The 2010 USODA Layline Nationals are this weekend (and next weekend) in Deltaville VA. The US Optimist Dinghy Association (USODA) is the national class organization for Optimist sailing in the United States.
There were boats everywhere in our marina. And we're not the only marina hosting racing.
Jackson Creek was fat with boats.
There were kids, families and coaches everywhere. There was that palpable excitement of competition in the air. Horns, whistles, coaches calling to their kids. Kids calling to each other. It was glorious.
Saturday was light, so the racing didn't start until after noon. We spent the morning examining our anchor rode. Our windlass is finally installed, so we can rig the ground tackle for real. Hauling out all of the chain is boring, sweaty, dirty work. But necessary. At some point we need to wash, scrub and galvanize the whole mess .
But with the racing going on, it was hard to focus on boring, sweaty, dirty jobs like that.
Sunday, the racing started earlier. So we bent on the Mizzen and went sailing, also. Forget the boring, sweaty, dirty jobs. We'll get to them when it's rainy or cold or whatever.
The Coasties (probably Coast Guard Auxiliary in full uniform) were very polite and helpful. They warned us away from the windward side of the racecourse because the wind shadow from our immense rig might interfere with sailing.
Since we were struggling with mizzen, yankee and staysail, as well as light breezes and and unfamiliar helm, we got far away from the racecourse. So you can barely see the racers in our pictures. We weren't confident enough in our sail handling to try and work our way in closer. But the sounds of racing -- horn signals and that background hum of voices -- carry far over the water. It brought that infectious excitement to us as we sailed past at barely 2 kn (2.3 miles per hour -- not even a brisk walk).
Kudos to the organizers, coaches, volunteers, sponsors and racing enthusiasts that make this kind of thing possible. What a huge undertaking. What a pile of fun. What a joy.
Maybe next weekend we'll motor over and drop the anchor from our newly-installed windlass and try to get a little closer to the action. Or maybe we'll bend on our mainsail and just look things over as we pass by.