Reflections on Getting Older

You would think that regaining control over an addiction should be something to celebrate, or at least give rise to a feeling of pride , but I find my feelings are rather ambivalent. Before you jump to the wrong conclusions and start searching for piles of discarded whisky bottles , its sailboat racing I am referring to , not booze! You see this year we only planned to do one regatta , and this has come and gone , and astonishingly there are no sign of withdrawal symptoms.

In the days leading up to the event I even wondered if I could be bothered with all the fuss. Turning Festina into a racing machine ( albeit one with more gourmet food and creature comforts than is found in the average restaurant!) seems to take longer every year , and the thought of negotiating crowded start lines and frantic mark rounding’s honestly didn’t appeal.

Then the crew arrived!

Years ago when we were at the start of our learning curve , 50% of our time was taken up teaching and explaining to our young crew everything from the theory and practice of what makes a boat go , to the mechanics of the manoeuvres and vagaries of the wind. Over the years this has changed so that if anything they are now instructing us, or even better, working as a group to fine tune our performance. It is a matter of considerable pride to Lynda and myself that both our children and our young friends still want to sail with us and the feeling on the boat as 9 experts worked together to consolidate our crew work and improve our analysis of wind variations and sail trim was simply thrilling. At the end of that training day my misgivings had disappeared to be replaced by pleasurable anticipation of a weekends sailing with our phenomenally talented family and friends.

The regatta (the Sigma 38 nationals ) was close ( there were 6 winners in a seven race series) and we weren’t the fastest boat , but our crew work was outstanding and we simply made less mistakes than the opposition and came out on top. How could it be different with a crew like that?

And now? Well, I am happy to go off wandering for the summer and if I have any regrets, it’s that I no longer have that obsessive yearning for the next race , that elusive wind shift , the perfect start!

Goodness me, you don’t think I am growing up do you?

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