Hi everyone! It’s nearly the end of the first phase of my 3/c summer training program. I was lucky enough to have a very unique experience by participating in the Academy’s summer ocean racing program. It has been by far one of the best experiences of my life and I have made so many memories.
The program is designed for both dinghy and offshore sailors at the Academy. It is a six week training period geared at racing 44 foot sailboats. Each year there is one long distance race that the program competes in, where you are sailing out in the ocean by yourselves with a safety officer and a coach on board. This year the team completed the Annapolis to Newport Race.
Here is an overview of my first experience ocean racing: In four days on a boat I don't think we could have seen any new type of weather. Sun, rain, hail, big breeze, no breeze...we had it all. All we were missing was the snow. So go figure, we made every single sail change possible. And of course, some things went more smoothly than others. There were so many cool experiences that we had on the trip. I said I wanted to see a whale, and just a few hours later a whale was jumping off our starboard beam. We saw lots of dolphins and a whole pod played in our wake for about a mile. We watched a shark attack a fish and saw a sea turtle, too. I think night sailing was the best though. Sunday night the sky was so clear that I could see the Milky Way better than I ever have.
There are no trees or city lights or anything to interfere with the sky out there. It's a real life planetarium, only way better. There were millions of bright stars and then itty bitty ones that looked like glitter. We also saw many shooting stars, something I had never seen before.
It was an eventful four days. Though I was glad to be back on dry land afterwards, I had a blast. I can see how it wouldn't be everyone's favorite race (with the rain and all), but with nothing to compare it to I loved distance racing. Sailing out there away from land, makes you feel even more connected with the ocean. It's incredibly peaceful and natural, totally raw – just you and the ocean.
As always, feel free to ask me any questions at Christina.M.Frost@uscga.edu.
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