Participating in the Regatta For Lake Champlain this year was a new experience for many people from the Sailing Center. Thanks to the generous donation of the use of his boat, our crew sailed on Harold Brown’s J29, Dog House.
For my part, I had only sailed on the boat once before, but I was on the foredeck and not in the cockpit. Comparatively speaking, though, the newness for me was nothing compared to that of the majority of the crew of the boat.
This year the crew was made up of a select few CSC campers. They were a group of kids from a variety of our classes (all of whom had taken level III), who excelled in sailing. Some of them I had taught before and some of them I had just seen around the sailing center, but it made no difference to the students; everyone was receptive to what I had to say.
Once the race started and everyone settled in to the groove, it really started to get fun for me. I remember when we first put up the spinnaker we were on a reach and everyone was feeling the power it brought to the boat. The crew just started to go “ohhh this is so cool!” and “I love the spinnaker.” One student, Lucie, said to me, “So this is why you kept trying to get us to do this,” which made me laugh. Everyone was having a great time. I remember all the kids were very impressed with the bathroom on the boat.
As the races rounded the final mark we were head-to-head with the boat Tumble Weed, and everyone started to get very competitive all of the sudden. We put up the shoot and everyone settled in. They were all asking us how they could trim the sails to make us go a little faster, every minute we got asked “should we pull the pole forward?” “How is the main, should we pull it in?” or “look at the Windex it’s shifting!” It was great.
I think that of everything that all those campers did this summer at the CSC, this was the highlight of their experience. I know it will stand out in my memory as one of my best days with the CSC. I hope that next year I get a chance to do it again.