Name: Chris Branning
Homeport: Sarasota, FL
Started Sailing: 14 years ago
Favorite Race: Trans-Pac
Favorite Boat to Sail: TP 52
Career Plans: Fly for the Air National Guard
Best Day Sailing: Its hard to pick what was my best day of sailing was, but if I had to pick
one it was our last day of training in Hawaii on Morning Light. We rounded Diamond Head Buoy to starboard and set an A3, which was a masthead kite. The trades were absolutely howling that day, and on a 20 minute strip chart we logged an average of 32 knots of wind and boat speed of 20 knots. The swell and waves were incredibly steep that day, more than usual, which resulted in us taking green water all the way back to the pedestals.
I was trimming spinnaker that afternoon and after we set I immediately trimmed the kite as the bands broke and the kite snapped full. As I shifted from the leeward rail to the weather rail the boat picked up speed and right as I sat down I was knocked back into the cockpit. This happened once more; luckily I never dropped the sheet and it was a huge testament to our grinders who really kept the kite full while I was underwater. Finally I wised up and wrapped my left arm around the lifeline stanchion and trimmed with my right arm. I continued duck-diving waves while being more than 25 feet from the bow the entire time we were on port. I have since done nothing quite as wild as those 20 minutes of sailing.