Jul 20, 2011

Mac Race - Tom Schildhouse MPHS Jan 66

We retired from the race last night at 11:30 p.m. With seas building and rogue waves topping 6+ feet, we gave it up. We were rounded up by the wind, pouring water into the cockpit, over the gunwale and almost capsizing the boat on several occasions. 

We were about 20 miles behind Wing Nuts, which capsized and lost 2 crew members, who were trapped under the boat and were discovered by Coast Guard divers when the weather permitted them to dive into the overturned vessel. Six others were rescued by fellow racers who abandoned their own chances to win by veering off course and participating in the rescue efforts.

We spent the night in Muskegon MI with another racing boat, a New York 36 who had also abandon the race after two crew members were injured during a rounding up, such as we experienced. One was knocked unconscious and was
still hospitalized and the other suffered painful lacerations to his face when thrown around the cabin below decks. Their skipper has 21 Macs under his racing keel and told us that he has NEVER, in 21 years of Mac racing, ever seen a storm of such intensity and duration.

It was a baptism by fire and, while a little disappointed, after hearing the tales of other racers, we do not regret our decision to drop out and live to sail another day.

I think this is proof-positive that some are never too old or too (fill in this space kindly) to live the life and grasp the moment.


Downside, my wife informed that she spent VERY unpleasant night scared to death and following the race by Internet and transponders that are installed on all Mac boats. She is not all that happy with me at the moment. I told her my solution was, she's welcome to join us next year, no need to wait at home. Since some of you may share these thoughts with grandchildren, I will spare you the nature and content of her response..

Tom Schildhouse

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