Extreme Sailing Visits Oman

I walked through the Extreme Sailing event village, crested the grassy hill and plopped into the red and white Oman Sail beanbag chair at the edge of the viewer platform.  The ocean splashed against the rocks in front of me and just beyond the rocks towered the Extreme Sailing catamarans.

The last day of racing was underway.  The breeze was relatively light and the ocean choppy. The racing was exciting.

My favorite statement of the day came from a gentleman behind me.  He turned to his friend and in a frantic voice he said, “What is going on?  The yellow buoy is over there.  Why are the boats going that way? I thought they were going to the yellow one.”  He continued a bit later with, “Now look at them. Look how far away they are.  Where are they going?”

This comment made me laugh because it reminded me that so much is similar even though I am far from home.  My mother asked me the same questions the first time she saw me race.  I got off the water and she exclaimed, “What were you doing going all over the place? Why didn’t you just go straight!” 

I hope the sailors reading this have figured out that the yellow buoy was directly upwind.  For the non-sailors: the boat cannot sail a straight line to the yellow buoy.  The boat must be at an angle to the wind to move forward.  To an untrained eye a trip to the yellow buoy on a sailboat might look like a wild zigzag line. 

I only learned to sail a couple of years ago.  Knowing what was going on was a great reward.  However, I didn’t stop to explain to the spectator because stadium racing is short and dynamic.  I couldn’t turn away.  This conversation happened during the last race.  The race that would determine which team took first place.  The Wave and SAP boats were battling it out.  I’ll spare you the details because Extreme Sailing, Act II, Muscat probably reports them better.  Suffice to say that I was on the edge of my seat.  The event was awesome.  I highly recommend it and The Wave team (my team) won.