boat and the score is being kept, Sailing World wants to hear (and see) all about it. The best entries will be published in a 2012 issue of the magazine. Every qualifying entry will be featured online.
You can review our previous two stories in this series, “One Wednesday Night in America” (July/August 2010) and “One Thursday Night in America” (June 2011) to get an idea what people have sent in. But really, we just want to hear about your day. Did you do well? Did you have fun? Did it rain, or did the wind forget to show up? Or was the weather postcard-perfect?
Tell us the story that you might tell a co-worker at the water cooler on Monday. Or the tale you’d recount to a longtime crewmate who missed the day because he was out of town. Give us the highs as well as the lows, the humorous and the serious, what you remember most.
Maybe it’s one great mark rounding or one horribly bad tactical call. Maybe it’s the post-race social. Or an offbeat conversation on the way out to the course. Sailing is a lot more than simply what happens between the five-minute gun and the finish. Whatever you submit, however, has to have taken place on July 16. Photos, too, must be from that day. (Remember to set the resolution to high on your digital camera).
All submissions (or questions if you have any) should be directed to [email protected]