What a fantastic weekend with my friends @ Salinas Yacht Club! Upon arriving Guayaquil International Airport, I was picked up by Julio Velez and Nicolas Fracchia and we headed directly to the Salinas Yacht Club. There, I was greeted by a bunch of Lightning sailors from Ecuador and Peru, some of which were long-time friends; others newer to the class. There were 4 youth teams too, eager to get going!
We started with an on-shore tuning session, followed by a quick bite to eat. Afterwards, we headed out on the water. It was a PERFECT sailing day – sunny, 80, and 10-12 knots. We had 13 boats participating and 2 coach RIBs. Nicolas Fracchia and Sebastián Higuera helped me on the water with video, photos, and coaching. Nicolas was the 2015 Lightning Gold Medalist at the Pan Am Games and Sebastián is a former South American champion. I was able to hop on boats, talk to the sailors about tuning, proper heel angle, tacking, gybing, etc. It was very interactive.
In conjunction with the Lightning Lab, in fact, was a regatta. We sailed 3 races Saturday and 3 races Sunday. We analyzed the races and were able to dissect them on shore with video and a wipe board. The SYC staff did a professional job preparing the ‘Scuba Bar” for dinner Saturday night as well as quality de-briefs and meetings. We did a long (and fun) Q&A which was fun. It was simply a perfect “Lightning night”.
Sunday morning started with a group breakfast of all sailors and coaches followed by a short “chalk talk” in the Scuba Bar. We covered starting techniques, racing strategy and tactics, as well as reviewed a rules incident that occurred Saturday. Afterwards, we headed out on the water for another day of great racing. There was a bit more breeze, maybe 15+ knots.
Sunday afternoon came quickly and before I knew it, sailors were headed home. They were tired from hiking! As well, it was time for me to head back to Guayaquil and catch a flight home early Monday morning.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Lightning sailors in Salinas for their hospitality, especially Julio for shuttling me around and Matías for putting me up Saturday night. So many people were helpful and made my time there enjoyable. At last but not least, special thanks to FEVELA (Ecuadorian Sailing Federation) for the tickets and the Salinas Yacht Club for all the great food and neat logistics.
The Salinas Lightning Fleet is a very special group! Thank you.