Thursday, January 1, 2015

How Fast Can It Go?

  In about 1981, my father purchased a sailing catamaran. My brother and I got together and both of us, instantly, asked the same question. "How fast can it go?" And thus we started racing that catamaran, together.

  That was not successful. My brother and I were two different types of sailors - he was a helmsman, I was the tactician. As teenagers, we argued over everything from set up to pull down. Eventually, I stepped away to another class, and he became an accomplished helmsman.

  In 1986, the Australian Championships were held at Bargara Beach, Queensland. My brother was one of the favorites to win the title.  Ten days before the start of the titles, I secured a boat on loan to go to the titles. It would be the first time that he and I had ever gone "head to head".

  He didn't win the title. In seven heats he couldn't beat me once. The driving moment was when I won a heat and eventually finished fourth outright. My brother, finished ninth. In the following years, I would go on to win a record seven titles. My brother, he never sailed again.

  After leaving Australian and being gone ten years, my father telephoned me last year. "Your brother bought a boat." My brother stripped, repaired and rebuilt that shell, turning it into one of the best presented crafts on the water.

  The Australian National Titles start tomorrow at Spears Point, on Lake Macquarie, New South Wales. Ten races, nine to count.

  I've waited 29 years to see him sail again.

  How fast can it go? Bring it home, Brother.