Racing and sailingI get asked, “Do you race?” Bob Davies told me while sailing that he once got to race a Jaguar XKR up to 170 miles per hour on a track. It was rated at 150 mph but was juiced up by the factory. (I explained how my sailboat was juiced up to exceed the 7 mph limit.) Bob said that when Ford owned Jaguar, the XKR could not run faster than the Aston-Martin, which Ford also owned and cost 50,000 pounds more. Once Ford sold Jaguar to Tarta Motors of India, that restriction ended and Jaguar took off.

This brings rise to sailboat racing. It bores me to participate because inevitably the winds are too light and they wait 45 minutes to call it. I’m so adamant about not racing that intentionally have my mainsails built without numbers. Thus I am disqualified.

But you know what they say. Put two sailboats near each other, and a race develops. I have that to be true, so much so that I will turn the boat to tee it up for a short race. I once took a photo of veritable dinghy overtaking a midsize sailboat, and I became as exhilerated as the dinghy dude.

Why does a sailboat heelBut the big races, ah they are a sight to behold. Solo sailors in the round-the-world Vendee race approach 400 miles a day (hours) as they race toward the finish line in France. These spectacular sloops get outfitted witih airfoils to make the hull rise up out of the water and minimize friction. 20 mph is typical when the wind is up. The lead changed more than 100 times since after Election Day when they set out from France. Everything about this race and these people (including several women) is off the charts in terms of excitement, danger, speed, endurance and weather. They are 70 days in and the winner may make it in 80. Take that, Jules Verne!

Let’s Go Racing and Sailing

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Racing and sailing

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