Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Homesick Sailboat Racing Blues

let me start by saying this post is in no way a complaint. Right now I am enjoying the sunshine (constant I might add) of Scottsdale Arizona. When I left Toronto it was 50 ish (Fahrenheit). We have had 90 degree weather all week. I have had a great time. I was fortunate enough to do something many people will never do so I took advantage of the opportunity. My brother (owner of gray Jay) just purchased a formula Atlantic race car and was down at the track in Arizona testing and getting it up to speed. My son has a need for speed at 3 years old and the best person to help him with that would be my brother whose passion is speed and racing cars.

So while at the track he asked me if I wanted to take the on-track driving course and take the formula Mazda our for a whirl around the track. Who was I to say no! I am not one to turn down an opportunity like that so I agreed whole heartily. Since we were kids we raced something, snowmobiles, bikes, whatever...competition has always been a key ingredient in our family genetic composition.

I completed the on-track course with a gentleman (and I do mean gentleman) by the name of Will Hartje who was my instructor for the day. We drove a street car (BMW M3) for the first two on-track sessions to find the line of the course which is the key to speed. He pushed me to take some chances that probably would not have had the confidence to do if I were alone in the car. The final on-course was in the formula Mazda where I was alone. My sailboat racing experience helped me mentally prepare for the track and focus on what had to be done. I went out and had a blast. I did not fairly give the car a good work out but I did enjoy every moment in the car. If I were to do it again I would practice with a standard months in advance. My weakest point of the entire track experience was my shifting. It does not help driving kids around in an SUV for so many years!.

Anyway the purpose of the post was to say that even though it was a fantastic experience I still think about the Wednesday race that I will miss while I travel home. I am eagerly looking forward to putting the mast up this coming weekend and getting Gray jay back out on the water on Saturday.

Will whom I spoke about earlier is interestingly enough a huge sailor in my books. I was fortunate enough to speak at length with him at my brothers house after the days events. I will hopefully be able to do a number of interviews with him on tactics and racing in general. His experience is overwhelming. He really knows his stuff and whatever I post of his I am sure will be of value to my readers.

A huge thank you to my brother for all this week and making my passions a reality. Without his generosity and recognition of my passions I would not be the skip on Gray Jay.


Blogger Carol Anne said...

Hey, while you're down here in the desert, you need to come sailing!

11:17 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

Yah, you were nearer to sailors than perhaps you thought; some of our J-24's were at Lake Pleasant last January for the Arizona Yacht Clubs birthday regatta and leukemia cup; in Arizona winter and spring are especially active sailing seasons. We're still in the middle of our regatta season at Elephant Butte lake in southern New Mexico and about to start up in the northern mountains at Heron Lake.

3:16 PM  
Blogger Tillerman said...

The more you guys talk about it the more I get the itch to do some desert sailing one winter.

4:29 PM  

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