A Match of Two Halves

I am honored to be asked to join the boatyard boys crew for the annual Zamami to Naha Sabani boat race. Here is some info http://okinawaclip.com/en/detail/199

We go over to Zamami on Saturday to set up the boat. We are a very local crew er, except for me.

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Ours is the oldest boat in the race.

There is an outrigger on the boat made from fibre glass. This is a new addition and there is some murmuring as the fiber glass is still wet and sticky. I wanted to sleep on the beach but a room has been booked in the craziest guest house I have ever been to.

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This is the reception desk

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We go to the traditional pre race party and get very drunk.

After the party we go back to the guest house to eat spam and sardines and drink a whole lot more.

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This Jack Russell is part of the crew.

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Yay!

There are 7 people in the boat. We have a crew of 9 and we switch in and out from the support boat.  This is very hairy especially in the sound between Tokashiki and Okinawa where there is a big swell running.

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Zoom! Notice position of outrigger

We do really well and are up there in the main peloton doing 6 knots. There is a stiff breeze and sea is reasonable whilst we are still in the shelter of the islands.

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We overtake lesser boats

Then everything goes wrong. Just as we pass Tokashiki the outrigger float springs a leak and fills up with water. It no longer floats but submerges itself causing huge drag on the boat. Also the top batten on the sail snaps, causing sag.

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Not good

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The wind drops which makes the outrigger dig deeper into the water.

It is heartbreaking as all the other boats slowly catch up and overtake us. It is also very hard work paddling for hours in 32 degrees dragging a very effective sea anchor.

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Good way to lose weight.

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5 hours later we cross the finishing line.

We are totally beat, physically and race wise. We come in last!

Still, it was an amazing experience and next year we will win!

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