Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Rest Day. Relax, Recover, Recharge

Rest Day. Relax, Recover, Recharge is a chant I kept saying to myself over and over again yesterday on the water.

I am not sure if it was my secret wind dance or all your prayers for wind that woke up the Wind Gods. Yesterday, for the first time, the wind was perfect for the first race. At two minutes left in the starting sequence (out of five minutes), I got a large piece of seaweed stuck on my fin. I slowly tacked in an attempt to release it from my fin. A tack is a turning maneuver where the boat turns its bow through the wind and if done slowly the board slightly drifts backwards or sideways. It did not come off. Frustrated, I tacked again exaggerating the movement only to lose my balance in the sea swell and fell in. Less than one minute left to start. I took a deep breath and told myself, you can do this you have plenty of time.....and then I fell again. The other girls were off.

What happened? I fell and my board capsized with the mast pointing straight down. I could not turn it over. I fought, swam, pulled, pushed, kicked, and then slowly I got into a position to turn it over. Meanwhile I was breaking all the hearts of the committee boat and judges as I drifted downwind. The cold and the fatigue of the last 3 days of sailing started to set in. This was the wind I was dreaming of all week and now.... The frustration was overwhelming. I chanted, "Relax, Recover, Recharge." Instead of winning the race I became determined to at least cross the starting line. As I had to sail behind the committee boat towards the harbor, everyone thought I was going in. Everyone except my mom, who knew my level of determination can at times borderline insanity. Yes, I crossed the starting line just as everyone else was doing their first downwind leg. I finished last but I rounded the course 3 times and had a blast once I was going fast. I was exhausted. Every inch of my body wanted to retire and go in but we had one more race to go.

Then, even though with all the chop and swell it looked really windy, the wind dropped back down to 10 knots. Not enough wind to plane at high angles upwind but enough to work your heart out in order to pump/surf/plane your way downwind. Out of pure determination and will I went for it but I was out of energy. The four day marathon of racing is over. Today is a rest day before we start all over again on Thursday. Four more days of racing. Looking forward to a day off, but at the same time I can not wait to get back on the race course. I have learned so much and in such a short amount of time my sailing has improved dramatically. It has been an amazing experience. I am really proud of everyone. Each one of us is becoming a better sailor everyday.

Official Race Results

I would really like to give a shout out to Jimmy, on the RSX men's fleet, who turns 18 today. Happy Birthday! Lots of smiles, cheers, and wishes.

Denise Parris, USA 235