Five boats were ready to sail in the Mieco BeachYacht Club’s race Sunday, with the start set for 1pm. At about noon the race committee boat, Vagrant, was in position off the Marshall Islands Resort and a few of the yachts had left their moorings to practice with their new crews, with other yachts holding fast until updates were provided.
A number of canoes were also planning on taking part in the fun race. But, and it was a big but, the wind was not cooperating. In the downtown area it was blasting in from the southeast at anything from 17 to 27 knots, with one yacht reporting gusts up to 35 knots in the Enemanet area of the lagoon.
Vice Commodore Cary Evarts postponed the race for half an hour, but when the winds were still up above 22 knots, he cancelled. And then, of course, an hour later the sun was shining and the wind had calmed down to 15 knots.
The Marshallese captains were taking note and, at about 3pm took advantage of the improved weather. One by one they sailed into a line off Small Island, leaving their mainsheets relaxed until all had gathered. And then, boom, the flock of traditional canoes tightened their sheets and sailed to the west. Three cheers for them!
This article was first published in the Marshall Islands Journal on March 8, 2019.