21 November 2006

Ha Ha

They say that if you can't pick out the sucker at the table within the first 30 seconds in poker then it's you. It might be the same thing in a yacht race (I love how that sounds, yacht race).

On Sunday, we were our usual 2 minutes late to the line as the captain cowered in the back of the cockpit in mortal fear of the scrum. So we took notice of who we were able to catch up to. One dark blue cruisy-looking 30'+ sloop caught my attention. Ah, that's our competition for the back of the fleet. We will defeat them soundly.

So we're all on starboard heading upwind for the first mark, about when we get to mark-D, it's time to tack over and get some Northing in. I notice that blue-sloop-guy is getting ready to tack, about 50 yards to windward and 50 yards behind us, if all is done right, we should pass just to their stern if we tack at the same time.

All is well, we're both tacking, we basically are even and I'm noticing that they, too, have kids on board and one mighty large propane tank strapped to the pushpit. This is just what I'm noticing. Then, out of nowhere, they stop tacking just about head to wind and go back onto starboard. A female voice rings out clear as a bell: "HA HA", just like Nelson on the Simpsons.

What the hell did that mean? HA HA? Was she mocking us for our ability to actually complete a tack? It was intended for us, I could see her looking at us. Could it have been some sort of advanced psychological warfare that they were going to trick us into going on port (never mind that we had about 3 minutes until we hit the Berkeley Pier if we stayed on starboard)?

We'll never actually know because we're faster on port and we just left them in the dust. I looked back every once in a while to try to sort out their little game but never was able to. After we rounded the windward mark and were heading downhill, we passed near enough that they might have heard me say "ha ha" back at them. No way could it have had the same effect.

After our dramatic last-second whupping of the Tartan 37 (more on that later), we dropped our sails in the marina basin and were heading back to our slip when I noticed our foe out by the breakwater, about 100 feet from the finish line. Oddly, they were standing still. This wasn't some optical illusion, I could see their mast not moving against two points of land. They were aground! In basically the ONLY place on SF Bay you can run aground, within 100 feet of the finish and 5 feet of the breakwater. I guess that answers who was the sucker at this table.


EVK4 said...

Before you comment on my sensitivity level to groundings, I am aware that all sailors run aground eventually. But very few ran-aground sailors have just yelled HA HA at me.

Tillerman said...

Don't keep us in this tense state of anticipation any longer. Dozens of your eager readers can't sleep at night until we hear about your dramatic encounter with the Tartan 37.

EVK4 said...

I don't get to sail again until 12/3, I have to milk out my 3 stories from Sunday as long as I can. Otherwise, you're getting posts about dry Thanksgiving turkeys and I know you don't want that.

Tillerman said...

You don't want a dry turkey. Deep fry it. That way we might even get a post about how you set your house on fire with the deep frier!

Seriously, have a great Thanksgiving.

We're off to celebrate the holiday with Son #2 and then to celebrate first birthday of Granddaughter #1 with Son #1 and Daughter-in-Law #1.

Anonymous said...

Actually, deep frying a turkey is a good way to get a moist bird...if you don't burn down the house doing it. My brother-in-law fries one up every so often, but this year he found his turkey fryer has holes that aren't supposed to be there... oh well..

I think your comment on the grounded blue boat is fitting...they seem to have brought it on themselves.

While I do want to hear how you dusted the T37...I understand your reasoning...and appreciate it.

Unfortunately, the long cold dark off season has set in up here...so I'm not going to be sailing for a bit...unless I get dragooned into frostbiting...which is not likely as my drysuit has to be tailored first. :D

Pat said...

Life is tough in the high desert; I haven't been sailing since Sunday and probably won't get another chance until tomorrow afternoon, after we've had some nice moist turkey. Are you sure the skipper was laughing at you and not at herself or her own crew?

Pat said...

And then there's the old anecdote,

"Mateys, I know every shoal and reef in this here bay."


"See, there's another one!"

Zen said...

I had no turkey, I did get to sail, now where is the rest of the story...
breathless in the east bay.