The Plan: Start the RastaRace at 1:00 off Crooked Island; after the race, celebrate with BBQed jerk chicken kabobs, reggae, and Red Stripes at the cove.
The Reality: The Lightnings and Hobie thought the start time was 1:00; the Minuets thought it was 2:00; the marker buoy anchor rhodes were a little short for the deep water; and, somehow, matches didn’t make it into the cooking kit…
The Adaptation: Marker placement would be abandoned for a meetup and informal group start off Hoyt Island; Portsmouth yardstick time correction would be abandoned for the new Great Pond yardstick which cites first over the finish line….and we’d figure out how to make fire when the time came.
The Race: Once the Lightnings, Hobie, and Minuets came together in once place, the racing fleet shot out bound for the western side of Oak Island. The wind was constant but shifty. The boats approaching the gap between Hoyt Island and Long Point enjoyed a favorable lift, and Paul Berkner pulled off the miracle of all miracles by rounding the rock pile without having to tack.
Once the fleet arrived at Oak Island, the boats cracked off for a champagne sailing broad reach down the length of the lake back to Crooked Island. Jack Schultz and Lynn Matson, smokin’ on the Hobie, ate up their competitors…like Doritos.
Desperate to hold them off, Sheldon and Ben popped their Lightning’s spinnaker and fought heroically to keep it filled on a very tight reach, trying to line themselves up for a perfect first-place photo finish. But a quarter mile from the finish, the Lightning succumbed to the smokin’ Hobie, and the Committee Boat was treated to a splash of color as the rainbowed mainsail of the Hobie was followed by the blue and neon-green spinnaker of the Lightning.
In the middle of the fleet, Paul Berkner fought valiantly sans spinnaker to keep up nicely with the boats in the lead.
Taking up the rear, the dueling Minuets fought like banshees, trading jibe for jibe and tack for tack. Ultimately, years of sailing much bigger boats on much bigger seas paid off, and our PRO, Peter McManus, took the lead and held it to the finish.
Hot on his heels was Dick Greenan, who finished the race in his usual glorious and good-humored style.
The Cookout: The sun-soaked and wind-blown fleet retired to the not-so-secluded cove on Crooked Island. There, a king’s feast of jerk chicken kabobs was prepared and ready…only to be sacrificed for want of a single match. Undeterred by another challenge, Sheldon and Ben dusted off their MacGyver skills to generate a spark large enough to ignite the propane grill. When the D-cell batteries in the iPod stereo produced an anemic spark, the situation began to look desperate. The famished and restless crowd was staved off by the Treasurer, who broke into the potato salad and Oreos.
With no other solution apparent on land, Ben and Sheldon swam the grill out to Junebug, where they hot-wired her batteries to create a spark just large enough to ignite the grill…but not the committee boat. Triumphant, Sheldon waded the red-hot flaming grill to shore, resembling some sort of cross between Christopher Columbus, Lady Liberty, and an Olympic torch bearer.
The reggae swelled, and the party began. Jerked chicken kabobs hit the grill with an audible hiss followed by the cheers and soon-to-be sated proletariat. The triumphant moment combined with Red Stripes and Reggae further restored all spirits.
Festivities were capped off by the Commodore’s race trophy presentation — a coconut to be custom carved for commemoration of their victory — to Jack Schultz and Lynn Matson — the first and most colorful to cross the finish line.
Thank you, all, for your patience, good humor, and being there to make the day so much fun!