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What’s more fun than this:  racing on a Class A traditional wooden Bahamian sloop across the beautiful waters of the Sea of Abaco?  Rage is 28’ long, 10’ wide, and has a 38’ boom.  Her mainsail goes up and out forever – the jib is teensy.

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Since her home port is Hopetown, the top of her mast is painted like the Hopetown lighthouse.

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This was Rage’s last race in this year’s Hopetown racing season.  We were so lucky to be included and many, many thanks to the folks on Rage for offering us this opportunity.

During racing season, Rage lives on a mooring at our end of the harbor.

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She has no electronics, no winches, and no engine.  So we sailed her off the mooring and out of the harbor.  Pretty impressive.  Just outside the harbor entrance, we SAILED within 2 inches of (but did not touch) an anchored runabout so a crew member there could step (he didn’t even have to jump) from the runabout to Rage.  Unbelievable.

It was a packed starting line – thirteen boats.  (The start is between the orange buoy and the anchored blue boat with no sails.)

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At the second mark, we and another boat were VERY close.

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But the boat handlers on Rage are masters.  Exceptionally talented helmsman, tactician, sail trimmers  – and outstanding beer passers.   The air was very light at this mark, so the pries were out on the high side, but we ballast-makers were all on the low side, using our weight to heel the boat to leeward (same side the sail is on).  She moves best heeled over so that her leeward rail is just at water level, i.e, not flat.

Which brings us to the pries.  They are 2×8’s that are pulled from one side of the boat to the other as we tack so that they stick out of the boat on the high side – the side the sail is NOT on.   The ballast, I mean crew members, sit on the pries, sliding in and out depending on how much weight is required to keep the boat from tipping over.  That’s the best part – riding the pries.  Flying along about twelve feet above that gorgeous water.  I’m on the forward (closest to the front) prie.  I love it.

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It was light air, so there wasn’t much extreme pries-riding.  Rats.  But still great fun.  Here I am on the forward prie again.

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Goldwin helped with the foredeck work – hoisting  the jib, helping with sail trim, managing the outhaul and downhaul, setting the pole on the downwind leg, etc.   You can see him in the middle of the picture, looking downward, wearing a beige peak.

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Rage is hard to beat running or reaching.  And she’s beautiful downwind, wing-on-wing (one sail out one side of the boat and one sail out the other).

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As you can see, on the downwind leg, the huge boom is perpendicular to the boat.

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The boom goes out a long, long way (almost 40 feet) and we still have to keep the boat heeled so that the rail is just at water level – but, OH, NO, don’t let the boom dip into the water.

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Slows us down like an anchor.

In the end, we took fourth in the race – second place for the entire season.

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In addition to having a blast.

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There was a champagne toast and a victory tour of the harbor as we sailed back to the mooring.  Even the Donnie ferry stopped and waited for us to sail in the entrance.

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Amazing boat handling as we tacked through the fleet in the harbor and sailed up to her mooring.

We all got to wear (and keep) Rage t-shirts, with her number (logo) on the back:

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What a fun day.

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His face says it all.

PS  Most of the pictures were taken by Will, from his runabout, and he generously shared them; I wore my camera around my neck and took what I could from on the boat.

PPS   We also raced on Rage in 2013; here’s the blog post from that race:  https://sailmotuiti.com/2013/03/21/racing-on-rage/  (Good description of the boat and how to be crew.)  It includes one of my favorite pictures, from 2013 – I’m in the striped shirt on the far right.  (Yes, me on the far right.)

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