Nike+ FuelBand The Movement “Off Shore Data”


When we picture sailing on a boat, we envision tranquility. Perfect sun resting on a cloudless indigo sky. The ship’s sail puffed out like a boxer’s chest, pushing them into the perfect day. That’s the dream, not the reality. The physicality of sailing is a personal test, like the goals set for yourself while training with the Nike+ FuelBand. On this day we were going to challenge ourselves to simply spectate one of the most impressive events in nautical racing.

It’s unpredictable and tough to tame depending on where you are in the bay. To get the jib and mainsail pulled all the way in, we were cranking on two wenches with urgency. To adjust the sails to the optimum position, you have to trade a hundred NikeFuel. Per wench.

The San Francisco Bay is legendary because of its swift currents and strong winds. The biggest event in sailing is happening on the bay as we take out our 34 foot sloop into this arena. One small boat on the edge of the largest ocean in the world. A single vessel adrift in a sea, guided by nothing more than the strength and stamina of the boat and its crew. The boat measured by the digital instruments logging its speed and direction. The crew measured by 4 Nike+ FuelBands.

There’s an entire grind and risk to get the reward. It’s you and the crew pushing to harness an invisible force with limitless power. Once you’re working in unison with the wind, sailing faster than it, the real thrill begins. Though it seems impossible, the sail acts much like a airplane wing. The drag of the wind pushes up on the boat and sucks forward a bit.

With the bow turned toward the howling wind, a furious war begins on the wenches to raise the mainsail. Arms burning, the clank of the wench slows until they’re ready to sail. Only 30 minutes on the water and over 1000 NikeFuel has been burned by the crew. Turning the bow away from gusts, the wind grabs the boat and lurches to one side as it begins to move. With the water rushing beneath, the jib is unfurled. The motor is off. Of course, we’re not anywhere near the 18 knot wind blowing over the deck. We’re in a cruiser, pushing along the at 7 knots, but it feels like we’re moving faster than a missile.

As we pass through the doldrums in Raccoon Straight–a deep and narrow body of water between Tiburon and Angel Island–we finally felt the true wind. It’s unpredictable and tough to tame depending on where you are in the bay. To get the jib and mainsail pulled all the way in, we were cranking on two wenches with urgency. To adjust the sails to the optimum position, you have to trade a hundred NikeFuel. Per wench.

Soon the boat was keeled almost all the way over with the rails in the water. No reef in the sail, we had to handle the 30 knot gusts and fight the tiller to stay on course. Thankfully, as we neared the shoreline and race, the winds shifted and we were on a broad reach. This allowed us to sail fast and down wind, past the entire flotilla assembled to watch the races. We cruised the length of the contest just in time to see America win the cup.

The glory of victory was timed with our turn towards port. Pulling back into a late afternoon close reach, we pull the sails in once again. The captain has 3500 NikeFuel. The crew is averaging over 4500. The captain demands points of sail.

Riding a natural high from our day’s victories, with only two hours to get back to shore before dark, we headed towards the harbor. By now the rookie crew was comfortable with rail in the water. We earned our escape on the bay, feeling worlds away from the 1.5 million people gathered in SF that day. But the bay and it’s signature winds are right there, welcoming anyone up for the challenge. Only a few hundred stepped up and earned their moment.

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