Sap. In plants it is life giving and invigorating - how curious it is that the same word describes what heat and humidity can do to the energy of a no longer quite so young Laser sailor.
Summer in Abu Dhabi is not the exactly the same as in Europe and while the worst is in August, last weekend was tough with temperature of 45 C (113 F) and a high dose of humidity, making it feel much worse. Our club sails every Friday year round and that is great – most of the time.
But, I have to admit the heat took a toll on me last Friday. We sailed 2 races and I did well in the first one, but it tired me out. I had made a big mistake, wearing hiking tights because I thought the wind would be strong and the inserts behind my thighs would make me less tired. But the wind was only 10-12 knots and the extra insulation from the hiking suit more than offset any positive effect. Between races I floated next to my boat but the water is warm and refreshes very little.
I considered calling it a day after the first race, but went ahead and sailed the second race, doing poorly. And sailing back after the race I could have taken it easy, but I couldn’t resist trying to catch a boat ahead and went into semi-race mode. Testosterone thinking.
I had been careful to stay hydrated during the afternoon with both water and sports drink, but by the time I got back to the slipway, having caught the other returning boat, I was running on fumes.
Pulling the Laser up the slipway took my last reserves and I had to lie down on the hull a few minutes - I was feeling lightheaded. I de-rigged slowly and everything eventually sorted itself out once I got in the bar with a cold cider.
But, I will be sailing a two-hander over the next couple of months in order to ease up a bit on the physical effort in the heat. Plus I have been meaning to improve my acquaintance with a stayed mast, jibs and spinnakers and this will be a good time to do so.