Friday, August 9, 2013

West Coast Tour - San Diego Wednesday Night Series

by Kate Sheahan
West Coast Tour Coordinator
The “Wednesday Night Sailing Series” has many different meanings for San Diego locals, but the plot is similar in cities across America – take a midweek office break and get on the water with friends. For some, it might be their only breath of fresh air as they trade life in a cubicle for a few hours on the water and find the return of hope that the week will indeed end well. For others it is a chance to excel as a team and follow a culture more similar to grand prix racing, even if it is simply dressing alike in show of team spirit. For Grand Prix style boats, it is about getting the wife and kids out to relax as a family between pro events. In keeping with the original intention of the evening, Star sailor Will Stout, of San Diego, bought his boat UNO for one dollar and said his, “priority is to kick back with close friends and keeping the BBQ rolling through every leg of the course.“

The San Diego Yacht Club completed their 34th Annual "Beer Can" Series this past Wednesday, with a total of eleven races over the summer. There are ten classes which race a mix of courses off the San Diego city front on everything from a Viper to Farr 60.  The Coronado Yacht club hosts their “freestyle” Beer Can races from April to October with a less formal format. The race starts at 6 and heads out of Glorietta Bay towards the San Diego City front, thirty minutes later a gun goes off and all boats race for the CYC Guest Dock finish line. The one-hour race allows for happy hour and family dinners ashore by 7:30pm.

I had the privilege of sailing aboard my brother’s boat. A new, young father, Wednesday nights have become a time to get back to our friendship in a space seemingly free of serious responsibility. In the spirit of customizing the culture of ones boat we choose to get friends sailing who might have never left land before. Aboard a 43’ cruiser the tasks are simple: steer, trim and drink beer; and with everyone on assigned a task it becomes a matter of coordinated timing.

This past week our close friend, Emily Barnett of Melbourne Beach, Florida, drove the downwind and did not stop smiling once. A Navy Nurse, she will deploy to serve our country in Afghanistan in one week. Among a lot of fun memories she would like to take with her, those from the last week will include reaching down the San Diego city front during sunset at 8 knots… and, of course, a trip to Vegas this weekend. The other part of our crew included Greg Calkins of Seattle, Washington and his young son Tommy Calkins of Phoenix, Arizona who live in separate cities and have limited time together. The Wednesday night race was about working together as a team as they trimmed the jib through tacks and doused the kite – unable to complete the tasks without each other. For them, it was a father and son portrait on the bow with the San Diego city front as a backdrop that seemed to show no distance between them – no time lost.

The Wednesday night races are very much about living in the present and spending quality time with family and friends. Whatever your style of racing may be, the point is to just show up and get out on the water.

I found some great onboard photos of the first summer beer can race by John Gastaldo of the Union Tribune. Check out the crew of Shaka and more of the scene in San Diego.

Follow the West Coast Tour on Twitter at @USSailing as I drop in at the Mission Bay 24-hour Snipe Regatta tonight, then head to A-Cat North Americans in Long Beach on Tuesday and north to San Francisco for Melges 24 PCCs.

Click to check out The West Coast Tour Schedule

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