On a scorching day in May 2007 I knelt beside my Prowler staring at a glassy sea. Sweat dripped off my chin and landed in the sand, vanishing immediately. I felt defeated and lonely and for the first time since I was very young I brought my hands together and prayed. I looked up at the perfect sky, and unable to contain myself I shouted "Oh why God? Why Now? Oh Why?"
"Oh Simon get a grip said a familiar voice, it's only a fun race and the sea breeze will come another day.. Why dont you take the kids out instead"
To explain. For years I had singlehandedly and skilfully "managed" my handicap at Hayling Island Sailing Club. I'd nearly won.. and sure I'd taken out some smaller races, but mainly I'd always "capsized" or "run aground" when (by coincidence) winning wasn't on the cards. Adam May will remember the time that I hit the mud so hard when I came off the foils on a tack that I fell out the boat and it stayed there, upright, like a large white flag while I scrabbled around covered in shit looking like a Guantanamo Bay protest. Well all part of the plan my friend...
You see, for a while I'd been lining up The Big One. The Excellent Glynn Charles pursuit race held each year in May, where lots of money is raised and goes to the John Merricks trust, and the prizes are awesome! I've had my eye on that Neilson holiday for two for a while now... and thanks to no wind, when everything else was right, I'd missed out last year.
And all that hard work has gone up in smoke. Why? Because Graham Vials and Jason Belben have thoughtlessly put a nail in the coffin that is the Moth handicap with a couple of recent race wins..and all they got was a bottle of wine and a mug! I'm appalled.. Yet my hopes were slightly raised when Queen Mary SC threw Graham out, but the message obviously didnt get through to Rutland, or Northampton.... I would have taken you with me Commodore.
Anyway bollocks to handicap racing. I can now only see it working if we all have individual handicaps contained on a data chip, inserted that day at registration with hypodermic needle into the upper arm.
Until then I'll go to Keil Week instead and race my own kind. The Germans do quite a few things well, among them making cars, marching and puttingwordstogethertomakeverylongsentences, but they also run excellent yacht races.
You get good prizes there too