That is the question.
Sailing may be getting old. I am, for sure. Our boat wins races only when the wind blows dogs off docks or when it doesn't blow enough to disturb cigarette smoke. When the wind is steady in the 7-11 knot range, we are mediocre at best. Therefore, I've always wanted to be sure to get out for as many races in our erratic spring months. There was a time, not so long ago at all, when I asked a neighboring boat to tow me out of my slip so I could take the advantage of 20 knot+ breezes. (This happened more than once!) I just regretted being harbor-stuck, not being able to benefit from 'my weather' when it finally arrived.
Last Wednesday and the coming Wednesday are warm-ups to this year's mid-week beer-can races. These two races are 'fun' races. Nothing counts, trophy-wise, until 30 March. I won't take my boat out until then, when stuff counts. But I'll race on the 30th, come hell or high water, because I would regret losing any Fleet Championship points if I didn't.
That's what it has come down to: nowadays I won't take my boat out on any given date unless I think I may live to regret leaving it in its slip.
An ex-crew who now sails a Harbor-20, emailed me two days ago. He was inquiring as to whether I was sailing on the 23rd. I thought he meant that his Harbor-20 needed crew, so I replied with my thumb out & up. But I was wrong: he didn't want me on his boat; he wanted to be on my boat. No chance of that, I will tell him, for this coming week.
Reinforcing my natural disinclination to race for the fun of it, has been the week's weather. In Sunday's early morning hours, all hell broke loose as well as a couple of boats much bigger than mine. Reports are not clear as to the sequence of events, to my satisfaction anyway.
But it seems that two boats broke loose off of East Beach. One was a 70-ft tugboat with two people and a dog aboard; the other was a 45-ft sailboat name Vixen with a family of four aboard along with their 3-legged dog. (I'm not making this up!) The two boats apparently crunched together at one point. The tug made it to shore safely; Fire Department personnel helped them off, on to the beach.
Meanwhile, Vixen's crew had to be rescued.
There were some hitches. This was during the 30-40 MPH gusts at 0730 hrs Sunday, with appropriately sized seas. The first responder was a two-man Harbor Patrol boat. En route, this would-be rescue craft had one of its windows blown out; moments later it began taking on water; still moments later, a crewman became ill in the process of pumping the water. In the end, the Harbor Patrol boat needed to be rescued.
The Coast Guard responded and one of its rescue swimmers made it aboard Vixen. A plan was hatched to air-lift Vixen's crew off with a USCG helicopter. But the high seas and strong winds prevented the helicopter from approaching the sailboat, due to its mast whipping to and fro. Finally, the Alan T, a privately owned work boat was used as a shield to block the waves and the wind long enough to allow the Harbor Patrol to bring a launch alongside the distressed sailboat and to fetch all aboard, off.
Now these two craft had come to grief while they were anchored, because their ground tackle failed. This week my own boat has been enough trouble, in its slip. I spent more than 90 minutes today on my lunch hour, checking lines, and pumping out her head. We had 6.5 inches of horizontal rain yesterday. The water in the harbor looks like spinach soup. More rain is due Wednesday morning. If I start my engine in this slop and toss my lines, people will be taking pictures of my craft on the beach.
I'm glad I'm doing Race Committee this Sunday.