I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to help crew "Forgiveness", which is a 40' J-120, for the first day of SCYA 2018 Mid-Winter Regatta. For last years regatta, I traveled all the way to San Diego to crew a 10M Flying Tiger named "Ruckus". This year I only had to drive to Marina Del Rey.
The weather was gorgeous. Temperature was in the mid-to-upper 70's with clear skies. Wind was a steady 5-7 kts with occassional gusts to 10-12 kts. Seas were pretty calm, with little to no chop. All-in-all a beautiful day on the water.
I met the crew shortly after 10:30am. Skipper Scott manned the helm and had one of his most experienced crew, Lemy, assign positions. The Joe's were to handle the headsail, there was another crewman named Joe. Kiki did a bit of everything since she had a decent amount of experience but mainly focused on Pit. Lemy took on the bow while Rutter handled the main. We were a little short-handed so we all helped out where we were needed and got to experience a little of everything.
We motored out of the harbor towards the race area. As we went past the jetty into open ocean we raised our mainsail. Now motorsailing, we went over our plans for different procedures once more. All lines were flaked, winches had handles nearby, and the spinnaker sail was ready below. It's time to race!
We were supposed to have 2 or 3 races. Instead we had 4. Our boat wasn't 100% sure on why but we know there was some confusion due to an error by the race committee getting the times for the other 2 boats in our class during race 2. Fortunately, that is something that I don't have to worry about. I will leave that to the Organizing Authority.
I'm not 100% on how the scoring goes. These weren't 1 design races so adjustments to finish times are made depending on the rating of each boat. I also didn't go out for the second days races so am unsure how we finished overall. But, win or lose, it was a great time and I look forward to more as the sailing season gets into gear!
A big thanks goes out to Capt Scott of the Forgiveness for taking me aboard for the day and to Rutter for making the introduction. Another big thanks to the rest of the crew. Lemy, Kiki, and Joe were great to work with and they helped me out during race 4 as my pain was increasing making it tough to grind the winch. They did so without complaint and were very understanding. I wouldn't hesitate to sail with any of them again as they were great teammates.
I also want to give a huge thanks to the Warrior Sailing Program. Without the training they gave me at the Basic Sailing Camp of 2016 in San Diego I would not have had the skills or the confidence to hop on a boat and go racing. They have also been working to get more sailing opportunities on the west coast. Because of all of that hard work I and many others have been able to continue progressing as sailors. I have personally had the chance to go aboard a few different boats, experienced both racing (Ruckus/Bravura/Forgiveness) and cruising (S/V Happy Together) and have met some really amazing people.
While I definitely encourage and welcome donations to my Project through my GoFundMe page (Sorry, not tax-deductible), I hope you will also consider donating to the Warrior Sailing Program (Tax-Deductible!)! You can also show your support by purchasing Warrior Sailing Program apparel through Coral Reef Sailing Apparel. The incredible group of people at the Warrior Sailing Program are helping out other veterans like me and I can't thank them enough.