It’s pretty obvious that any sailor moving to Annapolis, MD is going to be stoked to get in on the sailing scene as quickly as possible. That was exactly the case for me – except, I landed here December 1. Annapolis was right in the middle of one of its few annual sailing lulls. Patience, Patience – I told myself.
Thankfully, I was on the search for sailing/sailing-related gigs, and got a job working at APS in January. I had a good feeling that getting a job at APS would give me an immediate (and invaluable) connection to the sailing community in town. I didn’t know that thought would prove so true so soon as the second series of Frostbites was starting up in February.
Turns out, an easy friendship sprang up between me and fellow marketer Bryn. (Those of you who have met her know she is super friendly! I think she was sympathizing with me because she’s a relatively recent transplant.) Luckily, her good cheer landed her with the right folks, and she invited me to sail with her. The boat: Chris Johnson’s J/80 Dragonfly. Woot! I was pumped!
After working at APS for about a month and getting schooled with performance dinghy sailing names, maneuvers, gear, etc. (I had only spent time on big boats so you can imagine the boot camp over here) – I figured we were in for some serious racing. I put on my warm base layers and prepared mentally.
Rolling up to the EYC that first Sunday, I was actually surprised to see people drinking beer. What a relief! How can you be intimidatingly serious with a beer in your hand? There’s a good answer to that – you can’t. When someone handed me a beer, Frostbite: Round 2 was a sealed deal. Chris, Bryn, Amy, and Paul were the weekly crew – and they welcomed me. We’d watch for wind and wake, making sure to keep an eye out on race tactics of our fellow sailors, while tacking and sharing weekend ‘glory’ tales.
At first, I was rail meat pure and simple throwing my weight as ballast. Then, I moved up in the food chain and got to start the timer. (Woah! Big promotion, I know!) When Amy or Paul missed a race, I got the chance to do jib.
I missed only one Frostbite in the second series – and let me tell you, my week started out pretty badly as a result. It was a tough Monday to work through.
Being on a good boat with good people isn’t the end of my gushy story about how much I love Annapolis and how I think this was one of the best moves I could have made. The APS crew is full of great people, too. And I’ve been getting to see almost everyone out of the office and on the water every Sunday. We wave from our boats when we’re sequenced for the start and catch up mid-race at the yacht club over beer.
Yeah – Frostbiters are cool. How could you skip sailing all winter? That’s too long! I’m happy I got the chance to join the cold-weather crowd here and warm-up for what people around here are calling ‘real racing’ for Spring!
Last Sunday marked the last Frostbite of the Season, and there’s an awards ceremony next week. So long Frostbite, until next year….
PS. Thanks Dragonfly for the winter good times! Bryn put this video together as a momento. Tyson the dog makes a pretty good mascot, wouldn’t you say?