Incredibly fun time sailing and racing on the Eleonora for the Westward Cup 2015!
Wow what a Yacht. Huge challenge for me as I am much more accustomed to 50′ and less. Everything is much larger and almost surreal because of the dimensions. You go to grab for a block or tackle and it is almost unrecognizable. It literally takes a full crew just to manage the sail hoists. I learned so much including new types of sails called the fisherman and the Gollywobbler!
When I first came on board in the early morning hours I felt humbled and awed by this magnificent craft. I went around introducing myself to the crew members on board and to the skipper. They all asked if I had experience on Classic Boats before and I had to say “NO”. They were all very nice but I could see the look in their eyes that I had a lot to learn and boy did I. Can I say foremast topsail tack!!
Now I have sailed for a long time and as many of you know I used to live on my 36′ Lancer in San Diego Harbor, but all of this was new to me and integrating into a crew was a challenge all on it’s own. I was able to overcome the fear by focusing on the excitement of learning all this new stuff. I jumped in anywhere I could and pulled sheets with the best of them. My one regret was that I knew I didn’t have the youth in me anymore to have hooked up and flown to the top of the masts, what a view that would have been. Darla would probably be happy that I didn’t do that though, cheesy grin. I did however climb out onto the bowsprit and attend to the sails. That was a rush!
Sailing on a Yacht this large is a different experience with regard to communication as well. The skipper, 1st mate and bowmen have radios to communicate and very seldom do the crews in different parts of the boat see each other. When you are so focused on doing your job sometimes you don’t even have time to look up and see where you are.
Made new friends including a french chap named Pierre who, unbeknownst to me lives in San Diego with his pregnant wife and had sailed with my good friend Joe Saad many times! Very small world. He crewed permanently on the yacht for a year all over the world and came back to help out for this series of races.
What an honor to be here. I am so grateful to have been invited. Thank you to Mr. Zacks and Skipper/tactician Mike MacMillan! Also a shout out to my lovely wife who inspired me to put myself out there.
It is frowned upon for the crew to go around taking pix etc… so I snuck a few and will post them below with some youtube stuff just so you can get an idea of the scale onboard.
So in summary, incredible experience and I say to all of those of you out there who experience self doubt and don’t choose to put yourself out there to be in a position to test yourself and grow, doing the things you love to do, STOP rethink that and see the possibilities to become more of who you are. Listen to the people around you who encourage you to grow and challenge yourself. This lifetime is short and your experience in this life is of your own making! Go for it!