Stars & Stripes Forever
By stern on Mar 26, 2008
And so the thought went dormant for 30 years, until this week when we participated in the 12-meter challenge off the coast of St. Maarten. Having acquired both of the American entries in the 1987 Challenge, as well as the entire fleet of Canadian boats, the 12-meter challenge lets you get two sheets to the wind on a racing sailboat that has remained unchanged for 20 years: no bathroom and no shade. However, there was an immensely helpful policy update: no weight limit.
I fulfilled something of a teenage fantasy as I got to be a "main grinder" (half of the winch operating team for the boat's main sail), along with my son, while my wife was a primary (foresail) grinder and my daughter fed the line connected to our winch. Along with a dozen others passengers doubling as crew members, we raced on Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes, the boat that brought the America's Cup back to the States after a brief stay Down Under, although we didn't duplicate his feats in our race for tourism dollars. Partly that weight and strength thing again, proving that some other things don't change.