Sailing a regatta in Geneva, New York / by Jessica Lee


I finished my last sail of the season with calm waters and a flamingo pink sky.

But it wasn't all smooth sailing that day.

We were in Geneva, New York at Hobart William Smith College for the Middle Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association Regatta. The day started with really light winds. We had to pump our sail to get to the actual course.



I didn't get to take photos while we were on our boats because well, we were sailing. And I don't own a waterproof camera.

Unfortunately, you don't get to see photos of the strong gusts we had.

It looks pretty calm in the photo below, but don't let that fool you.


The wind soon picked up and we went from skipper and crew sitting on opposite sides of the boat to balance the weight to both skipper and crew hiking out on one side to keep the boat flat.

I sailed with Rachel, who is a first-year student. We had a miscommunication and while we were gybing (turning the boat against the wind), our boat capsized, spilling us out into the open waters of Geneva, New York. The fall dampened our spirits both literally and figuratively.

You really don't realize how nice everything is when you are not drenched from head to toe. I mean, sitting in lecture or sitting on the bus may seem boring, but at least you're not shivering in wet clothes in 10 Celsius weather in a lake with the wind blowing on you.

It was at that moment I realized I am probably a summer sailor.


Through an arduous process (we flipped our boat once and it flipped back the other way), we managed to right our boat and with some help from the race committee, beluga-whaled back in. It was not sexy.

For those of you who sail, our centreboard was not clipped in and slid out the other way, so poor Rachel had to go underneath the boat while it was turtled and push it back up while I caught it.

Sailing just isn't as enjoyable when you are shivering and thinking you are going to catch pneumonia. I did not have my wetsuit as it was still shipping by seamail from my earlier sailing adventures in Australia. I was only wearing foul weather pants and a spray top.

To make matters worse, it started to rain and from the capsize, we had lost our bailer into the lake and now we had a half-full bathtub of water in our hull. We came in last place in the subsequent race.


Things picked up later on however. The sun came out and with it, also a double rainbow!

It was just beautiful. I wished I had a GoPro to record the moment because the rainbow came out of the water and was vibrant. With the sailboats sailing towards it, it was like a picture out of a fairytale. The sun illuminated the sails of the boats, and the different colours of the writing on the sails matched the rainbow. I almost forgot my clothes were soaking wet and that I was miserable.

Here is a photo my friend Aaron took to prove that this happened:


Trust me, it was much more gorgeous on water.

We soon came in for lunch, I changed my clothes and we continued to sail.

We sailed 16 races that day! Usually for this type of regatta, you sail eight races one day and eight races the next day. For some reason, the organizer wanted to condense everything into one day. It happened, but at the same time, we were all extremely exhausted afterwards.

The racing finished at around 5 pm and we packed up our motel and started driving towards Toronto at 7 pm. I got home a little before 1 am.

It was a fun and interesting experience and now I have a good story to tell. But would I like to relive this day this again? Probably not. (But maybe in sunnier weather)


Here a few photos of us (the University of Toronto race team):




Readers: Do you have any stories about trips you enjoyed but wouldn't repeat again? Leave a comment!