So yesterday was my birthday - 39...not much to say about that.
Yesterday was also the Last Blast - the final distance race of the year. We've been trying to finish that race for the past 9 years. One year we broke off the rudder, thank goodness my dad was with us... One year we ripped the storm jib, yes the storm jib and the wind indicator blew off the top of the mast. 2 years in a row we decided to go to Canada's Wonderland instead and ride the coasters. Finally, yesterday, we were able to finish the race.
The day started cold, cloudy, windless and with a birthday candle in a butter tart from the gang. With Paul on the helm, we screwed up the start and tacked BACK over the line. After a few "words", we tacked out into the Lake, well away from the fleet, who all decided to go near shore. The wind was blowing about 10 knots out of the east, creating those stupid little waves really close together. Then the drizzle started - that unending drizzle. There weren't too many boats on the lake and that was bliss - total bliss - all that space.
After 12 tacks to the mark at the Toronto Islands we managed to catch and pass the entire fleet except for the Catalina 29 or maybe it's a 34 - California Girl and that new boat Brayden owns - some sort of futuristic rocketship with an ungodly PHRF of 52. No catching that guy.
Batteries were dead in the GPS so we sailed old school - with the compass and a pair of binoculars. As we were rounding the mark the wind died, I mean died. The Lake was flat and we could watch the rain slam into the glossy surface as we sat there, drinking our coffee flavoured rum trying to warm up.
The wind sort of picked up out of the south so we put up the spinnaker and watched the knot metre climb to a whopping 2.34 knots of speed. Then the wind kept swinging around to the north and we had to sort of jibe the spinnaker then out of pure - "forget it", we took it down and hoisted the headsail. For 2 hours the wind would pick up, swing around to the south, drop swing to the West, drop - for 2 loooong hours. However, after 5 hours and 30 some odd minutes - we crossed the finish line in 2nd place!
We dragged our cold wet bodies home for hot showers. Paul was taking me out for dinner at the best sushi/Japanese restaurant in Toronto - KAJI. They are in an unassuming little hole in the wall on the Queensway, beside a massage parlour. The chef has fresh fish flown in from Japan and other parts of the planet on a daily basis. He also has ingredients from Japan you can't get here, fresh herbs, sakes and spices.
There were three menu choices, I chose the most expensive and Paul chose the 2nd most expensive. We sat at the sushi bar and watched Chef Kaji and his underlings work their magic. My meal was 10 courses, Paul's was 7 courses. The courses that stood out most for me were the seared scallop with green peppercorns, the fresh water BBQ'd eel, lobster with fresh apple and the 3 kinds of tuna sushi. Then there was the fresh water trout baked in salt, the steamed sea breem with chestnut puree and the sashimi - ohhhhh the sashimi. Each plate was exquisitely presented, everything from a sort of cerviche served in a hollowed out gourd to the fragrant pine broth served in a Japanese tea pot. In by 8 pm - out by 11 pm. Thanks Paul - great day, great race, great food and best of all, great company! And the rain finally stopped.