If you think there is absolutely NO connection between commuter cruising and racing one design sailboat regattas, you’d be wrong!
First of all, we wouldn’t own Winterlude today if it hadn’t been for a regatta! Back in 2001 when we were just starting to boat shop, a broker in Annapolis sent us a package of information on “the perfect boat” for us, a Passport 37. We’d seen a Passport 37 on a previous boat shopping trip to Annapolis and both of us declared the boat to be the “most boring boat we’d ever seen”! So when our broker wanted us to travel all the way to Hampton Roads, Virginia to see this boat, one of us said “no way” … not 15+ hours to see a boring boat! But this particular Passport 37 had a gleaming Hinckley dark green hull where water sparkles seemed to dance and somehow the boat seemed to be calling … even from the photos.
If I wanted to see this boat, I had to do something drastic to convince David to drive from Illinois all the way to Hampton Roads, VA! As it happened, the Y Flyer (the one design sailboat we race) Midwinter Championships was in Charlotte, North Carolina. Hmmm…. North Carolina has to be closer to Virginia than Illinois!
After we won Midwinters, I figured David might be in a mood to reconsider …. “hey David, wouldn’t you like to drive to Hampton Roads and look at that Passport 37?” …. I must have caught him in a really celebratory mood because his response was “if that’s what you want to do”. And off we went, dragging our Y Flyer northeast.
Pulling in to the historic Chamberlin Hotel adjacent to Ft Monroe, I knew we were meant to buy this boat when a total stranger walked up and said “isn’t that a Y Flyer?”. Keep in mind, Y Flyer is a popular one design class in the Midwest, as far southeast as Atlanta, but ours was totally encased in canvas covers top and bottom and had absolutely no identifying characteristics. Turns out this guy used to race Y Flyers.
It must be a sign! We were meant to own this Passport 37 … and hadn’t even seen it …. yet… Later that evening we walked down to the marina, couldn’t get in but we could see the boat and it looked just as gorgeous as the photos. I couldn’t WAIT until the next morning.
I couldn’t sleep and David kept telling me to calm down, we weren’t going to buy a boat until we were ready to leave … 4 years from now. Yeah right! Four hours later, we’d made an offer and were pulling the Y Flyer back to Illinois on pins and needles all the way.
So now we’re back to gotta gotta gotta regatta….. it’s part of what we do for fun in the summer, racing all around the Midwest. And since it involves traveling and sailing, I guess technically regatta sailing counts as commuter cruisers, right? Anyway, part of the reason we’re commuter cruisers is racing Y Flyers in the summer.
Inland travel is an integral part of commuter cruising, so even though this is not “commuter cruising season” for us, I’ll do a series of posts about our alternative commuter cruiser lifestyle. Our next “inland travel” adventure is trailering the Y Flyer from Illinois to Boston, via a regatta near Cleveland at Chippewa Lake, Ohio. Travel with us as we attend the Chippewa Regatta, then on to Lake Lashaway, near Boston where we’ll find out exactly what a Massachusetts hillbilly looks like!
What do you do during your “off season” for cruising? Do you have a special avocation that keeps you from cruising year round?