Thursday, April 30, 2015

Classics Week 2015 - Volunteering

Upstairs is Race Headquarters

Friday, April 17th
Tom and I were asked to be volunteers at this year's Classics Regatta.  An honored and highly popular spots.
Race HQ and Hospitality
I did a full day in the Racing and Hospitality Center doing whatever was needed.  This consisted of walking the docks getting missing information from various yachts and reminding them to put up the official flag for the Concours D'Elegance judging.  It was day one of Classics Week and things were hectic on more than a few yachts - mainly those that are liveaboards and not professionally maintained.  I also helped assemble the skipper packets, which was not an easy task as some info (like yacht ratings and thus classes) kept changing until late afternoon.  We had to smile and try to keep a few skippers calm as they huffed over their rating or asked repeatedly for "just a look" at the racing instructions that they would get officially later.  I helped dress the stage for the Concours D'Elegance awards that night, served complementary sparkling wine and then assisted in break down afterward.
Inside Race HQ
Tom is a Dinghy Wrangler along with several other guys.  This means that each morning they help these classic beauties get out of their med moored slip safely and then each afternoon they do the reverse helping them get back in.  It seems that if you spend $1 million dollars + on a Classic yacht or in the case of a few, put every single thing you own and blood, sweat and tears into your classic liveaboard, then you don't really want to bang it up getting into and out of the dock.  Imagine that!  Anyway wrangling is not an easy task.  The first day many boat said initially "No thanks.  We've got it."  To which the wranglers said "Ok."  But stayed near and when the reality hit the proverbial fan of pre-racing dock departure, the wranglers often had to jump in last minute to assist with a push here or there.  A few of the high end, professionally run yachts said up front "Hands off, DO NOT touch our boats.  Not a finger. Thank you very much." as they had their own super size dinghy to push them around, plus bow and stern thrusters, plus highly paid and trained crews.  One engine failure resulted in multiple wranglers towing the boat back into the dock from the channel.  The second day of racing saw higher winds and more boats calling for help getting in and out.  They towed the previous day engine failure out into the channel so it could race and then back in again after racing.  Equipment and engine failures increased so others had to be helped in as well.  Three of the six Carriacou sloops lost their engines but two of the three sailed through a very crowded anchorage nearly all the way into the dock and then got assistance from the wranglers for that final bit.  In our dinghy, I followed one sloop in - it was truly amazing to watch again and again as three of the crew hardened up the big heavy main enough to just clear an anchored boat  A third Carriacou Sloop sailed in as well just for fun or perhaps practice in anticipation of losing the motor.    
Wranglers Tom and Lee ready to hand over an anchor bouy

Tom has reported a few close calls - mainly captains coming in too hot or a boat that just won't respond well.  Remember, these are classics - heavy boats with full keels = yachts that backs like a stubborn mule.  However, so far no yachts have been damaged and no one has gotten hurt.  Yay!  Most of all, Tom is having a blast.
Helping with a little push

As volunteers, we received special Classics Week t-shirts and Tom got a special Dinghy Wrangling hat.  We also each received one of the coveted Red Mount Gay Rum Classics Hat!  Which we have been proudly wearing.  Woo hoo!  More than one jealous cruisers has offered to buy mine off my head.  See.....very sought after. 
Volunteers Robin, Sheila (Red Hat) and Cheryl heading in for duty

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