Monday, May 5, 2008

Sailing the Ocean Blue

There is absolutely nothing more fun than grabbing one's windsurfing gear, heading down to the beach, and spending the afternoon sailing with friends. Which is exactly what Al and I did one afternoon. On the water, we met up with Superman (John from Norway). Immediately, a discussion broke out about organizing a race. As we are all practising our carve jibes, these turns had to be an integral part of the race. So, we decided to create a course which was essentially a figure 8 - starting from the pier, sailing upwind to a yacht moored on the outside, carving around the yacht, sailing back to the pier, and carving again. This was considered one lap. The race consisted of 5 laps, 5 carve jibes on the outside, and four on the inside. Thanks to Tom Discart (our pal from Belgium), lap one of the race has been immortalized in these photos!

All of the competitors have assembed for the skippers' meeting, where the parameters and rules of the race were discussed and agreed upon.

Sails are in the ready position - racers are ready. Al = green sail, Nora = blue sail, Superman = orange sail.

And they're off, with Nora holding a very slim lead.

A great start for all of the competitors, although Superman looks a little off-balance.

Nora's initial lead is diminishing as Al is powering up behind her.

And here, he is shamelessly sailing upwind of her, and stealing her wind.

And the lead has changed, with Al in the upwind and lead position, Nora just behind, and Superman........hhmmmm, where is Superman?

Al is pulling away, and maintaing a very nice lead, heading into the first carve jibe.

Approaching the yacht, Al has the inside track for the carve jibe, while Nora has opted to carve a little on the outside. During the execution of the jibe, Al starts trash talking, and throws off Nora's concentration..........

Almost at the end of Lap One, all racers have navigated the first turn, and are heading back to the beach. And there, with the orange sail is Superman - gaining ground.

In third, Superman, sponsored by 'Diesel', (a company that promotes snuggling with other peoples' cats and trying to lure them away from their loving owners) is really digging in, and making up some lost ground.

Alone in second, Nora, sponsored by "Maryluz' Booty Camp" (an incredibly difficult work-out led by Maryluz, that focusses on one's glutes and abs) can hear the chatter of Superman's rig behind her, and is terrified!

Big Al, sponsored by "Deisy Shake" (a healthy breakfast shake containing nuts, seeds, bark and gravel, invented by our friend and Venezuelan supermodel Deisy Arvelo - )
is alone in first. But, not for long......

Al blows his carve jibe on the inside (hee hee hee), and Nora is hot on his tail.

Nora executes an ugly, yet functional carve jibe around Al, who is desperately trying to get his gear organized.

But, here comes Superman.

Super executes a flawless carve jibe, while Nora is powering up behind him.

Super flips his sail, Nora is powering up, but where is Al?

And they're off on Lap Two, with Superman in the lead, Nora is second, and Al bringing up the rear.

Crapola - Al is up to his wind stealing tricks again.

There really is no need for any photos of the rest of the race, as this photo says it all. Superman won, Big Al came in second and Nora came in third. Congratulations Super! In fact, he won the subsequent next two races.

Mountain biking

We have had quite a mountain biking season this year. All kinds of biking enthusiasts have joined Big Al at 7:00 a.m. for one of his guided tours - we've had triathletes, Iron Men, marathon runners, road racers and Super Heroes - from all parts of the world. But, I have never seen a better looking group than these folks!

Meet Joelle (from Belgium), Kathy (from El Yaque) and Anne (from Norway). Please keep in mind, it is 7:00 a.m. and these girls look like they're ready for a photo shoot.

Here are Big Al and Superman - a.k.a John from Norway. (More on Superman and his incredible feats of endurance a little later.....!)
There's always time for a little romance at Casa Nora - apparently.....................................................

Shine-y, happy people! I am willing to bet 10,000 bolivars viejo that Tom's white outfit won't stay white for long.......!

Kathy, Al, Anne, John, Joelle and Tom enjoyed the 'Musipan Tour', which begins at Casa Nora, winds through the village on a paved surface, cuts into the desert for some single track riding, continues along the coast through a few fishing villages, crosses over a 'salina' or salt flat, and returns to El Yaque on a paved road, riding right into strong headwinds. For most riders, this is considered a good 1.5 hour work-out. For Superman, this is a warm-up ride.

Next mountain biking blog: The Six Summits of Superman