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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

December 10, 2007-King's Cup Remembered

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Today I awoke before dawn and left my bunk while Judy lay still sleeping. I started coffee and made ready to get underweigh. By daylight she was up too and we had the anchor up and were motoring across the bay, threading our way through the quiet fleet.

Now I am on deck and looking down through the open hatch I see Judy below moving around and it gives me comfort to see her. She hands me a hot cup of coffee and something to eat. How many times have we performed this ritual; up before dawn and underweigh at first light, passing the other anchored yachts in the early morning gloom headed for open water? It seems so familiar; must have been countless times before.

There is a bit of wind from the NE and it looks like the day will be a light air beat. We set sail and work our way north, tack on tack, keeping up with another yacht which is motoring. The tide is flooding and hereabouts a flood goes north so it is with us. It helps; the tacking angles on the chart plotter look good. We make steady progress with just the #4 and the Dacron main.

We are returning north to Yacht Haven Marina after a successful King’s Cup Regatta. We won our class counting four first place finishes and dropping a 5th in the fifth race but I blame the Race Committee for that one; they didn’t set one of the marks of the course. The other boats simply skipped the missing mark but our indecision cost us enough time that we finished third and corrected out to 5th.

Otherwise it was a very good week: We had perfect sailing conditions with blue skies, and 12-15 knots of wind, and the long courses set for our class gave us plenty of time to stretch out a lead. The crew work was excellent too: and the boat went around the course like a finely tuned machine, never missing a beat. We loved it. Probably the highlight of the week for me was in the second race when we started to leeward of Sarabande and I was able to foot out ahead and then pinch right up in front of them; it was beautiful. Our string of first place finishes got some attention from the other sailors and the media, and we were interviewed a couple of times during the week. This attention was nice, as were the photos they printed and the comments they published such as, “classic IOR racer”, “revelled in the upwind conditions”, and “dominated IRC 3 class.”

Now on the return trip we have to pinch up again, this time to clear a shallow patch, and even while cruising Wings puts her sailing abilities to good use. When we turn west to go up the passage to Yacht Haven we set the asymmetrical kite and it pulls even in the light reaching conditions. Judy and I have time on this delivery to talk and we discuss the week: We agree that it was a lot of work, maybe too much work. Judy feels bad because her back problem kept her out of the action. Her contribution was limited to observations and tactical suggestions, which were a big help to us but she didn’t feel that way about it. She wants to work her position like everyone else. I tell her that her position is to be part of the afterguard and it is thinking we need, not muscle power. She is quiet about this but I know the issue remains with her.

The worst moment for me was the last race when our 1.5 oz kite tore in half for the second time. I’d already repaired it after the 2nd race when it failed completely on a blustery tight reach. We used it successfully the next two days but on day five it gave out again in a new spot in only 22 knots of wind. Well, after 21 years I guess we’ve gotten our use out of it.

That wasn’t the only repair I had to make in the week. We sailed hard and things broke every day, but with Andy Kung’s help we kept up with it. We were glad we had the rental car though so we could make runs to the marine store and up the island to the store room where we had left some of our spares. Pierre made quite a few trips.

The other King’s Cup memories will be about the crew, Andy, Pierre, Bob, Jennie, Marco, Tessa, Tobias, Euan, who came together as a real team and will be friends for life, and the parties we all attended every night. King’s Cup is famous for the parties and these did not disappoint even if Judy and I often left early, exhausted after the day’s sailing. We parted company with this wonderful group of people on the night of the last party and we will miss them. (Maybe another regatta, at another time, and we can get together again. We’ll look forward to that day.)

Now King’s Cup is over and it was all that we could have hoped for. It will remain in our memories as a great event and a wonderful part of Wing’s history. I don’t know when or if we will do another regatta like this, maybe never, but if it turns out to be the last one, it will have been a good one to end on.

Click here to meet the crew.

Click here to see how we honored the King of Thailand

Click here to see a few scenes from the regatta

Or click here to go directly to December wingssail images and see all our photos from King's Cup and more

NEW: Click here to go to Pierre's slideshow

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Fred & Judy

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Phuket, Thailand

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