There we were, sailing downwind toward the finish line of Saturday’s Vallarta Cup race, trying to get the crew to keep paying attention to their jobs. It was hard enough as it was, because it was only blowing about seven knots, and we were doing about five knots, resulting in hardly any apparent wind at all. Being roasted by the tropical sun, the crew was getting disorientated.
A second later, WHOA! — a large whale about 100 feet away suddenly leapt about 100 feet out of the water. You should have heard the impact of his body as he landed!
As exciting as it was, everybody in the crew forgot their jobs, resulting in the chute collapsing, the main jibing, and three people spilling their drinks as they tumbled overboard.
We managed to restore order in about 20 seconds, but then the dang whale jumped out of the water again. And again. And again. Vessel discipline became so compromised it’s a wonder we crossed the finish line. Search as we may, we never did find any of the crew who went overboard. We blame it on the whale.
We suppose we can be thankful for something — the whale didn’t jump onto our boat. Not long ago Arjan Bok’s son was splashed by a whale who breached entirely too close to RotKat, his San Francisco-based Ligard 43 catamaran. There have been lots of close calls.
It would be one thing if whales abided by the rules of polite society, such as signaling when surfacing, not splashing others, and remediating their halitosis problem, but they just don’t seem to care. With our crew Rob and Tanya reporting that they’d seen at least 50 whales the day before, we believe a solution to the whale problem can’t wait. They must be banned. For safety. For more enjoyable yacht racing.