Monday, September 13, 2010
Another Day, Another Trip
Another day, another trip. This time I am in Detroit. I've spent the past two days racing on the Lake Huron in Michigan and talking at the Port Huron Y. It has been much more fun then I was expecting it to be. As an offshore sailor, I wasn't sure what to expect racing on a lake. I had never raced before and I wasn't sure I liked the idea.
The first day was an all women's race - a race they do once a year. I sailed on Hope, a Bristol 33, a nice and very fast little boat. On board was myself, the first time skipper, Carol McMillan, and four others who had never crewed all together before. Now I have always wondered how on earth six people can all be on board such a small boat all working without tripping over each other and just making a mess out of it. I'm still not sure how, but I now know that it does work, and it works well.
When I was sailing Wild Eyes single handedly, something as simple as a tack could take a while because things can get messy when you're sailing solo and you have to be very careful. When you've got six people on board who all know what they're doing everything happens at once. It is so much fun! I do still feel a little awkward on other peoples' boats. I miss having a boat that I know backwards and forwards and I'm used to doing everything myself. While being with a a good crew is a lot of fun, it makes me miss my boat even more.
Well, we ended up coming in first place, due to having an amazing crew who all did great considering that we had never sailed all together before and it being our skipper's first time. That night I got to meet Katie Pettibone. Katie is an amazing sailor. She has done three America's Cups and it was great to meet her and talk to her a little bit about everything that she has done.
Next day came around and I was on board the boat Liberty, a Beneteau 42 - a fast boat with a great crew. They had all sailed together before and so I wasn't needed much but jumped in to help out where ever I could. Liberty came in first in the two races we did that day, and I think it's safe to say I have had a very good first experience with racing.
A few hours after getting in, it was time for me to talk. I've done press conferences and question and answer things, but this was my first real time talking. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous. I have that terrible problem where when I get in front of a large crowd of people my mind goes blank. It was looking like there wasn't going to be too many people there and it was maybe five or ten minutes before starting. There were maybe a whole ten people there, so I wasn't too nervous. As that short five minutes passed, more and more people began to pile in. All of the seats filled up and then they pulled out even more chairs. Before long, the room was filled, including people standing along the back wall because there just wasn't room for more chairs. So now I was thoroughly scared and about ready to duck out the back door and make a run for it!
I didn't run though, I stayed there. It was a little hard to get started. I was shaking all over and suffering from having my mind go blank. I managed to get through the first few minutes, showed a little slide show of my trip, and introduced Charlie, who had come with me. After that, I launched into the story. I had a great audience. They all seemed happy which helped a lot. I had prepared a speech last week but instead of going with that, I decided just to wing it. I covered my whole trip, right from when I first decided I wanted to go, up until the end of the voyage of Wild Eyes.
I talked for maybe an hour and a half or so, and then answered questions and it was all over. It all went pretty well. I had been worried that I wouldn't talk long enough, but I ended up talking longer than had been planned. I was a little worried then that I had rambled on and bored everybody in the room, but everyone either really did like it or they were just super polite. Either way, I was finished and not feeling so bad about things.
This is my last day here. I'll be flying out at 7 tonight. It was a good stay here and while it does feel a little weird to be splashed in the face while sailing and not get a mouth full of salty water, I did still have a really good time with everybody here!