I had owned the “Pondo May” for about a month. She was a Sun 27 sloop and
she was my new home. I was learning very fast about being a boat owner.
She was in the water after a fresh bottom job and survey. I had spent the past
week finishing all the little things that the surveyor said “I had to fix”. Two of my
friends and I had planned a little sailing week-end to try out the boat. As of yet
I hadn’t done very much with the boat. And as luck would have it I really
needed a weekend away. I had been part of a little incident at work that
involved an airplane and an orange traffic cone, but that is another story. I
arrived at the dock after the disciplinary hearing that basically found me at
fault. So I was ready to get away. My crew had already arrived and had begun
the task of stowing ships stores. I backed the “Pondo” out of her slip and we
headed down river to get some fuel. While I steered, Bob and Mike began
taking stock of what we had on board. Beer was in its place in the cooler and
the boom box was sounding good. On the cockpit seat cushion was a chart
and a book on how to sail. You see, none of us had really sailed before. Also
stowed below was the food for two days, and a big bottle of yeager miester.
This bottle would prove invaluable to our sailing ability later in the day.
After filling up the fuel tank, we headed up river. The plan was to get as far as
we could and find a place to drop the anchor for the night. Notice, I didn’t say
set the anchor. I didn’t know very much remember. Anyways, as luck would
have it, the wind was out of the west and blowing just hard enough for us to
glide up river. We put the sails up and watched how other sailboats had there
sails trimmed. I learned a lot by watching other people sailing. After we had
sailed for about three hours, we sailed under the I-205 bridge. We had broken
out the bottle of yeager. Because of the confined waterway we had to tack a
lot, but we still kept heading up river. We started a ships rule. It stated that
after each tack, the ships crew shall, upon completion of said tack, drink a shot
of Yeager. This was brilliant, because we had a lot of tacks to do. About this
time we saw another sailboat up the river a ways. This sailboat was black and
shinny. Her hull was longer than ours, and the crew, well; the crew looked like
they were part of a movie set. Each person on deck had the same clothes on!
Each wore dark sunglasses, and gloves! It was about this time that we learned
something major. One sailboat alone is cruising, but two sailboats together is
We were off! The tacking was fierce! We had a lot to do. After all none of us
knew what the hell we were doing. I pulled the tiller, and yelled “Tacking”! Bob
would wrap the sheet around the winch drum one way, then another, and pull.
Mike would unwind the other sheet from the drum, grab the bottle and duck
away from the swinging boom. We would all switch places and yell at the top
of our lungs “YEIGER!!” We would then celebrate our turn with a shot from the
An amazing thing happened on the water that day. We were winning! I am not
sure how, but we were further up river that the racing team on the other boat.
They too seemed to have the same boat rule as we did, but every time we
would turn in front of them to keep them from getting ahead of us they would
all jump up waving and yell together. But they yelled “STARBOARD!!
STARBOARD”!! We thought they were a little lame cause they didn’t grab a
bottle of booze after each turn like we did but hey we won the race didn’t we?