January 29, 2016   Ashley Bell


Three Tree Point YC Duwamish Head Race 2016

It was a calm, slow morning. Old Grand-Dad woke up with a sigh and a smile, feeling aged but excited for the day ahead. Today was a special day because Old Grand-Dad had been invited to join the crew of Nefarious for the famous Duwamish Head sailboat race. Despite having been in and around the neighborhood, and even the sailing community, for quite some time now, Old Grand-Dad had never been out sailing on a Farr30. The Neffy crew had never met him before, but it was Anna who found him and decided to give him a chance. He was ecstatic, and despite his aged state was decidedly up for the challenge. He was a tad concerned that once the rest of the crew met him they’d worry he was too old to join them for the day but decided the only way to find out was to risk it – he was, after all, approaching 100, but he felt strong!

He drove to the marina with some of the crew Saturday morning as they made their way to the Des Moines Marina with no shortage of confusing banter. “Turn there, it says marina!” “What marina IMG_0051sign? I didn’t see a sign saying ‘marina.’” ”No, turn right! I think it must be up that hill somewhere…” Nevertheless, all made it to the boat and began making introductions. “I brought Old Grand-Dad!” exclaimed Anna. “Well, mostly for the bow chick, but I think he’ll fit right in.” “Squeeeeeeeeee!” exclaimed bow chick. “Absolutely! Old Grand-Dad, come with us, let’s go sailing!”

Old Grand-Dad was beside himself with glee and anticipation, hoping the race would happen as they looked out onto calm waters. But just like that, the fog cleared, enough breeze filled in to cross the start line, and Old Grand-Dad was on his way with Nefarious. He watched and listened while tactics were discussed, decisions were made to go this way or that, and crew banter ensued. He Duwamish-2learned ‘that’s what she said’ is always appropriate on Neffy. There was mention of some kind of great circle. There was some riffraff about passing a Sierra, which Old Grand-Dad presumed must be a familiar tree on shore. He got to know each member of the crew, making rounds about the boat while staying out of the way as best he could. At one point bow chick even asked to sit on his lap!

He marveled at his luck while the colorful round sails grew smaller in the distance, as they made their way straight up the middle, with Alki growing closer. It was an absolutely beautiful day. Old Grand-Dad, despite old-grand-dadadmittedly starting to feel a little drained, was having a fabulous time and the crew still seemed genuinely grateful, if not nearly ecstatic, to have him aboard even though he felt he was fairly useless to any job and constantly in everyone’s faces. He realized as he thought to himself that he didn’t actually care if they won, because the best part of all was getting to be with great friends having great times together on a beautiful day in even more beautiful surroundings. These folks, they’ve got it figured out, he thought. He had clearly bonded. Nevertheless, they made a right turn at Alki, and there it was! The finish line! Unreal! Old Grand-Dad was beside himself, so excited he almost blew his cork! He was actually about to finish, and maybe even win, his very first sailboat race aboard Nefar-…

Three guns. Nevermind.

by Ashley Bell
Photos courtesy of Ben Stewart and Darlene Thomas
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