We had our first evening race of the season tonight in our Shields class sailboat, racing against 16 other boats of the same design. We won the race, which is a rare feat in our competitive fleet (Shields Fleet 9), and we had to drift at about 1 mph—just a mite faster than our competitors—to complete the last stretch of the race and get the finishing gun.
Winning was more than a little satisfying after a long drought, but we also know that the sailboat racing deities were smiling on us tonight and next week it will be easy to go from hero to zero. In the meantime, the sunset deserved top billing. For about 15 minutes as we moored our boat and rode home with friends in the Ida Lewis Yacht Club launch, we witnessed a light show like no other.
Sailboat racing can be exciting and physically taxing or, as it was tonight, it can be a chance to sense the smallest breaths of wind and try to convert them to forward motion. We paddled the last quarter mile to the mooring, after Dr. Robin Wallace and his race committee signaled our finish near Fort Adams. We tied up our boat, put away the sails, then looked to the west. This is why we go sailing, even in a dying wind on a cold spring night.