The Last Rum Race of 2012
Written by Matt Homan, appreciated by Willie Blevins
Winds were surely blowing as the boats were being assembled on the ramp. The temperature was around 60 degrees with wind chill dropping it a few more degrees. Patrick Daniel was the first out of the marina leaving a large wake, while being heckled by Andy Forrest for doing so in a no wake zone. Hey, what can you do? You are in a Viper 640 in 20+ MPH winds. Ron Semans and Blake Labreche were next into the chilly water to climb aboard the Laser 2. Andy followed on my Laser and Brent Carter chased the spiders off his International Sailing Canoe. Brent explained later at Wolfy’s that he did capsize the canoe before the evening’s race started, which meant he was going to be really cold for the duration of the last Rum Race of 2012. The 29erXX couldn’t make it due to some incomplete repair which left Maryann Carter to crew with me on Millihelen. Even with Maryann arriving at her usual just in the nick, we were able to assemble my Catalina 22 in record time and motor out to the start line with five minutes to spare. I gave the helm to Maryann and hoisted the sails with one minute to go. I sounded a horn at 6:20PM and the boats were off. Millihelen did a quick 180 and headed west down the course. We had a perfect view of a classic Lake Monroe sunset with four perfectly trimmed sailboats heading for the mark that was unusually upwind. The wind from the west is very unusual, but with hurricane Sandy less than a week past, the weather patterns were still a little odd. The puffs were sometime gusts which made Millihelen take a bow once or three times, but Maryann held true. By the time we made it to the mark we needed to tack in order to get a good rounding. Brent had made his rounding and was trailing the Viper. Maryann made the turn with such grace and precision that Millihelen didn’t stop humming her speed tune. <insert Matt’s reaction of “did that just F’n happen? That never happens,” look.> NOTE: Maryann has never sailed on a Catalina 22 prior to this night, so WOW, she not only showed me up, but also Willie. (willie here, no she didn’t.)
After trimming the sails and angling for speed and planning the tack to the mark I looked up to see the Laser 2 being helmed by Stevie Wonder. “Man, that Laser 2 is all over the place. Didn’t it round the mark already? Is Andy going back to the mark?” A few minutes later both the Laser and the Laser 2 round the mark. We cross them with plenty of room. I now had the helm of Millihelen, we tack and yes… we lost the speed humming (of course, darn it)! This was then followed by a flawless mark rounding and back to the finish line in lighter winds, but still a nice breeze to finish off the season.