The alarm clock rings, and we are surrounded by darkness. No one should ever have to get up at 3:00am, but we somehow manage to crawl out of bed and into the shower. The water spraying on our face snaps us out of the sleepy trance and catapults us into our busy day ahead. We enjoy a cup of bulletproof coffee, and by 3:45, we are on the road to the airport. We arrive, check our bag, and with “pre-check,” we are through security in a short time. After settling ourselves into our seats, the airline pilot gets on the loudspeaker to announce the plane has a fueling issue, and it will be 30 minutes before we can leave. Long story short, 2-1/2 hours later, the wheels are up, and we are heading to Dallas Forth Worth. As a result of the airline issue, we miss two connecting flights and have a two-hour layover until the next flight leaves for San Diego.
We finally make it to Silver Gate yacht Club, where our boat is docked. It was a beautiful afternoon temperature in the low 70s, a nice change from the humid 90-degree weather we left in Florida. After a long day, we looked forward to getting the boat on the water for a couple of hours. Like the plane we were on earlier, we start having trouble getting out of our slip. We have some difficulty starting our auxiliary motor but finally can back out of our slip. Oh no!! The engine quits, and Jennifer is fending us off other boats. We get the motor going and proceed out of the marina, but the motor runs rough and has very little power. We manage to get back to our slip, and I examine the engine with Jennifer peering over my shoulder. Nonchalantly she says, “ what’s that loose wire at the back of the motor? “ I sheepishly reply, “ Oh, that’s a loose Spark plug lead.” I push the lead back on the spark plug, and the motor starts right up. Let’s try this again! As we make our way out of the marina and into the Bay, we enjoy reading off the names of the boats we pass. We motor smoothly into the beautiful San Diego bay, and even though there’s a nice breeze, we elect to cruise with the motor. Jennifer takes the helm, and we take off towards downtown San Diego. I love the excited feeling you get when you’re in awe over something new. We experience extreme joy being on the water in a new city, laughing at the Seals sunbathing on buoys, and watching the Navy Helicopters fly overhead and back to Coronado Naval Air Station. We spend the rest of the afternoon motor sailing around and get back to the hotel for an early night.
Friday comes, and it is so lovely to finally have everyone together. Our crew consists of a mix of seasoned sailors and greenhorns. Alexandra and Catherine, Clive’s daughters, join us from Arizona, and each has had some experience sailing. Krys, Clive’s friend, has been sailing most of his life and made the trip from Florida to join us. Ben and Chris are two experienced local Sailors. Ben has looked after and maintained the boat for the past four years, and their knowledge of the local water is crucial when sailing these regattas. Once the last of the crew arrives, we decide to take the boat into the Bay to practice. We want to make sure everyone knows their specific job, so we run through various maneuvers such as setting, gybing, and dousing the Spinnaker. Once everyone is comfortable with their position, we head back to our slip at the club. Later that evening, we go to the Gaslight District in downtown San Diego and have a couple drinks and a lovely dinner.
Saturday morning comes way too quick, but everyone is eager to get a good breakfast before heading to the club. We prepare the boat, cast off, and motor out to the start line. There are 43 boats in total racing, and the race is divided into six classes. In our class, there are 5 boats, three of which are Flying Tigers. I have a touch of nerves which is expected before the start of a race. There are boats all around us, and everyone is jockeying for a good position. Before the start, we begin our approach making sure that we don’t go over the line early. When the starting horn blares, we are a few seconds behind the other Flying Tigers. Our goal now is to try to catch and pass them. I instruct our crew to keep their weight out to keep the boat from heeling over too much. My nerves have now settled, and I appreciate the beautiful weather, sunshine, and vibrant blue sea. Someone shouts out, shark and we see a 7-foot black tip shark swim by our boat.
The Breeze is between 12-15knts, and we are on a beam reach doing 7 – 8 knots of boat speed. We do our best to catch the other two tigers, but they maintain their lead. We finally reach North Coronado Island, which we round to starboard. The wind is now favorable for us to set the Spinnaker. A little while later, we jibe onto port tack and head back to San Diego. We almost broach and decide we need to douse the Spinnaker as the wind direction is no longer favorable. We make a slight gain on the way back, but the race ends, and they finish ahead of us. All and all, it was a fantastic weekend spent with family and friends on the water. How could it get any better than that?