Sailboat Races at the Yacht Club

January 13, 2008

Helen – We had a church date with Ranjan.  He picked us up at 8:15 for Mass at St. Theresa.  It was a lovely church with stained glass windows and a fan blowing at every pew.  Fresh flowers were at the alter and the people all singing as we entered.  The priest was Indian (they say that they are better) with a wonderful sermon.  There was a projection screen for the liturgy so we could follow and wonderful simple songs to harmonious melodies.  Communion was received in the mouth like the old days.  We really enjoyed it.

After church we went to Ranjan’s home for breakfast.  It included string hoppers, but this time they were oval shaped and filled with sweet coconut and a molded rice which was inverted onto a plate and cut into squares.  It was seasoned with ginger and other spices and served with shaved brown sugar.  Mmmmmmm.  The hot tea steamed with ginger and tasted exotic.

Ranjan’s home and gardens were breathtaking.  He is truly an artist in heart and soul.  The gardens were well manicured with many different kinds of flowers, trees, and bushes.  He not only designed it himself but has planted and cared for it himself as a therapy.  Unique birdbaths were scattered around and made out of interesting stone and concrete structures, each filled with water and different flowers floating in them (jasmine, lilies, etc.).  Some of the stone structures were really big and heavy and he was telling us how he moved them from their original sites to his yard…it was neither easy nor cheap!!

His home also reflected his artistic talent.  He had designed the house which had a mixture of modern and old at the same time.  The art work was varied but each piece was illuminated with a small spot light.  Again the living room and dining room were together with the end walls painted a pale gold while the side walls were white.  One wall had a long low barred window with really neat ironwork.  The far end wall where the dining area was had an open recessed stairway to the second floor.  In the recessed area was a fountain and water plants.  I could definitely move right in!!

Now it was time to go to the yacht club.  It was about 45 minutes away.  The last 20 minutes were really rough with narrow rutted dirt roads loaded with people, pets, and cars going in both directions.  We took a change of clothes since we were still dressed for church.  Ayomi and Mohan met us as we arrived and Mohan was rushing us because the race was to start in 15 minutes.


I had planned on visiting with Ayomi and the other ladies at the club while the men raced.  However, it seemed that all the teams were already paired and if Tom was to sail, I had to be his partner.  Now let’s look at this picture again!!  We have never raced together and we have never sailed this kind of boat before.  It was called a GP and was quite different than the Lasers we are used to sailing – larger, deeper, wooden, and with a jib sail.  Tom and I aren’t really good paired together for any kind of competition.


People were already getting ready for the race so we didn’t get much time to look around.  The building was an open pavilion with a covered roof shaped like the capital letter I.  The bottom of the I was the bar, the middle section had tables and chairs where you could have small and large groupings, then the top of the I was where the signal bell was located and a couple of swings for looking over the lake.


There was a large chalk board by the bell describing the racing course.  It was not just a matter of going around two or three buoys in a circular path…no, it was a zig-zag course around 7-9 buoys; I can’t remember the exact number because we never finished an entire course.  It was the best 2 out of 3 races.  The boats were rigged and launched by the helpers so all you had to do was climb in and go.  First I had to learn how to use the cleats to move the jib; Tom meanwhile was adjusting to the mainsail and rudder.  The lines were different as was the centerboard.  It was a lot to learn, thank heavens that there was little wind.  We sailed out to the starting line getting used to the boat; everyone was already vying for a good spot and we are trying to stay out of their way.  The first signal bell lets you know that it is 5 minutes to start and people begin to get a little pushy.  These people are an international sailing group; many British, Scandinavians, and locals who studied abroad.  We let everyone go ahead of us and figured we were just out there to have a good time (even with all my complaining) and tried to follow the boats through the course because we couldn’t remember the route even though we wrote it down on a piece of paper.


All the buoys look the same and before you know it we are not following anymore but rather crossing through their course.  Oh well, it can’t get much worse, but it does.  The first race is over and they are not going to wait for us to finish (as if we could), so we sail over to reposition for the next race.  The wind is now picking up and the sky is filled with black clouds.  A few raindrops have already fallen but we are feeling better this time and as the wind picks up we are hiking over the side and Tom promises me he will not let us go over.  We are still at the rear but doing better while the rain gets harder and the thunder rolls.  I keep thinking maybe we should give it up but they are still going.  We are pretty drenched by now when we see that the race is stopped and thank heavens there will be no third race. 


We get to the shore and since we have all come in at the same time it’s crowded.  I decide to jump out of the boat just a few yards from shore…mistake.  I stepped off into deep squishy mud past my calves.  It sucked my feet down and I couldn’t move.  I pulled on one leg only to lose my balance and grab onto the line separating the launch area.  I stepped into a net, lost my shoe, had to relocate it with my bare foot and was finally pulled in by one of the helpers.  I was pretty embarrassed going into the shower.  Tom enjoyed the event and I felt better about it the next day.


All the women brought pot luck to share after the race.  It was truly and international feast with so many different kinds of foods and desserts.  We left about 4 tired and glad to have had the experience.   

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