OMG!! If you have never done stadium racing (like me) it will blow your mind. Stadium racing is short-course racing that revs up the heart rate, puckers the ole sphincter, and is an adrenaline rush the kind of which you have never experienced.
James, Stuart, and Andrew Robinson up in Comox put this together, and it is the bomb! They let us borrow their Diam 24 trimaran for the weekend. It comes with a furling jib and Code Zero. This is the training boat most of the French teams use with names like Banque Populaire and Francois Gabart sprinkling the headlines.
You start with a reaching start, just like in the America’s Cup. Except the turning mark at Comox is only 2 boat lengths from a rock jetty! That first time my rudders cavitated for 3-4 seconds, hurtling us straight for “the wall” and ultimate extinction, before they dug in and saved us and the boat from obliteration.
Next leg is downwind. Keep the kite up. What? We are already there? Crap! Hurry up and douse! Unfurl the jib! We’re going right out of the gate. Ten seconds later we are tacking within five feet of the jetty. Fans are shouting to us from the overhanging outlook 10 feet above, and rooting us on in the middle of our tack. Meanwhile Stuart is giving the play-by-play over the loudspeaker. Stay focused.
Got a minute to collect our thoughts and clean up the carnage on the upwind leg. Only a minute. We’ve closed on Andrew and the cross will be close…inches close. Which way out of the upwind gate? We’re going left. Crap! We have to thread our way through the pilings from an abandoned pier. Whew. Made that. Into a gybe. Where’s Andrew? Crap again! He went outside and gained another 3 boat lengths.
Come on, gents! Only one more short lap to go! Stuart is still blaring the play-by-play. I can hear the crowd cheering us on. Let’s go.
After one more lap of total chaos it is back to the reaching mark for the final reach into the finish. Flying a hull as we get the horn! Victory again. Well, almost victory. Second place. It will have to do. Especially since there are only two boats! Somebody pass me a gallon of water, 5 Valiums, and 3 energy bars. It’s only been a 15 minute race and I am ready to collapse.
What? We’re in sequence again already? We gotta do it again? Yeahhhh, baby! Bring it on!!! I want more!
(More photos to come.)