Its really still somewhat surreal to me that Sundowner is back in the water and can move under sail power just as well as engine power again. And without me fearing that the engine will explode or that the mast will collapse and murder Dani. (Though sometimes I think Dani wishes the mast would fall on me.) Despite my dissonance and weariness to believe that the major rigging of the boat is done, the fact remains that we DID sail the boat in a race. And so I suppose I’m forced to bow my head to reality and accept that I finally did it.

This isn’t my first brush with long standing projects that seem to linger in my psyche long after their completion. I can remember one specific Saturday where I sat bolt upright in bed out of a dead sleep with absolutely certainty that I was going to fail a class because I hadn’t studied for a test. I’d finished college six months prior.

So on Wed night, we made it out onto the lake with all the other boats giving us strange looks and joined the pack.
Sundowner's First race

We are the only double ender out there. And of all the registered boats, we were the highest PRHF rated. There was a Cape Dory 27 that had a close rating to us so we knew that she would be our real competition. As the race got underway, the wind died. Completely. And as we sat there, literally drifting backwards away from the starting line, I wondered if this was perhaps Sundowner’s first race?

I mean, the Fireys didn’t mention racing and neither did Sam Powers. And nothing on the boat seems at all race like. So who can say? Perhaps we’re teaching this old boat one more new trick?

After the committee boat pulled up anchor and left the start to go reset down at the half way mark and thus shorten the race in half due to the light winds… We could only begin to “guess” if we had actually crossed the starting line or not. It was pretty comical. The crew, which we pirated from Quest, seemed to be having fun getting to know the old gal though and Dani of course was snapping “selfies”.

Tate helming Sundowner's First race
Dani's selfies in Sundowner's First race
And the sunset was beautiful
Sunset out on Lake Pontchartrain

After 15 minutes one boat dropped out. And another 15 minutes of bobbing sent another boat packing, that left only 10 boats in our class. A little over a half hour after the gun though a wind filled in and finally, FINALLY, Sundowner did what I knew she could, she took off like a dog with a bone in its mouth.

Finally moving in Sundowner's First race

And so despite our pitifully small genoa, and our newly cut down mainsail (to reduce weatherhelm), we caught up and passed the Cape Dory 27 and then a Catalina 30. And in the end we came in 5th of the 10 in our class. Not too bad for a first, possibly first ever, race in a 40 year old boat with a baggy main and flat jib.

Stay tuned as we work out the kinks, keep racing, and enter our final phases of our boat refit. 9 months to go!