We're racing through history!
Day one of the Oryx Cup Experience is in the books. We started off with the breakfast at the hotel, which wasn’t too bad, although “Veal Bacon” is NOT Bacon. Make no mistake about that. There was a lot of setup to do on the boat today, so much of the morning was spent heads down, getting electrical systems back in the boat (we removed the boards after San Diego), getting the skid fin bolted on, mounting props, and doing all of that “first day at the race site” stuff.
Getting the boats in and out of the water isn’t too rough (great crane operator!), but the portable docks that are kind of similar to the Tri-Cities layout are big, plastic portable interlocking floaty things that are kind of like Legos. To say that they are not entirely stable would be an understatement. It will be a miracle if somebody doesn’t go off them before the race is done. That said, the water is very warm.
And the DAY was really warm over here too…about 11:30 until about 2 it was Tri-Cities kind-of-hot, and then in the mid to late afternoon, it starts cooling down. By about 4-4:30, it’s very pleasant, with a light breeze coming through and the sun starting to set. When the sun goes down, it’s kind of like in an elementary school play when the narrator says “And the sun went down” and they drop the cardboard sun straight down to the floor. Boom. Game Over. Dark.
At about 5, they opened up the pits to the general public. Some of us were repairing some fiberglass on our experimental wing, so here we were, up to our elbows in Epoxy, cavosil and squeegees when the cry went out, “HEAR THEY COME!” I made a mad dash up to the truck and got some caution barrier tape out to cordon off our little fiberglass workshop. Before we knew it, we were surrounded by throngs of people who were watching our handiwork with great interest. But that was hardly the attraction of the pits. Apparently, a local young man asked Tiffany Troxell Brown and Stephanie Weymouth if he could get a picture taken with them. Before we knew it, there was a huge line of young men lining up with their cameras out, waiting to get THEIR pictures taken with the girls. They got more attention than our boat. Thankfully, Tiffany and Stephanie were very gracious and good sports about the whole thing.
As we packed up and prepared for the trip back to the hotel, it was amazing how many people, complete families, were out after dark, just taking in the sights and checking things out. And all those incredible buildings you see in the Doha skyline shots? Many of them are bathed in colored lights at night, some of which change colors. Really spectacular. Qatar is making a bid for the 2022 World Cup for Soccer, and many of the buildings, signs and banners reflect their enthusiasm for bidding for this. It will be interesting to see if they get it..I think it would be great for them.
Camel Tossing would not be one of the sports, but we were wondering about it. They had a kid’s entertainment area set up, where they had a camel that children could ride, led around by an attendant with a camel leash. As we were leaving the pits tonight, we heard all this racket and commotion and were startled to see a camel in a big sling, being hoisted into the back of a pickup truck. Clearly the camel was not pleased, and one of our team commented, “Oh, look! They’re doing Camel Tossing!” (NOTE TO HARM: Sure wish we could add pictures to Blog Postings!) Thankfully, no animals or crew members were harmed in the transport of this camel.
And that’s about it for today. Our first heat race is tomorrow. Kip has work cut out for him with both the U-96 and the U-7 in our heat, who both qualified faster than we did, but Kip has a way of making those situations work out for us, so keep good vibes out for the U-17. We’ll talk again tomorrow.