We finally broke the deadlock! Out of racing for 140 days, Das Boot tossed her dock lines at 4:30 sharp this afternoon. Aboard were two rookie crewpersons who turned out to serve more than adequately as mastman and sailtrim. Not that I wasn't concerned, very concerned, in the early going. The wind was perfect: steady at 14+. But there were lots of extra thumbs getting the mainsail up. So much so, that we weren't in the starting area but a few seconds before the warning signal. Traffic was a challenge because I spent a lot of my attention on micro-managing the new recruits and less time steering. When we finally had the jib up, Trophy Wife had to hit me up side ma head to get me to turn the diesel off just in time for the four-minute preparation warning. We were so far off our timing on the start that I found my position required a port start in a 19-boat fleet. That's rare option for us, even when the wind favors port. I was totally late to the line, but I recognized that our angle from the port end gave us a favorable shot at taking Kelp Island to port. With Foredecker's encouragement, ("What do we have to lose?") I elected to go for it. Turned out that the kelp patch had grown so much during our Sequester, that only the Ranger-33 joined us in this risky path. Our rookies caught on amazingly quickly to short, quick tacking. My anxiety dissipated into enjoyment. Spinnaker was hoisted with perfection. I relaxed enough to break out the camera for some furtive shots. Two downwind legs were uneventful. On the reach we gained two boats but lost to a multihull who passed us to weather. Discretion encourage us to douse early and we were still able to hold our position through the final beat to the finish. Mastman honored us by going up and collecting Das Boot's glass. I hope he can achieve a pair before he leaves for the East Coast! Conclusions: My energy level was incredible. I forgot my normal percentage of details. Foredecker saved me time & time again. In 15 knots, Das Boot really sails herself. I figure we lost 4-5 boats on the start. Oh well. On Downsizing: Das Boot requires an experienced crew of five to seven to realize her optimal mark roundings. Through the year that presents challenges. The reward is the achievement of close teamwork and enduring friendship. As Trophy Wife and I contemplate downsizing our LOA by 10 feet, we are beginning to realize what we will be losing. Sailors are great people. Nevertheless, as much as I was able to recover my Zone this afternoon, I have to reiterate my refrain that smaller is better. Not to mention more age-appropriate. It opens up the possibility of more sailing dates, and maybe even non-racing outings where we can introduce sailing to our noncompetitive/novice friends! Imagine! Do you think?