Since we didn't own a boat yet and needed the experience, we decided to join a cooperative yacht club. The fleet was made up of 22' to 38' mono hulls and even a trimaran the members could maintain and use. Fairwind Yacht Club was an excellent way to continue earning our American Sailing Association certifications and honing our skills. Fortuitously, Steve was able to crew with a local legend Vic Smith in the Tuesday Night Races and hung on his every word. He also became Boat Chief for Mea Ono, one of the club's Capri 22's, which gave him the opportunity to learn about boat maintenance. We both enjoyed volunteering on many Saturdays and ending each afternoon sailing on one of the club boats.
Through our FYC relationships we met Joe who was selling a J80, a sporty 26' one-design keelboat named s/v InTenths. It took just one afternoon sailing this race boat to clinch the deal. An unexpected side benefit of our purchase was that we were introduced to Del Rey Yacht Club and were encouraged to join through Joe's sponsorship.
Our next step was to enroll Steve in JWorld Sailing School in San Diego to attend Basic Sailing. We later attended their Racing Course together. We highly recommend JWorld, which offers all levels of Learn to Sail and Performance courses and even Offshore Racing opportunities.
Racing two evenings a week and participating in weekend Regattas have been so helpful as we continue to grow and learn the dynamics of sailing in, what tend to often be, intense and competitive situations on the water. We usually finish in the middle to back of the class. Consistency has brought out the proficiency in us and our little race boat has taught us so much through both our mistakes and successes, which we know we can apply these lessons to blue water cruising.
Growing from racing dinghies to managing a crew has been an experience for me (Denise). We brought on more experienced sailors than us to learn from, and we've learned to work with personality differences. Steve has excelled at maintaining the boat and keeping us in tip-top shape to stay competitive.
Our race crew becomes like a family, practicing and playing hard together. We've sadly experienced the loss of an early crew member, Donnie Mae, of whom we were very fond. Donnie passed away suddenly of lung cancer at far too young an age. All of our valuable crew have left their mark as we've progressed through the seasons of racing.
In fond memory of Donnie Mae