There’s no place in sailing quite so beautiful as a boat park surrounded by palm trees as northern winter grudgingly gives way to spring.
by Bill Faude, Director Marketing Strategy and Creative, Harken USA
Some little moments I love most about sailing:
• The way you feel when you win race #1 in a big regatta -- you want to scream but you squeeze all the triumph inside so the competition believes you expect more to come.
• The first giant wave over the bow when you come around the breakwater and realize it’s ‘game on’ all day.
• Crossing the fleet on port up the last beat. There’s one boat on starboard you can’t see behind the jib. Then your crew says, “She’s tacking below us.”
I remembered another just last week: You’ve driven 800 or 1000 miles overnight to your class midwinter regatta. You arrived, set up your boat and took a little shakedown sail. Now you’ve pulled out the boat and rolled up the sails. You have flip-flops on. It’s getting dark. Everyone’s leaving the boat park. You reach into the cooler. You hear the last evening puff in the palm trees. It’s just you and your team, in the dark now, the last to leave. You earned that moment.
I sail a one-design boat in a large class. We hold two midwinter regattas. Class members from several countries assemble. My tribe’s been doing this for 70-plus years. I love watching the new boats arrive and taking a look to see the newest hull number. How fast are we building them? Who has a new idea to rig twing lines or the vang. I love welcoming wayward sons and daughters who have been AWOL. I love asking friends’ kids how they’re enjoying college, already knowing what they study, all before we even get into the boats.
I love getting the boat splashed before others are out of bed. I love knowing where we can park -- and where you never should. I love leaving the dock for the race course with a giant line at the hoist. I love wondering if the restaurant can handle a party of 17. I even love taking masts down and putting bottom covers back on. When The Midwinters are over, it’s just a few weeks ’til the first event of ‘up north’ season.
Now, back at my desk, it’s turning April in Pewaukee. You can almost feel the sun. Standing between us and the chance to go out for a practice sail are just 12 itty-bitty challenges: 12 inches of the ice that remains atop the Harken HQ pond. Hey, I went south. Nothing bothers me! By the end of the month, we’ll be sailing up here.