Writing this while giving my fingers a rest from strumming my new Martin acoustic guitar, christened "Mr Jimmy", found last evening at Sam Ash with my "DNA Lotto winning" cousin, musician James Kee, and Gary (the sales dude) after hours of playing and evaluating guitars from the wall of Gibsons and Martins.
An understated, but elegant Martin with a full and bright sound captured my imagination. Welcome to my world, Mr Jimmy.
'Twas a magical evening witnessing James showing what my future guitar could do. Sometime during his playing, I realize the guitar room's customers had all stopped their picking to let this master play for them. I felt like I was in the presence of a truly holy man.
Now on to this week's column...
Last Saturday I registered folks coming in for the Force Five Regatta. Yes, it was rainy -- I have learned through taking daily showers that I will come out on the other side just fine. I had on my waterproof and breathable yellow jacket that promises to be "suitable for land and sea", so I was good to go.
Commodore Fred was gracious enough to ask me if I would like to crew on his boat. I jumped at the chance to get to sail in my very first regatta! Fred had to break the news that I was not worth an extra point -- what I call my "plus 1 status" -- on regattas. Note to all: "Plus 1s" only count on Wednesday Night Racing. I was able to quickly recover from this news and get myself pulled together by the time the Race Committee called for "riders up" (horsey term translates easily into sailing talk meaning "get yourselves on these boats, we've got a race starting!").
The wind gods smiled on us for much of the race. At one dead spell, I asked Fred if he wanted to sing songs. He just laughed. I asked if he knew any good jokes, he didn't. So I Googled some jokes until that got boring. What does one do on a boat with no wind? PPYC Racing Director and champion sailor, Craig Dooley, later told me as I was debriefing him on what I had learned on my very first regatta, that one should always be watching the sails for wind and maximizing even the smallest amounts to your advantage. This fact, he said, can make the difference in winning a race. Note to all: This was an important lesson to tuck away for later and to stay off the cell phone during a race -- it can only lead to trouble.
Even with no significant wind for stretches of time, Fred and I sailed in to take second place in the non-spinnaker division! There were only two boats in this division, but that's just a lot of unnecessary details. We get to claim a trophy for second place and Commodore Fred said I could have it. Where is said trophy, you ask? Don't really know, bet I can ask PPYC Racing Director and champion sailor, Craig Dooley -- he could make my second place trophy magically appear...
Wednesday Night Races saw my happy self joining my pal, Jeremy Odom, on his great boat, Blew-J, as crew along with...wait for it...the legendary Bob Keim! Commodore Fred said that the Blew-J should probably be eating at grown up table and start sailing the long course, just to see what happens. I threw this out and Bob said we would. Captain Jeremy, being a good sport, went along for the ride.
Legendary Bob and I synced brainwaves and yucked it up the whole night. Jeremy had learned to sail under Bob's direction, so he was excited to have Bob onboard. I was excited to meet this legend of the sailing community.
Strong winds and a flock of sailboats on the lake made for an exciting evening. Forty minutes later and many teachable moments from Legendary Bob, the Blew-J sailed in at sixth place! I was able to use my "plus 1" status to hand Jeremy another point to his mounting points. Note to all: Always good to remember to bring a hostess gift to a party.
Next time I see Jeremy, he will be a new daddy for the second time. Baby Jones Odom is due this coming Wednesday. Best wishes to the Odom family as they learn to live in a world without much sleep for a while. Aunt Sheila is ready and available for babysitting duty.
Next time I see Legendary Bob won't be soon enough. You are too much fun, Bob, don't ever change.
Did I say I am really liking this racing sailboat thing? Heady experience -- imaginary trophy and all.
Time to sign off for this week. 'Til I see you again, be good to each other.
Note as your Communications Director: If you notice any incorrect information or discover a broken link, I would appreciate hearing from you.