Shackleton Series, Third RaceNovember 23, 2002, Lake Chickamauga near Sale Creek Marina. Seven boats start the race in winds so light it's lucky the first leg is down-current. After rounding the second mark, Possible Mallard is in second place, but an ominous yellow cloud is approaching.
We have no spinnaker, and the vacuum cleaner pole we used to win previous races is somewhere at the bottom of the lake. First Mate Jerry deploys our new secret weapon, the broom!
Suddenly, the wind dies, and everything gets dimmer as if we're experiencing an eclipse. I look behind me and there is that yellow Hoover Dam of a sail, right behind us and blocking not just the wind but the sun itself!
We take evasive action and a series of photographs, but even with Big Red fully broomed out, both True Blue and Banana Split are speeding away from us. That is, speeding as fast as three knots of breeze will take them.
Now there are three boats ahead of us, all flying those darned spinnakers. Jerry gets tired of holding the broom up, so we give it a rest. Then, around the last mark, we get a break. Capt. Hoover can't get his spinnaker down fast enough, and it goes in the drink. We speed past and don't look back!
After a daring move of sailing right along the shoal line, we eat up some of Banana Split's lead. You know, we might have even beaten the fearsome Split this time if we'd had a clean bottom and I hadn't waited so long to tack the final time. End result: Third Place, ten minutes uncorrected time behind the winner (the J-29 Maniac, as usual), with Blue just a minute behind us and fighting back hard.
Race Results (corrected time)
Copyright © 2002 by Rodger Ling.
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