THE most special race of the season is this weekend and it's shaping up to be beautiful. Thankfully my BHYC buddies rescheduled the annual trek around Amet Island, which was originally scheduled when we were in the Bras D'Ors. To most this is one long MF'er of a race. For me, it's a reminder that I am still kickin', and survived "that day" in May.
For the 2 people in my life, who I have never told the story to, let me take yah back to when Mark Gee and Daniel Grant were babies and Allison Grant was still a dream...
Several years ago (20 or more…I’ve lost track), after attempting a self rescue during windsurfing race that went horribly bad, I drifted 5 nautical miles off shore on my 12 foot BIC Rock board for over 7 hours. At the risk of being dramatic, it was in May and the water temperatures were…cool, at best.
I eventually washed up on the shores of Amet Island, off the northern coast of Nova Scotia. Fortunately the tide was at an extreme low and I hit a long gravel bar on the lower side, otherwise my next stop was Prince Edward Island, another 30 nm to the north east. Obviously the story has a happy ending and I was rescued by a local fisherman after Jude discovered I was missing (another long story...).
Events like this change you. In my case, I never “enjoyed” windsurfing the same way again, but my love of sailing and being on the water never left me. Dingy sailing just didn’t have the same appeal, although there are days I miss the “Board Alternative” (appreciate the double meaning and the symbolism of the name?) our Laser II, which got unceremoniously beaten on the rocks in freak summer storm.
Enter "Exploits Sailboat"......
So, today, my best friend and anyone else who like to join us, are gonna sail around Amet...and back! How we finish is not important....finishing IS important! I am a very lucky man. I watched 3 kids grow up and graduate and grow into amazing people....and I have experienced 30 of the most amazing years with the most brilliant and capable women I know...Saturday is reminder of that.
I am excited!
Allison arranged a crew of 5 from the REM Masters Program Dalhousie to do the race around Amet. They were warned that it was a long, tough grind. Boy, were we wrong!
We had fantastic winds and finished in 4.5 hours. The boat worked beautifully and we hit our lines perfectly. We came close to hitting the mark off Cape John, while Fly-Bye-Wire and Abigale struggled to get around it, which likely was the difference for us.
Of course at the end of the race we had our customary shot of Screech in honor of Exploits.
While I really didn't care how we finished we managed to finish second overall, 44 seconds out of first on corrected time. The REM students were a real delight to have aboard. They are a great bunch of young men and women. Any or all are welcomed back any time.
|Alan with the backside of Amet in the distance|
|Our second place crew from Dalhousie|
|Another successful race|
(l to r, Lou, Allison, Andrew,Jody, Fiona, Judy and Alan)