Tuesday, 3 August 2010
The Great Mola Mola Hunt of 2010
What a way to start Shark Week.
We were in NJ this weekend to do a bit of sailing with the bunch that I'd sailed with in Newport a while ago. They've sold that boat, this was on another one that they have. Resources are less scarce for some. Of the 6 of us on board, 2 had sailed that particular boat quite a bit. The others (myself included) had not. The day started off fine, it was a beautiful day on the ocean, a few miles south of Manasquan Inlet.
The first race started off, as most races do, with a start. The start in sailboat racing is critical, even more so than in crit racing. You see, in sailboat racing, having the lead is key. There's no drafting. In fact, there is the opposite of drafting - the lead boat creates a wind shadow and the boats behind get less wind. So it's important to get to the front early. This being the first start I'd directed since 2007, I went strictly with the basics. The basics work. We got onto the track in fine shape and off we were. Until we hit a freaking enormous sunfish (not Sunfish (r) as in the boat that everyone sailed in summer camp and that I was product manager of for the better part of a decade - no, one like in the picture).
I never saw the thing. Kris, who was toward the front, thought it was a shark at first. Then they figured out it was a sunfish. No one said anything that I ever heard about it, until we stopped cold. I thought we'd hit a sandbar and were aground, except we were in about 40 feet of water at the time. We had to go backwards to get off the thing. Poseidon was PISSED at us from then on, we knew that. Sunfish are the heaviest fish in the ocean. Not saying this one was, but it stopped a 7700 pound boat DEAD COLD, so it wasn't some damn little minnow either.
We spent the rest of the day figuring out sort of the laundry list of stuff we were setting up wrong, and by the time the day was over we felt like we'd be really good once we made a few changes to the rig setup and cleaned whatever fish pieces off the keel. Different boats want you to do different things. All 6 people on board are solidly accustomed to sailing really fast boats. The boat we were sailing this weekend is decidedly not a fast kind of boat. We got ourselves sorted, it just took us a few minutes more than it should have. Unfortunately, Sunday was all full of thunderstorms and we didn't get a chance to race.
When I die, I will know I've been a bad boy in this life if I wind up on I-95 south in Delaware. It is the most f'd up stretch of highway anywhere.
Happy Shark Week.