An hour before the start of the 2010 Tall Oaks-Windjammers
Challenge Cup. The boats started to assemble, and at the start
there were 21 of us ranging from a Beneteau 43 to a C&C 25.
The first leg was a 4.4 mile close reach, drag race south to a mark
just off Tice's Shoal. Then west to the "BB" marker at the end
of the Forked River channel, then a downwind finish back east
to the mark off Tice's. It honked the entire time, and we were
on our ear for most of it. It could not have been more fun.
Beside sharing human whisker-pole responsibilities
with Ellen and Cathie, Dwayne was grinder
extraordinaire, and without him we would not have
been able to compete. He had only sailed once
before, and Saturday he shed his novice label and
became a full-fledged must-have crew. Minutes
after this photo, we finally allowed him his first cold
beer. And then his second.
Approaching the finish, the Pearson 33 behind us
started to blanket us and was threatening to pass.
At the same time, we were quickly gaining on 3
boats ahead of us. Action right down to the wire!
Olivia decided to come above deck for the last
several minutes to give me updated info on the boat
astern. She spent most of the race getting thrown
around the cabin, eating chocolate covered donuts
and watching DVDs on her portable player.
Out of 18 boats that finished, we crossed the line a
respectable 10th, considering a less than perfect
start. We corrected to 8th, and all aboard were
thrilled and proud with the result, especially considering
it was the first time we all sailed together. The committee
boat, "Schnitz", has been a Metedeconk River Yacht Club
fixture for decades, and I was elated to be around her
again after so many years.
The coveted cup. We had a great gathering afterward
with Windjammers and also a few sailors from
Metedeconk who raced as well. It was the first time
in six years that Tall Oaks had won the cup and we
were proud as hell to have helped bring it back.
Sunday morning, 9:45 a.m. Tailgating at the edge of the swamps
of Jersey. Artie brought his old couch from home. He's recently
remodeled and figured he'd give it a farewell party. After the game
it was left there along with an end table for anyone interested.
Artie, middle, arrives at around 8:00 a.m., getting the tent pitched
and grills fired up. The rest of the regulars file in during the next
two hours, setting up chairs, coolers, and unpacking wave upon
wave of grillable items. My buddy Jerry is at far right.
Mark, with plate in hand, grilled the most incredible skirt steaks,
marinated, cooked medium, and sliced thinly. What an array of
tailgate food. I brought a couple of sandwiches leftover from the
race on Saturday, but when we got there, my mouth started
watering. I freeloaded all morning. Dry-rubbed, slow-cooked
ribs first, then Kielbasa and sauerkraut, two different kinds of
sausages, huge marinated prawns, jerk-spiced shrimp, then
the skirt steak. Not a goddamn vegetable in sight. Unless you
consider beer a vegetable.
And oh yeah, then we went in to watch the game. We should
have stayed on the couch. In the parking lot.