Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sept. Racing Column for the Alberg 30 Mainsheet

This month is the real start of the Alberg 30 fall racing season. We have two races this month: Oxford and Queenstown.

Oxford is my favorite race on our schedule. You never know what kind of ride you'll experience on the way down, but it's usually exciting. (One year I snapped my tiller in the middle of the race...ask me about it sometime.) Once you're there, you can wander the small streets of the town and find some good grub to eat with your crew.

You'll probably run into other A30 racers where ever you end up. On LinGin we somehow always pick the restaurant that Second-2-Nun does. It's always a pleasure to trade some good natured jabs with Harry his crew!

The next morning, I'll head out early for a jog through town and to grab some sandwiches for the crew to eat on the race home. The Albergs are usually a late start so we don't have to head out to the line as early as the other boats. It's really neat to walk along the waterside park there, listening to the starting gun go off and watching the boats head down the Tred Avon River as the day begins to unfold.

The race back from Oxford ends about half way up the bay, which has it benefits and detractors. I'm not sure I like it ending there, but I can tell you that the racing conditions in the rivers versus on the bay are almost always very different.

Queenstown is a great event for everyone, but especially for those boats on the Magothy River since our start takes place at Baltimore Light. It's not a very long race; we shoot straight across the bay, into the Chester River and up to Queenstown. I think that's part of the reason families enjoy this race.

Once there, we raft up and the race committee creates a floating party by tying two work boats together and providing refreshments. Much merriment is made and many sea stories told and just about when you think the work boats are going to sink because of all the people on them, the party breaks up for everyone to cook their dinner and settle in for the evening.

The next morning it's a race back the way we came. With good conditions we're back at Baltimore Light by two in the afternoon with our sails full and a spirits lifted. Nothing does that like a good weekend of sailing!

Of note, if you've never seen someone actually have the grounding that wins them the Keel Wheels Award, Queenstown is not a bad place to try to catch it. If you're good at FOLLOWING the boat ahead VERY SLOWLY, you'll probably do fine getting in and out of the harbor. If you're not, well, there just may be half a roller skate nailed to a plaque waiting for your name to be inscribed on it.

Don't forget to make plans for the Canadian Friendship Races NOW! They're October 18th and 19th this year and we'll be sailing out of the Potapskut Sailing Association's (PSA) club up in Pasadena.

One of the things we're excited about is that each day of racing will start and finish out of PSA. This means everyone will be together each day and we're hoping that will facilitate the sharing of stories and allow everyone to get to know our Canadian guests all the better. Don't miss all the parties that Mike Meinhold is putting together for us, too!

If you have any questions or would like to discuss bringing your boat up early, please contact me or Larry Morris, the race coordinator.

See you on the water!

Tim Williams

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