Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sailboat Racing on The Detroit River


This year is the least amount of sailing I have done in the last eight years. My newly discovered back problem and my chiropractor recommended to not sail as much this year, so only two races for me. Friday night was the last race of the season and I went along and brought my four year old daughter along.

The boat we sail is a 30 foot Tartan and is owned by two girlfriends, we sail this club race as an all women crew, I have sailed on this boat the last four seasons including when I was pregnant with my daughter. We all laughed and shared with my daughter that she had actually been racing with us before.

Getting ready for the start of race

The races take place on The Detroit River between Belle Isle, an island park in the city of Detroit, and the Detroit shoreline, it is a fairly large stretch of river that is also sheltered and not part of the freighter water system. We sail in the second class of boats and there are in any race between 8-16 boats. We actually do quite well in this class usually finishing top half or above, despite kidding to watch out for the "girly boat". Friday night we finished third which after time adjustments may have actually turned into a first or second place, a great way to end the season.

Racing is very fun, and can be both very tense or very relaxing depending on the wind conditions. During my instruction years attending a lecture someone once posed the question "why would anyone want to race the worlds slowest form of transportation"? A good night on the water spent in sport and good friends this is easy to understand.

Pre-race prep

Racing a sailboat is different then other type racing as the boats are moving at the start, think about it you cannot have sailboats sitting in a body of water with wind, current and traffic and just wait to start. Our start is 6:35 pm, so you sail around the water and the goal is to be on the start line as close to 6:35 without going over, then the race is underway. All boats sail the same coarse an finish the same, the skipper strategy, crew skill and luck of the wind all play key parts in all boats success.

The run down the river, towards the finish

We had a beautiful sail and did well finishing second and getting a flag, the coarse up river was a lot more action packed then the run back down the finish line. At the end we took a crew shot and as a side note the movie "The Little Murders" has scenes being shot at this location, you can see it lit in the background.

The victorious crew

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