JIMMY SCHOOLS CAPE CHARLES CUP RACE
I'll give you my own little Cape Charles Cup story. When I first started planning for the race my kids were going to come with me. I would have the twins (12 years old boys) and my 15 year old son as crew. On Friday afternoon I learned that all 3 had bailed out on me. Dumping me for friends birthday parties and bowling.
I was just cocky enough to tell them "no problem boys I will just solo this race". After all, once I round the first mark, I should be able to just set the sails, sit back and relax and listen to some music. A nice relaxing day. WRONG!!
As others have pointed out the excitement began as soon as we came out of the Little Creek jetty. Thank God I raised the main sail in the jetty or I would have never gotten it up. Have you ever heard the saying if you begin to wonder if you should have reefed your main, it's to late! There was no way I could have reefed while out in this choppy mess. So I sailing on with a full main and reduced the main sailed to about 90%.
Even with all this I had a pretty good start but that was the end of my stellar performance as the lone Cape Charles Cup "Velux wanna be racer". No matter how hard I sailed I could not seem to make that first mark. The current was running hard and once I hit the main channel I could tell there was no way I was going to finish the race within the time limit. On top of that I was exhausted! At this point I started the motor and enjoyed a good motor sail in to Bay Creek. At times I was hitting 7.5 - 8.2 kts motor sailing.
I was looking forward to a much better day on the sail back on Sunday. WRONG!
Again I had a pretty good start but for some reason I just couldn't seem to get the boat to point nor could I get the speed I expected for this amount of wind. I kept pushing trying to bite closer to the mark and ended up doing some beautiful 360 degree "pirouette". After doing 3 or 4 of these I notice my main problem. My main halyard was wrapped around the top of my spreaders. I didn't notice this until I was almost half way across, exhausted, wet, hungry, and totally frustrated. Once again I started the motor and began the long motor sail back to Scott's Creek. Ohh... Did I mention this was dead into the wind all the back?
It took me 6 1/2 hours to get back to the marina. I was so beat I just threw the dock lines on the boat and left. I had to go back and clean up the boat today. Did I also mention that I lost my Force 10 grill off my stern rail during this wonderful trip? In addition my small handheld VHF radio decided to give me some attitude so it is now in 65 feet of water close to the York River Channel. I'm usually a very calm guy but at that point I needed to vent some frustration and throwing that radio was all I could think of. My fresh water tank also began to leak pouring water into my cabin scaring the crap out of me. The tank shifted in the rough water breaking the water pump off the tank. Needless to say its a little scary when you see water in your cabin so I can relate to Dick's story in a much smaller way.
Even with all this it was a real adventure with some good lessons learned. It is a great sailing event that I will do again next year but with crew. Never solo again.
You got to love the spirit of the Chesapeake Bay, once again laughing in the face of the weather forecasters.